“Two Hands: The Leon Fleisher Story”

“Two Hands: The Leon Fleisher Story”

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Amazon description: In pianist Leon Fleisher’s return to playing with both hands, an indomitable spirit has triumphed over physical adversity. Not that he has been absent from music since losing the use of his right hand to focal dystonia in 1965: in addition to forging a successful career as teacher and conductor, he performed the left-hand literature with peerless mastery, enlarging it with new commissions. However, he persisted in searching for a cure, and his determination has now borne fruit: this is his first record of the two-hand repertoire in 40 years. It is altogether extraordinary. Always a great pianist and musician, Fleisher has lost none of his powerful, consummate technique (not surprisingly, his left hand is enormously strong), his rhythmic and tonal control, his expressive projection. His sound is ravishingly beautiful, rich, full, singing, delicate, capable of infinite variations of dynamics, color and nuance; his intellectual and emotional concentration are riveting. The program features familiar short pieces and Schubert’s great last sonata. Two Bach transcriptions, one by Myra Hess, one by Egon Petri, are overloaded and artificial, but played with reverential simplicity; a Scarlatti Sonata is scintillating without being fast; a Chopin Mazurka and Nocturne and Debussy’s “Clair de lune” are frankly sentimental, very poetic, free, slow and dreamy. They invite the listener to focus on the playing rather than the music. The Schubert is monumental. Fleisher’s vitality and exuberance belie his 75 years, though his impetuosity sometimes leads to jerkiness (in the Scherzo), and rushed tempi (in the Finale). His dynamics can be wayward, but the texture, even at its richest, is always crystal clear; every line stands out, indeed some seem newly discovered. There is plenty of time for reposeful rests, poised transitions, changes of harmony, color and mood; the sense of depth, breadth, coherence and continuity never falters. –Edith Eisler

WatchTwo Hands: The Leon Fleisher Story, now on Vimeo.








Classical Chops - Jul 7, 2014 | CD, Inspiration, Media Shelf

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