Posts Tagged ‘Artur Schnabel

En hommage à Leon Fleisher (San Francisco, 23 juillet 1928 – Baltimore, 2 août 2020), un immense pianiste apollinien…


En hommage au pianiste magicien qu’a été Leon Fleisher

(San Francisco, 23 juillet 1928 – Baltimore, 2 août 2020),

cet article de Tom Huizenga, le 2 août dernier, avant-hier, Leon Fleisher, The Pianist Who Reinvented Himself, Dies At 92 :

Leon Fleisher, The Pianist Who Reinvented Himself, Dies At 92

Pianist Leon Fleisher eventually resumed playing with both hands after an injury sidelined him at age 36.

Chris Hartlove/Provided by the artist

One of America’s most beloved and resourceful pianists has died. Leon Fleisher was 92 years old. He died of cancer in Baltimore Sunday morning, according to his son, Julian.

The pianist’s roller coaster career began with fame, moved to despair and ended in fulfillment.

In his memoir, Fleisher said he couldn’t remember a time when he wasn’t playing the piano. He gave his first public recital at age eight and was just 16 when he debuted at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic. Conductor Pierre Monteux called Fleisher the « pianistic find of the century« . At 25, he recorded his first album for Columbia Records, a deep dive into music by Franz Schubert that Tim Page, writing for the Washington Post in 1996, called « transcendent« .

Page described Fleisher as a pianist who had it all : « a technique that knew no difficulties, a bejeweled and expressive tone, a sure intellectual command of musical form, and an acute sensitivity to whatever he played« .

Anne Midgette, who followed Page as the Washington Post‘s chief classical music critic and who co-authored Fleisher’s memoir My Nine Lives, says that the pianist stood out with a certain clarity and « rightness » to the approach and the playing _ un merveilleux compliment !

« Leon had this kind of Apollonian perfection _ voilà ! _, » Midgette says. « When you hear something that he’s playing, you think that is the way it needs to be played. There’s just this sense of completion about it » _ c’est parfait.

That was especially true of a series of concerto recordings Fleisher made with conductor George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra in the 1950s and ’60s _ oui. « The Brahms First [Piano Concerto] was his signature piece, » Midgette says. « It’s that sound world of the German speaking composers that it was his heritage« . At age 12 Fleisher’s parents gave him a recording of the Brahms First, and it would be the piece he’d play at Carnegie Hall four years later.

Fleisher was born in San Francisco July 23, 1928. He took over the family piano at age four when it became obvious to his parents that he possessed significant talent. By nine, he was off to Europe to study with the legendary pianist Artur Schnabel, whose teacher’s teacher was Beethoven.

At 23, Fleisher became the first American to win the Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition in Brussels. His mastery of the instrument led to a golden career, but it all came to a surprising halt _ voilà _ when he was only 36 _ en 1964.

Fleisher was slated to tour the Soviet Union with conductor Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra, but the fourth and fifth fingers on his right hand were beginning to mysteriously curl under. He couldn’t control them. He was dismissed from the tour, began cancelling performances and, as he told NPR in 2000, slipped into a « deep funk and despair« .

« The gods know how they hurl their thunderbolts, » Fleisher said. « Having spent 36, 37 years of playing two hands and then to have it denied was a tremendous blow« . Fleisher considered suicide. But he also tried everything to repair his hand, from hypnosis and EST seminars to acupuncture and carpal tunnel surgery.

After about two years of despair, Fleisher was willing to admit to himself that he should begin to look in other directions.

« I suddenly came to the realization that my connection with music was greater than just as a two-handed piano player« , he said.

Fleisher increased his teaching, began a conducting career, and focused on performing music written specifically for the left hand only. Much of the repertoire had been composed for pianist Paul Wittgenstein, who lost his right arm in World War I.

« Leon was the first to exhume some of it, and some had been thought lost« , Midgette says. But, she adds, « people weren’t just paying to see a left-handed pianist. They were paying to see the great Leon Fleisher playing with the left hand« . Maurice Ravel’s Concerto for the Left hand became Fleisher’s new calling card. Leon Kirchner, among other contemporary composers, wrote left-handed music for Fleisher.

One of Fleisher’s first attempts to resume playing with both hands (in Baltimore, Sept. 16, 1982). It didn’t last.

Although he finally accepted his condition — eventually diagnosed as Focal Dystonia – Fleisher never gave up hope. In the mid-1990s, after a series of deep tissue manipulations known as Rolfing, the control over his fingers slowly began to return. He also began Botox injections, and little by little, Fleisher resumed performing with all ten fingers. In 1996, Page wrote « I would rather listen to Fleisher, even in his current, delicate shape, than to most other pianists now before the public« . In 2004, Fleisher released an album simply titled, Two Hands, his first such album in 41 years _ allait suivre en 2006 l’album Leon Fleisher the journey. En voici l’émouvant Capriccio sur le départ de son frère bien-aimé, BWV 992. Bonne écoute !

Fleisher never approached his former two-handed glory, but he did make a triumphant return to Carnegie Hall in 2003 and was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor in 2007. His story, Midgette says, is a potent lesson.

« He leaves a legacy about overcoming adversity and about pushing through and finding different ways to express yourself« , Midgette says. « That’s a really great thing for young musicians to be exposed to« .

Young musicians, and all of us.

Ainsi que ce CD Vanguard ATM CD 1796 Leon Fleisher the journey paru en 2006,

une fois le pianiste ayant reconquis l’usage de sa main droite,

suite à une dystonie focale qui s’était déclarée en 1964

et installée durablement depuis 1966…

Leon Fleisher : un immense pianiste apollinien…

Ce mardi 4 août 2020, Titus Curiosus – Francis Lippa

Ronald Brautigam, idéal et sublimissime dans les 5 Concertos pour piano et orchestre de Beethoven : un album double de Bis


En avant-première de l’année Beethoven qui vient

_ soit l’anniversaire des 250 ans de sa naissance à Bonn le 15 ou 16 décembre 1770 _,

un sublime double CD Bis _ Bis 2274 _ des 5 Concertos pour piano et orchestre de Beethoven

par le merveilleux Ronald Brautigam

sur deux superbes pianofortes

et avec Die Kölner Akademie dirigée par Michael Alexander Willens.

Ronald Brautigam est un pianiste selon mon cœur :

la vie même,

en sa dynamique bondissante, et dans la plus grande justesse…

Que l’on écoute la collection de CDs de ses Mozart ;

ainsi que de ses Haydn,

sur ses parfaits pianofortes…

Et que l’on compare ceci

aux interprétations des autres…

A propos de l’intégrale des Sonates pour piano de Beethoven, ,

le website officiel du BBC Music Magazine,

sous le titre Five of the best Beethoven sonata cycles,

à la date du 7 octobre dernier,

et sous la signature de Freya Parr,

propose son palmares des interprètes,

que voici :

Five of the best Beethoven sonata cycles

We name some of the finest examples of Beethoven’s piano sonatas on disc

Five of the best Beethoven sonata cycles

Artur Schnabel

Warner Classics 9029597507

Recorded between 1932 and 1938, this first-ever recording of the complete sonatas has remained _ oui _ a classic account.



Wilhelm Kempff

DG 477 7958

The German pianist recorded the cycle several times ; DG’s remastered stereo version was released in 2008 _ une référence, bien sûr .



Friedrich Gulda

Orfeo C808109L

The Austrian pianist made three recordings of Beethoven’s sonatas. This is the first _ la plus renommée, en effet, et la moins bien distribuée aussi _, recorded for Austrian radio.



Ronald Brautigam


Dutch keyboardist Ronald Brautigam’s fortepiano recordings of the Beethoven sonatas for BIS made between 2004 and 2010 are now gathered together in one box. Brautigam plays on Paul McNulty’s replicas of original instruments dating from 1788 to 1819.



Stephen Kovacevich

Warner 9029586922

Kovacevich gets to the heart of Beethoven’s sonatas with playing that teeters on the edge of sanity, roars with ferocious power and frequently moves the listener to tears. The finest to date _ c’est aussi mon avis.

Ce second enregistrement par Ronald Brautigam

des Concertos pour piano et orchestre de Beethoven

_ et sur pianoforte(s) _

est rien moins _ prise de sons superlative aidant ! _que

sublimissime ! :

il vous transporte au plus haut de ces œuvres,

et vous y maintient tout durant le déroulé de la plus merveilleuse finesse de détail (et de lignes)

de ces 2 CDs…

Ce samedi 28 décembre 2019, Titus Curiosus – Francis Lippa

Chercher sur mollat

parmi plus de 300 000 titres.

Coup de cœur