The Sound of One Hand

PERFORMER: LEON FLEISHER

ALBUM: CONCERTOS BY RAVEL, PROKOFIEV AND BRITTEN

LABEL: SONY CLASSICAL

THE BOTTOM LINE: Despite his disability, the pianist retains his formidable musical intelligence and masterly touch.

Two functioning hands would seem to be the minimum basic requirement for a concert career, but fortunately musical history says otherwise. When the pianist Paul Wittgenstein, brother of the philosopher Ludwig, lost his right arm serving with the Austrian army in World War I, he reacted with logical positivism: he commissioned several leading composers to write works for the left hand alone.

Warfare has not claimed any pianistic right arms lately, but...

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