Sony Classical Releases 'Four Hands' From Legendary Pianist Leon Fleisher
Sony Classical is pleased to present a brand-new album of piano duets Four Hands featuring celebrated American pianist, Leon Fleisher together with his wife, fellow pianist Katherine Jacobson. Featuring works by Brahms, Schubert, Ravel and Bolcom, Four Hands is available now along with its companion disc, a welcome reissue of the famous Two Hands recording.
Four Hands includes the famous Liebeslieder Waltzes for Piano 4 Hands op. 52a by Johannes Brahms, works described by Ernest Lubin as being "among the loveliest and most beguiling of all Brahms' compositions"; Franz Schubert's Fantasia in F minor for Piano 4 Hands D 940 from the composer who wrote a great deal of four-hand piano music. This being one of his most attractive works in the genre; Maurice Ravel's famous La Valse a piece that displays the composer's attraction for the form, arranged here for four hands by Lucien Garban, editor and lifelong friend to Ravel. Lastly, Graceful Ghost Rag by Pulitzer Prize winning American composer, William Bolcom, a composer with a specialty in mixing popular and classical forms. His original version for solo piano is arranged here by William Grossman.
The reissue of Two Hands includes J. S. Bach Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (arr. Hess) and Sheep May Safely Graze (arr. Petri); Scarlatti Sonata in E major, K 380; Chopin Mazurka in C-sharp minor, op. 50/3; Nocturne in D-flat major, op. 27/2; Debussy Clair de lune and Schubert Sonata in B-flat major, D 960 (posth.).
Gramophone magazine noted of Two Hands on its original release: "This disc is a minor miraclewonderfully rounded performances of two Bach transcriptions, dark-hued Chopin and an autumnally tinted account of Schubert's final sonata that is full of natural integrity. A wonderful document of a brave and very fine musician."
Leon Fleisher was a child prodigy who became Artur Schnabel's youngest student at the age of ten, thus continuing a long line of pianistic tradition reaching back to Beethoven himself. Described by The Independent as "One of the outstanding musicians of our time," Fleisher is currently experiencing a welcome revival both in the recording studio and on the concert platform.
Leon Fleisher endured for many years, having been compromised in the early heights of his career from a debilitating condition of his right hand, later diagnosed as focal dystonia, a neurological condition that causes the fingers to curl into the palm of the hand. "I was desolate," he says of this unhappy period: "My life fell apart." In the intervening years when he was unable to perform with both hands, he turned his life around by devoting himself to teaching, conducting and the exploration of repertoire for the left hand. In this time, he taught many noted pianists such as Yefim Bronfman, Louis Lortie and Helene Grimaud. Fleisher made a serious impact on the world of left-handed repertoire, until a recent new therapy made such a remarkable difference on his condition that he was able to regain full use of his right hand.
Two Hands was originally released in 2004 to celebrate his gratifying return to form, and Four Hands continues the celebratory theme.
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FOUR HANDS TRACK LISTING:
1-18. Brahms: Liebeslieder-Walzer, Op. 52a
19-22. Schubert: Fantasia in F Minor for Piano 4 Hands, D 940
23. Ravel: La Valse
24. Bolcom: Graceful Ghost Rag
SOURCE Sony Classical