Leon Fleisher Discusses Recording Beethoven's Fur Elise

December 4, 2011
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St. Paul, Minn. — In this interview, Leon Fleisher discusses recording Beethoven's Fur Elise and some of the challenges that come with recording a work of such popularity.

But you have also included a very familiar work from Beethoven, Fur Elise.

Leon Fleisher: Oh, yes. That's my blanket, I guess.

Is this a piece that you would play because you particularly like it, or does the record company say, "Oh, Leon. Give them something they know."

LF: Oh, no. I love that piece. No, for all warm and cozy relationships with record companies, I record what I want to record.

Do well known works like that worry a pianist?

LF: Isn't that an interesting question... Yes, on one level they do. On another level they are a challenge, and sometimes great fun to try and discern freshness behind them.

Do you feel that you have to do something differently?

LF: No, I feel we are all willy-nilly, like it or not. We are all pretty individual. Aside from DNA, we are all prisms that give off different reflections. We have different experiences through which music is filtered. So, I don't worry about being different. I am different — we all are. I don't think it is anything to particularly look for or emphasize.

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