Thursday, May 27, 2010

A "Heads - up" On The Next Horowitz Release

As a number of you know, some fifteen recordings made just for Horowitz by a recording company he hired, ended up in the Yale archives in 1986, donated to the college by Mr. and Mrs. Horowitz, just three years before the passing of this titan of the piano.
And twenty years after his death, four of these recordings, containing performances never before available to the public, have been released. I have written about these recordings in prior blogs, and I am most happy to share with you the reality that the fifth recording will be released in June(on or around June 10th).
At this moment, I do not know the contents of this eventful arrival, and if it's anything like the previous four, we are all in for a defining experience. The last release, his 1986 Berlin recital, brought back to me the electricity of my experiences in having seen him many times in my youth and middle years.
There is, in my view, no experience that compared to a Horowitz recital in all the concerts that I have gone to - the purity of a Serkin, or a Rubinstein, or a Lipatti is, of course, a defining attainment of genius at its highest level - it's just that whenever Horowitz appeared, the atmosphere surrounding all in that hall, including Horowitz himself, was so filled with a different, a higher sense of anticipation and "pre-excitement," that no other artist in my experience could ever create that same form of alchemy, as it were. I've thought long and hard about the Horowitz phenomenon, and all that I can muster is the possibility that Horowitz, in his unparalleled quest for the Boundless and Unknown in his own incarnations about to occur, was actually in the same space of experience as the audience. I think of what Rachmaninoff once said: "a truly great pianist is one who is willing to take a chance."
And Horowitz was in a state of constancy germane to Rachmaninoff's projection - the innate sense of Adventure was his trademark, and no recording he ever made can capture the utter magic of the Horowitz Moment - only those of us who were given the opportunity to be in the same room with him can really know.
BUT! I must tell you that many of the performances on these recently released recordings, called, "The Private Collection," come as close to that kind of electricity as can be made possible, and I can without hesitation suggest that you listen to these four recordings, all of which were done before live audiences. Horowitz, in his studio recordings, as great as those recordings are, is not the same Horowitz before a live audience. The unique mixture of the thrill of adventure, enhanced by his personal fears which haunted him through much of his career, gave a Horowitz recital a galvanic edge that simply did not appear in his studio recordings.
And these recordings from the Yale archives brush the edge, many times, of that galvanic bubble.
Do listen.

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