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Thread: Vladimir Horowitz

  1. #16
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    I listened to the Kreisleriana here last night, first time in about 5 years. I think it is really exceptional. Easily found on spotify and the like, an excellent transfer. If there was more Horowitz like this we would all agree that he was one the greatest of pianists on record.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Sep-09-2019 at 08:43.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    If there was more Horowitz like this we would all agree that he was one the greatest of pianists on record.
    Why do you think there is not? Nerves, etc?

    Anyway that looks like a great program, I will have to seek it out.
    Last edited by flamencosketches; Sep-09-2019 at 10:51.

  3. #18
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    Yes the tense nervousness of some performances, and a way of decorating some pieces which may not always be in the best possible taste.

    For a good polarising example compare what Horowitz does with Czerny's variations on La Ricordanza with Alexis Weissenberg's. It's good music, by the way, well worth a bit of time.

    I hope you do try the 1968 Kreisleriana, I want to know if anyone else thinks it's as wonderful as I do.

  4. #19
    Senior Member Poppin' Fresh's Avatar
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    Well, count me as an ardent fan. He was the outstanding figure in the pianistic world for more than half a century, and I count several of his recordings as some of my most cherished performances in my entire collection by any performer. Throughout his career Horowitz gave us indelible performances that expand our awareness of many works in the repetoire, always revealing new avenues of color and detail. It isn't fair to say his playing was "bad" during his last decade or so -- he was a born showstopper, but as he aged he came to grips with the inevitable slowing down of his marvelous nervous system, and in his final recordings there is some music making there of a rarified nature, poetic and singing, with phrasing of a unique individuality.

    Just to touch on a few of my favorite recordings, the 1932 recording of the Liszt sonata is legendary and far exceeds his exaggerated remake from the 1970s. The two early 1940s recordings of Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto with Toscanini are also immortal: steely, edgy, full of strenghth and raw nerve. His rendition of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition is one of his most controversial recordings, and it is certainly an oddity, but it is an example of pianism of awesome impact and deserves to be heard. He felt a bond with the work of Rachmaninoff and the two developed a close relationship; the 1951 recording of the third piano concerto with Reiner is one of Horowitz's most characteristic performances: demonic, searing, and technically incomparable. In his recordings of various solo pieces by Rachmaninoff, he focuses far more on the epic side of the music than the composer ever did in his own playing.

    Horowitz's recordings of Scarlatti sonatas employ a large set of dynamics and use the pedal ingeniously in washes and dots and dashes, all etched with a remarkable finger precision and spacing of notes, and are packed with drama. The Clementi sonatas album from the 1950s is vintage Horowitz, and remains the most effective all-around recorded example of Clementi's sonatas that I know. These works are played with a stylistic freedom and pull out all the stops while remaining true to the idiom.

    His recordings of Chopin's second piano sonata are the quintessetial "Byronic" Chopin, full of burning frustration, wilfullness and bombast. In Schumann Horowitz's creative imagination was fired. The first recording of the Kreisleriana from the late 1960s is an unforgettable experience, with rubato applied in an instinctive drive and full of sparks. In the 1986 Kreisleriana we get a mellow, almost hallucinatory version of the work.

    However, if I had to choose a personal favorite segment of Horowitz's art, it would be his Scriabin. He knew exactly how to bring to life that composer's flamelike spirit in all its quivering eroticism.

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  6. #20
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    ^Excellent post! Thanks! I agree that his Scriabin is very revelatory. I'm working on getting into more of his music. There is a Columbia Masterworks recording of Rachmaninov's B-flat minor sonata that I've been really enjoying, somewhat later in his career I think. The next step for me is getting that two disc set with all his 1930s recordings.

  7. #21
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    If you like his Chopin sonata, then I wonder if you'll also like this. Brand is Brand and Horowitz is Horowitz, but there's a certain romantic intensity which I think they share.

    Last edited by Mandryka; Sep-13-2019 at 20:50.

  8. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    I think he's very variable, when he's good he's very very good. When he's bad he's dreadful. You can hear it in the Liszt sonata. The one from the 1930s is superb. The one from the 1970s or 80s, isn't....Fortnately there are a lot of very good thing, even more so if you are prepared to listen to early recordings. This is well worth buying
    I agree with your comments -- heard Horowitz play the Liszt B Minor Sonata in 1978, I think it was Carnegie Hall. At one point I just closed my eyes and listened -- it really was pedalled noise, what a thing to say, yet true. His playing was terrific in a Seattle recital a few years earlier, and of course many recordings bear out his greatness. Even playing badly he was still Horowitz, still had the aura.

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