The Essential Leon Fleisher marks the first digital releases of the pianist's 1963 recording with the Juilliard String Quartet of the Brahms Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34, as well a piano transcription of Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (whose availability will be exclusive to iTunes).
Also featured is the first digital release of the opening movement of Schubert's Sonata D.960, from the pianist's Columbia Masterworks debut recording in 1954. Fleisher rerecorded the entire sonata in 2004 for Two Hands, his first two-hand album in some forty years, released on the Vanguard Classics label.
Additional works include the complete Ravel Concerto for the Left Hand and select movements from Beethoven's Concerto No. 5, Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1, Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25 and Grieg's Piano Concerto. Two solo works for piano left hand, Brahms's transcription of the Bach Chaconne and the "Groteske" movement from Korngold's Suite for Two Violins, Cello and Piano Left Hand, along with and Ravel's Alborada del gracioso round out the anthology.
The release coincides with Fleisher's being awarded the 2007 Kennedy Center Honors.