Sunday, March 30, 2008

This Music Formed My Life's Path -Look For a Recording!

When I was about eight years of age, my father took me to my first concert. It was a recital by Vladimir Horowitz, and it was at the Eastman Theater of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where we were living at the time.
Even though I had been taking piano lessons for a few years, my first love was baseball, and by that time I had been working on a baseball card collection since I was about five, and knew the batting records by memory of all the baseball greats.
But during the course of about fifteen or twenty minutes at this recital, my ladder of priorities exchanged rungs.
Horowitz absolutely mesmerized me. My entire life was altered within that brief period. For days after the recital my consciousness swirled with the sounds of what I had been witness to. I can still recall with undiminished clarity the picture of that lean figure sitting in front of something that suddenly took on a life's force of indescribable power and message.
Though baseball continued to be an important segment of my life (as it still does), its position was rudely pushed down and instantly replaced by this wordless language.
The music that I remember the most clearly was the Opus 38; the 8 Preludes, by the Russian composer Dmitri Kabalevsky.
The dazzling colors Kabalevsky suffuses these Preludes with, and the stunning athleticism of Horowitz in his performance of these wonderful pieces are still with me after so many years, and I am happy to inform you that Horowitz recorded them in, I believe, 1947, in a live performance.
If you don't know this music, and you want to hear Horowitz at his pianistic peak (he was in his mid-forties), you're in for a powerful experience.
See if you can find this recording.

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