Leonhardt's 1975 Dowd for sale

I recently received notice that the 1975 Dowd French harpsichord that was originally owned by Gustav Leonhardt is for sale here in Göteborg, West Sweden, after the (second) owner passed away last fall.
Interested people can contact me privately and I’ll establish contact with the seller.

The instrument was used on many of his mid-to-late 70s recordings (including the final [third] set of Goldberg variations, the CPE Bach/JS Bach D-minor concerto disk, the Brandenburg concertos including #5, and some of the arrangements of Bach’s Violin Sonatas and Partitas). Last I played on it, it was in good shape; that’s about ten years ago. It may need some work at this point, but not likely anything serious.

Greetings, Tilman


Thanks for posting this. I’ve often wondered where this instrument got off to. I’m particularly interested because my Dowd Blanchet is from the same era (1976), but from the Boston shop. Mine has been revoiced by Don Angle (RIP) and restrung in Rose wire, and it sounds a good bit better than when it was new. Do you know if Leonhardt’s has been restrung? And does anyone know why he decided to sell it?

Best regards,

I do not think it’s been re-strung, but I don’t know for certain.

Speculating about motivations is always risky. Why was the first car of the Leonhardt household a Fiat Ritmo (does anyone even know that car any more?). We can assume that the reason it made way for a succession of Lancias and Alfa Romeos was that they were faster, but do we know? [yes, we do…]

That said, the timing suggests that the arrival of the so-called Lefebvre, also a large French harpsichord, perhaps initiated a change of the entire setup. Around that time the old Sko-Dulcken was sold, too, and a German two-manual harpsichord was bought instead.