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Leon Fleisher Plays Beethoven & Brahms

Beethoven / Brahms / Fleisher
Release Date: 08/07/2012 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 1918052   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johannes BrahmsLudwig van BeethovenWolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Leon FleisherJules Eskin
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Number of Discs: 5 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Although the 1959-61 Leon Fleisher/George Szell Beethoven concerto cycle has seen numerous CD releases since 1987, those who’ve missed this set should consider its present budget-priced incarnation, along with these artists’ equally magnificent Brahms concertos and Mozart C major K. 503, plus Fleisher’s 1956 solo mono Brahms release featuring the Handel Variations and Waltzes. More than half a century of sonic evolution and artistic competition cannot dim the young Fleisher’s enlivening inflections of phrase, characterful energy, harmonic tension, and lyrical strength, not to mention Szell’s bracing, taut, and frighteningly well balanced orchestral frameworks. Listen to, for example, the joyous and intense motivic volleying between soloist Read more and orchestra in the Beethoven G major finale and “Emperor” Concerto first-movement development, and notice Fleisher’s zesty accents in the Beethoven B-flat Rondo’s main theme and second subject.

The slow movements of the Brahms concertos convey spaciousness and repose without losing an inch of spine. In the Handel Variations Fleisher’s tempo relationships from one variation to the next are tightly integrated and cumulatively fulfilling. For collectors who like to split hairs, Szell’s legendary control emerges in slightly less ascetic, more passionate fettle in comparison to his later Cleveland versions of the Beethoven works with Gilels and the Brahms pieces with Serkin. In short, the Fleisher/Szell synergy still lives up to its legend and retains its reference status.

-- Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in D minor, Op. 15 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Leon Fleisher (Piano)
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854-1858; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/1958 
Venue:  Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 46 Minutes 48 Secs. 
2.
Variations and Fugue for Piano in B flat major on a theme by Handel, Op. 24 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Leon Fleisher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1861; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1956 
Venue:  Columbia 30th Street Studios, NYC 
Length: 25 Minutes 10 Secs. 
3.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. 83 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Jules Eskin (Cello), Leon Fleisher (Piano)
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878-1881; Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/1962 
Venue:  Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 47 Minutes 26 Secs. 
4.
Waltzes (16) for Piano 4 hands, Op. 39 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Leon Fleisher (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; Austria 
Date of Recording: 08/1956 
Venue:  Columbia 30th Street Studios, NYC 
Length: 18 Minutes 12 Secs. 
5.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in C major, Op. 15 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Leon Fleisher (Piano)
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795; Vienna, Austria 
6.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. 19 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Leon Fleisher (Piano)
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793/1798; Vienna, Austria 
7.
Concerto for Piano no 3 in C minor, Op. 37 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Leon Fleisher (Piano)
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
8.
Concerto for Piano no 4 in G major, Op. 58 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Leon Fleisher (Piano)
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
9.
Concerto for Piano no 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 "Emperor" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Leon Fleisher (Piano)
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809; Vienna, Austria 
10.
Concerto for Piano no 25 in C major, K 503 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Leon Fleisher (Piano)
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  4 Customer Reviews )
 great music March 22, 2014 By marie h. (highland hts., OH) See All My Reviews "Leon Fleisher and TCO play as one interpreting the Beethoven concertos often with great emotion. They probably would sound better if they could have the sound upgraded; possibly digitalized but maybe not possible since they were live recorded." Report Abuse
 Controversial but Beautiful April 8, 2013 By C. Liu (Mississauga, ON) See All My Reviews "Highly Recommend George Szell's "Emperor" and Brahms's No.2!" Report Abuse
 The performances a real treasure September 7, 2012 By John M. (Talent, OR) See All My Reviews "These are treasured performances than I have long enjoyed on vinyl, and their reissue on CD is an incredible bargain. No one who loves music should be without this box, no matter how many recordings of these works one already has in his/her library." Report Abuse
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