Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Some Observations About the Horowitz Transcriptions...

As you know, I wrote yesterday about the address of the people notating the Horowitz transcriptions. I thought that I might share with you some personal reactions to what is transpiring during this period concerning the transcriptions:
Some of you are aware, of course, that a number of the transcriptions has been recently recorded by the young Russian pianist, Arcadi Volodos.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, I had thought for many years after the passing of Horowitz in 1989, that the transcriptions would not be performed again; that they were, indeed, personal incarnations of Horowitz, and Horowitz only, as the transcriptions were really an elemental extension of the core of the unparalleled Horowitz pyro-technique.
However, the immense gifts of Volodos, both as a pianist and as an astute observer of the legacy given us by Horowitz, have resulted in some recordings, uncannily close to the Horowitz notations, that give an overpowering verism to a reality. That reality is simply a reminder that nothing remains the same, even though one may think that, for instance, the playing by Horowitz of his transcriptions could ever be exceeded in raw pianism.
And yet, my arrogance that Horowitz, who has been a hero of mine since childhood, deemed unassailable in the playing of his own transcriptions, is at least diminished somewhat by the playing of Volodos.
I decided to compile a CD of performances of some of the transcriptions, played by Horowitz and Volodos back-to-back. As overwhelming as Horowitz is, of course, in his playing, I became aware that Volodos finds spatial "stretching" of the notes, even though his tempi are, for the most part, similar to Horowitz - that spatial aura is an issue I had not contemplated before.
In short, like geological change, the process of furthering the physiognomy of an issue may be indeed subtle, or at least barely discernible; however, to me, I hear in Volodos a movement forward in the technology of that performance; in this case, a furthering into the bottomless nature of the mass of Possibility that proves that Man always finds a new way of furthering his base of consciousness.
Not for a moment am I stating that Volodos is a better pianist than Horowitz. It's simply an analogy to the breaking through, for instance, the sound barrier, that enlarged the world of flight.
For me, Volodos has gone a tiny step further in pure pianism in works I had mistakenly considered the property of one genius, and one genius only.
You may or may not agree with my reactions - do remember that it is only one musician's reaction.
Perhaps the word "Progress" sums it all up.

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