Birthday candles for two great pianists
Two of our leading pianist, each a unique, inimitable artist, celebrate birthdays on Monday. One, Lisbon native Maria João Pires, has been known for forty years for her sensitive, poetic interpretations of Mozart, Beethoven and the Romantics. Her Chopin, especially, stands alongside the finest of the last fifty years, but her Schubert is not far behind. From her CD set "Le voyage magnifique," dedicated to piano titan Sviatoslav Richter, we'll hear Ms. Pires at about 9:30 on Monday with flexible, rhapsodic interpretations of Schubert's Four Impromptus, Op. 142.
Leon Fleisher's approach to Schubert stems from his principal teacher, legendary Austrian pianist Artur Schnabel. Probing, controlled, profound, Mr. Fleisher's masterful interpration of Schubert's valedictory Sonata in B-flat major comes up Monday just before 1:00 on WFCR. This performance comes from Mr. Fleisher's "Two Hands" CD, his first recording as a two-handed pianist since injury curtailed the use of his right hand forty years prior. To hear the young Fleisher from his years as one of the OYAPs ("Outstanding Young American Pianists") of the 1950s, including William Kapell, Gary Graffman and Van Cliburn, tune in a little before 3:00 for a driven and exciting rendition of Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra. The San Francisco native celebrates his 84th today; it's a great joy to have him back on the concert scene.