A veteran critic aptly described Artur Schnabel's music-making as "architecture with passion". Those exact words constantly crossed my mind over the course of this highly distinctive release by a pianist profoundly influenced by Schnabel. Listen for example to the controlled vehemence and emotional complexity this pianist evokes in Chopin's C-sharp minor Mazurka. Or how his acute sense of spacing notes and scaling dynamics helps sustain the same composer's D-flat Nocturne at an uncommonly slow tempo. The pianist also proves how Debussy's shopworn Clair de lune can sound just as rounded, spacious, and gorgeously nuanced when played exactly as written. Notice the patient, singing lines andRead more natural polyphonic flow he brings to the Bach transcriptions, or the rhythmic vigor he projects in the Scarlatti E major sonata.
As for the recital's major work, the Schubert B-flat sonata, the pianist makes it sound so simple, so inevitable, yet the layers of insight by means of accentuation, balances between the hands, and harmonic clarification continue to unravel with each rehearing. I'm struck by the sense of proportion governing the long first movement's subtle tempo modifications, the slow movement's yearning cantabiles against a resolutely bedrock accompaniment, the care with which the pianist differentiates the staccatos from the accented forte/subito pianos in the Scherzo, and by the angular, exuberant Finale that has all of Schnabel's drama yet none of his sloppiness (the difficult dotted-rhythm octaves pose no problems here).
You'd probably guess that the pianist in question is about 50, and at the height of his technical and musical powers. If you didn't know that he actually was 75 years old and had only recently regained full use of his right hand after 40 years, you wouldn't believe it for a second. Yet hearing is believing. I'm certain that Leon Fleisher is as proud of this release as the music world is thrilled to have this supreme musician playing two-handed repertoire again.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less
B lessed twiceMay 17, 2012By Fred N. (Coquille, OR)See All My Reviews"You can have two blessings when you buy Leon Fleisher's 'Two Hands' 1. You can enjoy (relish) listening to this truly poetic version of Schubert's Piano Sonata in B flat Major, D 960,plus six other shorter pieces by Bach, Scarlatti, Chopin and Debussy. I particularly like the second movement of the Schubert, which Leon takes a little more leisurely than Lief Andsnes does in his take. 2. Your purchase will help fund the Dystonia Foundation, which helps musicians with the same involuntary muscle contraction disease that Leon sufers from. May I urge you to subscribe to 'Listen', a musical magazine issued by Arkiv. Ths quarterly magzine publishes interesting articles on music personalites, events,,places and CD reviews. This well-illustrated magazine is like a musical encyclopieda "in growth" It is in it's fourth year now, and thus it's total content grows quarter by quarter. In the very first issue Bradley Bambarger chats with Leon about his earlier and two later works inluding 'Two Hands'. ."Report Abuse
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