Sunday, September 13, 2009

Vladimir Horowitz at Yale?? Yes, Indeed!

The most celebrated pianist to come out of Russia after Rachmaninoff was, of course, Vladimir Horowitz. In his younger and middle years, he was able to engender a level of excitement in his audiences which had not been equaled , perhaps, since Franz Liszt had become a kind of folk-hero a century before. As a young musician, I can vividly recall, in the twenty-odd times I had gone to his recitals, the pandemonium resulting from his unequaled combination of a kind of neurotic edge and stultifying physicality in his performances, which, miraculously, did not overcome the great music- making this man could carve out of the notes he played.
In 1988, just a few months before his passing the following year, the legendary pianist gave to Yale, where he did perform from time to time, a number of 78 discs which had never been released publicly, and are now gradually being processed for the first time. There are two CD's available at this time, and I believe that another two will be released before the year is over.
The engineering has been of the highest in the restoration of the singular steeliness of the Horowitz sound, and will offer the listener the electric reality of the Horowitz presence. I can only assume that these recordings are being released in recognition of the twentieth anniversary of the passing of this giant among giants. What a priceless addendum to the Horowitz discography these recordings represent! For the inveterate Horowitz followers, this will probably close the circle surrounding the Horowitz legacy, which has remained open all these years.
Imagine! NOW one can finally hear Horowitz challenge one of the most daunting pieces ever written for the piano; and that is "Islamey", by the Russian composer Balakirev. I had always wanted to know, since my younger days, what Horowitz would do with and for this knuckle - buster ; and now, the secret is out!! Enjoy!

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