4th August: Pianist Leon Fleisher Dies; Bach Archive acquires unknown letter; The Dismantling of the Organ of Notre-Dame de Paris Begins

Tuesday 4th August 2020

Pianist Leon Fleisher, who lost use of his right hand, has died aged 92

The great American pianist, who was forced to play left-handed for years, has died.

Fleisher died of cancer at a hospice in Baltimore on Sunday, according to his son Julian.

Born in San Francisco in 1928 to parents who had emigrated from Eastern Europe, Fleisher was a child prodigy who, at four years old, would repeat the piano phrases his older brother had been learning, without teaching.

He played his first public concert aged eight. Aged nine, the child prodigy was studying with top classical pianist Artur Schnabel. He went on to make his debut with the New York Philharmonic at just 16.

As a young man, Fleisher signed a contract with Columbia Masterworks, and earned acclaim for his performances of piano concertos by Brahms and Beethoven.

But in 1964, Fleisher developed a neurological condition: Focal dystonia, which Fleisher later attributed to seven or eight hours a day of practising, meant he could no longer play with his right hand.

After two years of inactivity, he refocused on repertoire for the left hand, including works by Ravel, Prokofiev and Britten, as well as music composed just for him, and began a successful conducting career with orchestras in Baltimore and Annapolis.

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Bach-Archiv erwirbt unbekannten Brief von Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

Das Bach-Archiv hat einen bislang unveröffentlichten Brief des Bach-Sohns Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach erworben. Es handele sich um ein zweiseitiges Schreiben, das der damalige Hamburger Musikdirektor zwei Jahre vor seinem Tod an den Leipziger Verleger Engelhard Benjamin Schwickert richtete, teilte die Einrichtung am Montag mit. Das Schriftstück soll anlässlich der Festtage “70 Jahre Bach-Archiv Leipzig” ab dem 27. Oktober im Bach-Museum ausgestellt werden.

Der Brief vom 4. August 1786 behandelt die Vorbereitung einer Neuausgabe des Lehrbuchs “Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen”. Das Werk zähle zu den bedeutendsten musikalischen Lehrbüchern des 18. Jahrhunderts, hieß es. Der Ankauf ergänze die im Bach-Archiv verwahrte Briefsammlung der Familie Carl Philipp Emanuel Bachs. Diese umfasse 39 Briefe des Komponisten (1714-1788) sowie 37 erhaltene Brief von dessen Tochter Anna Carolina Philippina Bach.

“Die Rückkehr eines unbekannten Briefes des zweiten Bach-Sohns an seinen ursprünglichen Bestimmungsort ist ein besonderer Glücksfall”, erklärte der Direktor des Bach-Archivs, Peter Wollny. Das Schreiben beleuchte mit seinen zahlreichen Details ein Stück Lebenswirklichkeit des späten 18. Jahrhunderts. Da das Bach-Archiv bereits zwei Briefe von C. P. E. Bach an den Verleger Schwickert verwahrt, ergäben sich für die wissenschaftliche Forschung neue Perspektiven.

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Bach Archive acquires unknown letter from Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

The Bach Archive has acquired a previously unpublished letter from Bach’s son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. The facility announced on Monday that it was a two-page letter that the then Hamburg music director sent to Leipzig publisher Engelhard Benjamin Schwickert two years before his death. The document is to be exhibited in the Bach Museum on October 27th on the occasion of the “70 Years Bach Archive Leipzig”.

The letter of August 4, 1786, deals with the preparation of a new edition of the textbook “Attempting the Real Way to Play the Piano”. The work is said to be one of the most important musical textbooks of the 18th century. The purchase complements the Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach family’s letter collection kept in the Bach archive. This includes 39 letters from the composer (1714-1788) and 37 letters from his daughter Anna Carolina Philippina Bach.

“The return of an unknown letter from the second Bach son to his original destination is a special stroke of luck,” said the director of the Bach Archive, Peter Wollny. With its numerous details, the letter illuminates a piece of real life from the late 18th century. Since the Bach Archive already stores two letters from C. P. E. Bach to the publisher Schwickert, new perspectives would arise for scientific research.

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Le démontage du grand orgue de Notre-Dame de Paris va débuter

L’instrument de Cavaillé-Coll a été épargné par l’incendie du 15 avril 2019. Mais un nettoyage et une restauration s’imposent pour que ses huit mille tuyaux puissent sonner de nouveau, comme prévu, le 16 avril 2024.

Contrairement au grand orgue de la cathédrale de Nantes, anéanti par un incendie d’origine criminelle le 18 juillet dernier, celui de Notre-Dame n’a pas été touché par le feu qui a ravagé flèche, charpente, toiture et voûtes le 15 avril 2019. De même il a reçu relativement peu d’eau au cours de l’intervention des pompiers », relève l’établissement public chargé de la restauration de l’édifice parisien. « Néanmoins, il est recouvert de poussières de plomb qui se sont répandues sur l’ensemble de l’instrument et certaines parties ont souffert des variations thermiques subies par la cathédrale depuis l’incendie, notamment lors de la canicule de juillet 2019.

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The dismantling of the great organ of Notre-Dame de Paris is about to begin

Cavaillé-Coll’s instrument was spared by the fire of April 15, 2019. But a cleaning and restoration is necessary so that its eight thousand pipes can sound again, as planned, on April 16, 2024.

Unlike the great organ of Nantes Cathedral, which was destroyed by a fire of criminal origin on July 18, Notre-Dame Cathedral was not affected by the fire that ravaged the spire, frame, roof and vaults on April 15, 2019. According to the public establishment in charge of restoring the Parisian building, it received relatively little water during the firefighters’ intervention: “Nevertheless, it is covered with lead dust which spread over the whole instrument and some parts have suffered from the thermal variations suffered by the cathedral since the fire, particularly during the heat wave of July 2019.”

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