Thursday, March 20, 2014

When Titans 'Collide' - When Great Soloists Perform Chamber Music Together...

When Fritz Kreisler, the legendary violinist, at the height of his powers, plays a Beethoven sonata with Sergei Rachmaninoff,  in 1928 - what can one expect?  One great mind at odds, philosophically and interpretively, with the other? What happens when a renowned  genius, endowed with supernatural powers as a soloist, merges with an equally great peer -  do we expect a gargantuan clash of wills?
The answer, generally, is "no," IF the great soloists have  a sublime superpower outside of their performance abilities; and that is, to LISTEN to the total endeavor of the composer and come to an understanding with one another to give the world an experience; unexpected, perhaps - but most assuredly sublime.
There is a recording of these two giants, of the Beethoven(Op. 30, as I remember).
In 1976 a celebratory  concert was given  at Carnegie Hall in recognition of Carnegie's 85th anniversary - can you imagine Vladimir  Horowitz, the 20th century's answer to Franz Liszt, accompanying the greatest baritone of the age, Dietrich Fischer-Diskau, in Schumann's  "Dichterliebe?"
Or, Mstislav Rostropovich, one of the two or three top 'cellists of that period, being accompanied by Vladimir Horowitz in the andante from the Rachmaninoff sonata (Opus 19)?
Why not listen, and thrill to the magic of two life-long friends, born just months apart; both escaping just months apart from the madness of civil war in Mother Russia, in the third sonata of Brahms for violin and piano? For these towering artists, Nathan Milstein and Vladimir Horowitz, to become ONE...
The performances listed above, all of which are on CD, are some of a relatively small number of  defining historical perspectives of  the merging of Brobdingnagian artists who teach us about the community that can be formed by a tiny portion of  great minds who can communicate with one another in addition to the audiences who know of them, primarily, as individual performers of  the highest order.  

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