Schubert, Bach, Chopin, Debussy and D Scarlatti

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Bach,Chopin,Debussy and D Scarlatti,Schubert
LABELS: Vanguard ATM
ALBUM TITLE: Leon Fleisher: Two Hands
WORKS: Works by Schubert, Bach, Chopin, Debussy and D Scarlatti
PERFORMER: Leon Fleisher (piano)
This triumphant disc shows us what music lovers have been missing over the last 40 years. Leon Fleisher’s pianistic career was blighted in 1965 when, at the age of 36, he lost the reliable use of his right hand. A musician first and a pianist second, he turned to conducting and teaching, and eventually to the considerable left-hand repertoire. Following successful treatment, this is his first two-handed solo recording since 1964. The choice of repertoire is not designed to display digital athleticism, but Fleisher’s supple technique majestically encompasses his command of sonority, colour, line, and a gorgeous singing tone – old-world virtues that require more than mechanical dexterity. In Bach arrangements by Hess and Petri, Chopin’s D flat Nocturne, Scarlatti’s E major Sonata (K380) and Debussy’s Clair de lune the combination of sensuous tone, clarity of line, rhythmic life and sheer musicality is heart-warming. But it is the account of Schubert’s B flat major Sonata that makes the most lasting impression. Fleisher’s attention to detail, his voicing and accenting of different layers, his innate phrasing and dramatic pacing, the cumulative feeling of inevitability, and above all the indefinable sense of humanity transport you on a very special journey. It’s wonderful to hear this superlative musician once again playing core repertoire, and he’s been given beautifully immediate and atmospheric engineering. Tim Parry