Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Concertos of Brahms and Vladimir Horowitz - Utter Confusion!

On more than one occasion the legendary pianist Vladimir Horowitz uttered his dislike of Brahms, and between the words one can sense the discomfort Horowitz underwent in the playing of the composer, especially in the two Piano Concertos. At times he actually expressed to people like Dubal his disdain for the way Brahms wrote for the piano, citing weaknesses in the composer's creative delivery; in the Concertos, as an example.
And yet when I hear the 1936 performance of the 1st concerto with Bruno Walter and the 1940 recording of the 2nd with his father-in-law Toscanini, I know of no other recordings that are more powerful and convincing than these, and there are many notable, truly great recordings of these two masterpieces.
There is a rather curious anachronism inherent in the Horowitz recordings, at least to me, by way of the word Integrity, as it applies automatically to the quest of the great artist; that is, an inherent seeking of a kind of truth about the fashioning of a great piece of music.
What confuses me is that "the truth" in the recordings of Horowitz; that is, in the case of Brahms, is infused by Horowitz in a matter that is utterly compelling - the words "lofty" and "regal" are core properties of Brahms, omnipresent, in my view, in his symphonies and concertos, let alone works for other instrumental combinations, and Horowitz gives us such transcendent messages in his monumental approach to the music - it makes me wonder at times as to whether the great pianist is innately led to the nucleus of the music without fully realizing it himself, simply because the monumental nature of the way he played virtually all composers sucked him into the vortex of "truth," whether or not he believed in the music he played?
I do not recall ever having been in a state of confusion such as this rather peculiar dilemma of Horowitz and his verbal attitude about a composer, versus the actual playing of that composer's music.

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1 Comments:

Blogger vaincre said...

He was a performer, in the best sense. A true performer can seem to be completely immersed and loving a role he is indifferent too. That must always be remembered - Horowitz was an actor.

August 12, 2011 at 7:37 PM  

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