Friday, January 1, 2010

Andsnes and Horowitz - New Piano Recordings For the New Year

Happy New Year to my readers!
Thought I would discuss piano recordings of great interest, to start the New Year off:
I have already written about the first two releases of Vladimir Horowitz, selected from recordings he made in Carnegie Hall over many years, made for his own pleasure and never commercially released, which he donated to Yale University in, I believe, 1986.
The first two releases, which include another performance of Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" and his only recording of Balakirev's "Islamey", I have already discussed.
The next release from these private recordings is due on January 5th, which includes one of Horowitz's favorite sonatas; one in "E" flat (n0. 62) by Haydn, along with the Beethoven "Waldstein" and "Moonlight" sonatas.
On February 2nd, I believe, the fourth release from these Yale archive recordings occurs, which I think is a recording made in Berlin in 1986, just three years before the passing of this legendary pianist. The recording was discovered in one of Berlin's radio files, and should be fascinating to the followers of the great Russian musician. I look forward to these treasures!
I believe that the joint tour of Leif Ove Andsnes, the great Norwegian pianist, and Robin Rhode, the South African artist, is now over, at least for this period. As many of you know, this joint tour centered around a pictorial view, both aural and visual, of Mussorgsky's "Pictures," created and realized by Andsnes and Rhode.
Recently, I picked up the CD of Andsnes doing the "Pictures" (there is also a DVD of both Andsnes and Rhode in performance), and, for me, it is a revelatory perusal of a work I have long known. It is, in my view, the most important recorded performance since the days of Horowitz and his recordings of this singular work - like Horowitz, who enhanced the original manuscript by way of his own transcriptions, Andsnes also enriches, conceptually, the original music with his own addenda, and in such a wonderfully subtle way that prompts me to suggest that this recording, in my view, is the most intelligent delivery I know of this work; in addition, the illimitable pianistic powers of this young pianist makes for this reading to be the most engrossing incarnation of "Pictures" since the legendary Horowitz recordings.
Hopefully, the reader of this blog will pursue these vital recordings to begin his or her New Year in fine fashion!

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