Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tidbits Of Humor By A Legendary Musician....Vladimir Horowitz

The picture formed in the minds of those who were witnesses to his performances is pretty much the same for most who saw him in concert; that is, a man of average height, rather slender during much of his  career, with a chalk-white complexion, and a profile not unlike that of Chopin, who transforms the atmosphere through his magic...
There was, however, another side of this 2oth century Liszt.
In some actions, he was a kind of pixie; for example, in an interview with the late Mike Wallace in the Horowitz home, the pianist tells Wallace of his occasional insertion of a stiff-bristled hairbrush into  his wife's bed, bristles up, so that upon her slipping into bed she would find herself about two inches short of the ceiling. The impish smile on the Maestro's face as he related the event tells us all about his irrepressible sense of practical humor. Another event lasts about twelve seconds on a video made during the 80's, when he tosses off a fragment of his version of "Tea for Two," much to the irritation of his wife sitting nearby.
An example of the delightful jumble of words he often projected(he actually was more fluid in French than he was in English) went as follows:
"When I complain to my doctor about my aches and pains every morning, he tells me that at my age, if I got out of bed without aches and pains, I'd already be dead."
A photograph of Horowitz and the brilliant humorist and gifted pianist Oscar Levant, who was a close friend of George Gershwin and a top-flight performer of Gershwin's piano works, tells us more. The photo shows Horowitz and Levant sitting on the same piano bench, with Horowitz occupying most of the bench, leaving Levant with a few inches of bench available for a rather strained seating posture. The photo tells us graphically as to which one is the better pianist.
Do investigate, and  you may well find other little treasures connected to this giant posing as a pixie...

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