Bach JS, Beethoven, Brahms, Cesar Franck, Copland, Debussy, Delius, Franz Schmidt, Grieg, Hindemith, Jaime Laredo, Juilliard String Quartet, Korngold, Leon Fleisher, Leon Kirchner, Liszt, Mozart, Rachmaninov, Ravel, Rorem, Saint-Saëns, Schubert, Schumann, Scriabin, Seiji Ozawa, Szell, Szymon Goldberg, Weber, Yo-Yo Ma
Label : Sony
Cover : Yes
Sony Classical celebrates the 85th anniversary of pianist Leon Fleisher with the release of ‘The Complete Album Collection’.
Leon Fleisher is considered a living legend among the coterie of distinguished American pianists who emerged in the late forties and early fifties. Students consider Fleisher the “Obi-Wan Kenobi of the piano,” and travel from all over the globe come to work with him or even just sit on his master classes.
On the podium, Fleisher championed a wide range of new music, starting with the Washington DC-based Theater Chamber Players, and later as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s associate conductor. Fleisher also introduced innovative curriculum ideas during his respective artistic director tenures at the Tanglewood and Aspen music centers.
However, it was the piano that brought Fleisher into the public eye. A child prodigy who became Artur Schnabel’s youngest student at age ten, Fleisher went on to win first prize at the 1952 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, launching a major international career on the concert platform and recording studio.
In the mid-sixties, the onset of what was later diagnosed as focal dystonia in the right hand forced Fleisher to curtail his playing. As Fleisher sought a variety of remedies, he resumed concertizing with repertoire for left hand.
In a certain sense, the present complete collection of Fleisher’s recordings for Sony Classical and its predecessors (Epic and Columbia Masterworks) demarcates the personal and musical twists and turns of his career journey.
We hear Fleisher soon after his Brussels victory, followed by his now iconic Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Schumann and Grieg concerto collaborations with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra, along with highly acclaimed solo recordings.
Two discs represent Fleisher at the peak of his later career playing concertos and recitals for the left hand.
Lastly, Fleisher’s formidable gifts as a Mozart player as revealed in his C major K 503 concerto recording yielded further bounty with his two-handed return a half-century later in the K 242, K 414 and K 488 concertos featured on the collection’s most recent release.
As long as one can access recordings, the very sound of Fleisher’s musical legacy will continue to stand the test of time, and continue to enliven and stimulate music lovers and budding pianists.
CD 1 Schubert: Sonata in B-Flat Major; Schubert: Landler, Op. 171 (released 1956)
CD 2 Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, Op. 43; Franck: Symphonic Variations; Delius: Irmelin-Prelude (released 1957)
CD 3 Brahms: Variations and Fugue on a theme of Handel, Op. 24; Waltzes, Op. 39171 (released 1956)
CD 4 Hindemith: The Four Temperaments; Hindemith: Five Pieces, Op. 44, No. 4; Hindemith: Funeral Music for Viola and Strings (released 1956)
CD 5 Brahms: Concerto No. 1, Op. 15 Leon Fleisher – The Cleveland Orchestra – George Szell (released 1958)
CD 6 Debussy: Suite Bergamasque; Ravel: Sonatine; Ravel: Valses Nobles et Sentimentales; Ravel: Alborada del Gracioso (from “Miroirs”) (released 1959)
CD 7 Beethoven: Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58; Mozart: Concerto No. 25 in C Major (K. 503) (released 1959)
CD 8 Mozart: Sonata in C Major (K. 330); Sonata in E-Flat Major (K. 282); Rondo in D Major (K. 485) (released 1960)
CD 9 Liszt: Sonata in B Minor; Weber: Sonata No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 70; Weber: Invitation to the dance, Op. 65 (released 1960)
CD 10 Grieg: Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16; Schumann: Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54 (released 1960)
CD 11 Chamber Music from Marlboro: Brahms: Liebeslieder Walzer, Op. 52; Schubert: The Shepherd on the rock, Op. 129 (released 1961)
CD 12 Beethoven: Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Op. 15 (released 1961)
CD 13 Beethoven: Concerto No. 2 in B Flat Major, Op. 19; Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58 (released 1961)
CD 14 Beethoven: Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37 (released 1961)
CD 15 Beethoven: Concerto No. 5 in E Flat Major, Op. 73 (released 1961)
CD 16 Brahms: Concerto No. 2, Op. 83 (released 1963)
CD 17 Aaron Copland: Piano Sonata; Roger Sessions: From my diary; Kirchner: Piano Sonata; Rorem: Three Barcarolles (released 1963)
CD 18 Brahms: Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34; Leon Fleisher – Juilliard String Quartet (released 1963)
CD 19 Schubert: “Wanderer” Fantasy in C Major, Op. 15 (D. 760); Piano Sonata in A Major, Op. 120 (D. 664) (released 1963)
CD 20 Piano Works for the Left Hand: Takács, Saint-Saens, Saxton, Bach, Blumenfeld, Scriabin, Godowsky (released 1993)
CD 21 Piano Concertos for the Left Hand: Ravel, Prokofiev, Britten (Boston Symphony Orchestra; Seiji Ozawa, conductor) (released 1993)
CD 22 Korngold, Schmidt: Music for Strings and Piano Left Hand (Jaime Laredo, violin; Yo-yo Ma, cello; Leon Fleisher, piano) (released 1998)
CD 23 Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 7, 12, 23 (released 2009)