[Bach, J.S. (1685-1750)] Landowska, Wanda. (1879-1959)
Large Signed J.S. Bach Presentation with Goldberg Variations AMQS
A remarkable large presentation from the Polish-French harpsichordist whose performances, teaching, recordings, and writings played a large role in reviving the popularity of the harpsichord in the early 20th century and who was, shortly before the present inscription was penned, the first to record Bach's Goldberg Variations. On a large sheet measuring 11 x 15.25 inches, above a mounted photograph of a portrait of J.S. Bach (5.5 x 8.25 inches), Landowska has penned an autograph musical quotation of two measures identified as "Variatio 16: Ouverture a la Francaise," being the opening of the second half of the Goldberg Variations. Beneath the portrait she has inscribed "A Monsieur et a Madame / Georges Hardy / cordialement / Wanda Landowska," adding the location of Saint-Leu-la-Forêt and the date 12 March, 1934. The photograph slightly lifting at corners (could be re-adhered), rigid paper with overall toning, somewhat lighter around the edges from prior mounting, scattered light stains and marks but nevertheless highly presentable.
Georges Hardy (1884 - 1972) was a French history professor and at the time of the present inscription, Director of the École Coloniale in Paris.
The Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, is a work for harpsichord consisting of an aria and a set of 30 variations. First published in 1741, the work is considered to be one of the most important examples of variation form. The set of variations can be seen as being divided into two halves, clearly marked by the present grand French overture, commencing with the particularly emphatic opening shown here, and consisting of a slow prelude with dotted rhythms with a following fugue-like contrapuntal section.
The eminent Polish keyboardist Wanda Landowska has been called many things over the past century: visionary, diva, virtuoso, Mamusia. Her story is extraordinary, a self-made legend who mined the rich past of early Western keyboard music to forge her future as an authentic performer and renowned scholar of these musical traditions. Founded in 1925, Landowska’s Ecole de Musique Ancienne in Saint-Leu-la-Forêt was the epicenter for studies of the harpsichord and featured a beautiful concert hall in which Landowska performed many of the greatest works composed for the instrument, most notably J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations in May, 1933. Six months later, in Paris, she became the first to record them. The masterpiece had not been recorded before and had slumbered for nearly 200 years, known only to musical scholars. In the early years of this century Landowska was not alone in her attempts to rehabilitate the harpsichord, but it was she who re-established it with the public, together with the riches of its repertory and it was she more than anyone who brought the Goldberg Variations back to life.