In a recent survey of recordings with strong Baltimore connections, The Baltimore Sun included a four-hand recording by Leon Fleisher and his wife.
Classical recordings with strong Baltimore connections have turned up recently. Here are some that are well worth a listen. And, although conventional wisdom has it that no one buys CDs anymore, these could easily wrapped for the music lover on that holiday shopping list you are bound to get around to compiling before long.
Any time Leon Fleisher makes a recording, discerning piano fans will snap it up. In this case, the eminent keyboard artist and longtime pedagogue at the Peabody Institute is joined by his wife, Katherine Jacobson Fleisher, a former student of his who brings considerable skills to the piano bench as well. The couple’s recitals of four-hand music have been delectable to hear in concert halls, so this first recorded sampling of their tight partnership is most welcome.
Schubert’s F minor Fantasy, a pinnacle of the composer’s poetic thought, inspires keenly communicative playing from the Fleishers, who give something of a master class in terms of tempo, phrasing and color in the “Liebeslieder” Waltzes of Brahms. Ravel’s swirling “La Valse,” long a specialty of this duo, emerges with an effective sweep. And William Bolcom’s “Graceful Ghost Rag” makes a fun encore.