The Album: Two Hands, on Artemis Classics, distributed by Vanguard, is Leon Fleisher's first two handed solo recital recording in forty years. Recorded at the Academy of American Arts and Letters in New York City, Mr. Fleisher has had only one other two handed recital recording in his career, released in 1960. He has also recorded solo recordings of Schubert - two sonatas, the "Wanderer" Fantasy and the impromptus, as well as solo music by Brahms and Ravel. Most of his Sony catalog consists of orchestral performances for piano and orchestra of Beethoven, Mozart, Ravel, Rachmaninov, Franck, Prokofiev and Brahms. He has made some additional recordings in those forty years. A few are still in print, most are not. Vanguard has one of the out of print recordings the Ravel piano concerto for the left hand (his second recording of this work was released on Sony in the 1990s). He has additional recordings of one-handed piano music as well, scattered throughout the catalog. He has been accompanying vocalists and made one left-hand solo recital recording in the early 90s.
Two Hands closely follows Mr. Fleisher's successful Carnegie Hall recital from November 2003. In that concert recital, he performed Bach and Schubert. The remaining pieces on the disc, are currently performed by Mr. Fleisher in his various concerts across the United States.
Leon Fleisher is a "fifth-generation student of Beethoven." His teacher, Artur Schnabel, studied with Theodor Lescheticky, a student of Franz Liszt, who of course studied with Beethoven. Mr. Fleisher takes regular shots of Botox to help his fingers relax. Symphony Space in New York has committed to a Leon Fleisher Tribute evening on October 7 2004. Mr. Fleisher will perform and discuss his career with John Schaefer at Symphony Space, in a concert that will be broadcast live on WNYC. Mr. Fleisher will also perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, mid-November 2004. Leon Fleisher is an extraordinary person, and a superb interview. He is ready to talk about this recording, and his life, and eager to make up for lost time.
Rob Kapilowıs accessible and engaging style is ideal for demystifying classical music. Explaining or discussing the intricacies of this music can be daunting for the average listener, but Kapilow explains it with an exuberance and energy. He also makes it fun, and on these CDs, just as in the concert hall, Kapilow unravels key musical passages, revealing the masterful moments and minor details that make Mozartıs music so extraordinary. With musical examples played by the What Makes It Great Players, Kapilow provides an iluuminating perspective and an understanding for listeners.
On the Jupiter Symphony disc, Kapilow takes us through the music as if he were calling a Game 7 in the World Series. "Phrase Number 1 repeats. Then over here! Cellos! Violins! Now they're all in!" We feel as though someone on our team has just crossed the plate with the winning run.
With Eine kleine Nachtmusik, Kapilow shakes us out of our preconceived notions about the piece as he points out what makes the music stick in our ears and what is going on beneath this gorgeous melody. Kapilow points out the intimate discussions between the violins and the cellos, as we gradually realize the musical genius and sublime perfection in each phrase.
Greg Barbero, President of Artemis Classics, describes his experience of working with Kapilow to produce "What Makes It Great?" in this tangible format:
"Robıs energy and his devotion to convincing audiences that music is meant to be enjoyed by everyone are absolutely central to what weıre trying to accomplish at Artemis Classics. It wasnıt long after hearing Rob before I realized that we could use this energy and build the re-launch of Everyman Classics around Rob and his ever-expanding list of accomplishments. As a composer, conductor and entertainer, Rob Kapilow has all the skills. He creates an impact in whatever he does and weıre honored to be associated with him."