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#3149916 08/26/21 08:43 AM
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Being an early gen-X'er growing up in the relatively protected neck of the woods called Denmark, it was not until I joined PW that I realized there was a demi-god by name of Horowitz. Here, he is celebrated like almost none other, yet he was not really a much-talked-about pianist as I grew up.

This raises a couple of questions in my mind: was Horowitz more of a "big name" in some countries than in others (e.g. more in North America than in Western Europe)? And did he have certain composeres he tended towards, and others he tended away from?


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Horowitz played/recorded a lot of Scarlatti, Chopin. Rachmaninov, Liszt, Schumann. Scriabin. For some of these composers he may have frequently performed them but still had a relatively small repertoire of their compositiions.

He played very little Bach, Brahms, and Ravel.

For Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Debussy, Prokoviev, I'd put him somewhere between the first two categories.

All the above are just my personal estimates.

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In 1987 Horowitz (then 82 years old) gave a homecoming concert, "Horowitz in Vienna", which turned out to be more like a farewell concert (he died two years later).
In the same year, the public was enamored by the young Kissin (then 16 years old) as he delivered his Tokyo debut, "Kissin in Tokyo".


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You will find this list of Horowitz’s concerts interesting in that he performed in Europe many years prior to his US debut in 1928

https://vladimirhorowitz.com/1_4_Concertography.html


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Originally Posted by QuasiUnaFantasia
Being an early gen-X'er growing up in the relatively protected neck of the woods called Denmark, it was not until I joined PW that I realized there was a demi-god by name of Horowitz. Here, he is celebrated like almost none other, yet he was not really a much-talked-about pianist as I grew up.

This raises a couple of questions in my mind: was Horowitz more of a "big name" in some countries than in others (e.g. more in North America than in Western Europe)? And did he have certain composeres he tended towards, and others he tended away from?


I am in Western Europe. Since Horowitz emigrated to the US and lived there, it certainly contributed to a larger audience, but he was quite celebrated also in Europe. The issue is that starting with 1936, he did not play much concerts and only in the US till the 80s. He gave a few concerts outside the US in the 80s.

Most people know him mainly through the recordings he made, mainly with RCA.

Like Pianoloverus, I like his Scarlatti, some Chopin .... He recorded several Haydn sonatas which are wonderful. For other composers, like Mozart, Debussy or Beethoven I rarely listen to Horowitz.


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I think he was just about an equal legend the world over.

That is, the classical music world over, including I think everywhere.

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Originally Posted by Sidokar
Like Pianoloverus, I like his Scarlatti, some Chopin ....

About his Chopin, when I first heard him play the Waltz Op. 69 No. 1, I honestly thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I had never heard anything so achingly beautiful in my life. Same thing with his Schubert Gb Impromptu. I have tried over and over to imitate the touch, tone, rhythmic finesse, etc. that he conveys in the "C" section of the waltz, but I've never come close.

Here's a terrible recording, but you do get a sense of the magic (and there's even a wrong note thrown in for good measure). If you start listening around 1:30, you may get a sense of what I'm talking about.



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Need we say, it's "terrible" only if we don't love it done that way!

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Need we say, it's "terrible" only if we don't love it done that way!

You mean the recording itself? The volume levels and balance are off, no richness to the sound, it may not even be stereo. The performance itself is immaculate! Or did you think I meant the performance was terrible?


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Sorry! I did think you meant the playing.
(I did wonder about the other, 'studied' the post some more, and concluded wrong!)

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It is a wonderdul version indeed. Typical Horowitz ... He was nearly 80 at that concert. It was part of the last set of concerts he gave outside the US in the 80s.


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Originally Posted by Sidokar
It is a wonderdul version indeed. Typical Horowitz ... He was nearly 80 at that concert. It was part of the last set of concerts he gave outside the US in the 80s.

I think the BBC broadcast it live. I was still in England at that time.


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Originally Posted by SiFi
Originally Posted by Sidokar
It is a wonderdul version indeed. Typical Horowitz ... He was nearly 80 at that concert. It was part of the last set of concerts he gave outside the US in the 80s.

I think the BBC broadcast it live. I was still in England at that time.

Prior to World War II Horowitz played throughout Europe (including Spain, Poland, and then Czechoslovakia) and North America. He seems never to have played in South America - nor in Australasia.

Horowitz's post-WW II career, when he wasn't in one of his retirements, was mostly centered in the US with occasional trips to Canada and at least one concert in Cuba. He played in London and Paris in 1951, and again in London in 1982. By then, anti-depressant medication was impacting his playing, which was noticeable in 1982 and severely impaired him in 1983 - the same year as his first concerts in Japan.

His 1985-1987 concerts represent his first extensive, international tour since before WWII (Paris, Milan, Russia, Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, Vienna, Tokyo, and selected US cities) - and his last.


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Horowitz was also a music revivalist. Here are just some of the pieces he has played throughout his long career that are not "standard repertoire".

Moszkowski's Ètude (Op. 72 No. 6)
Moszkowski's "Etincelles" (Op. 36 No. 6)
Medtner's Tale in A major (Op. 51 No. 3)
Clementi's Sonata quasi Concerto (Op. 33 No. 3)
Czerny's Variations on a Theme by Rode (Op. 33)
Liszt's Impromptu in F-sharp (S. 191)
Barber's Sonata (Op. 26)
Kabalevsky's Sonata No. 3 (Op. 46)

Grieg's Ballade in G minor (Op. 24)*
Medtner's Sonata in G minor (Op. 22)*

* = Never recorded


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I believe certain composers and their pieces in the less-played repertoire ought to be re-examined.
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My late father-in-law was principal second violinist of the Dallas Symphony for about 30 years and got to perform with most major soloists during that time. He said the most incredible moment was when Horowitz did the Chopin Polonaise for an encore. When it got to the section with the thundering left hand octaves, he swore the whole orchestra was floating several inches above their seats it was so unbelievable! Would have liked to have his seat right behind Horowitz when he performed that.

Last edited by randymerk; 08/29/21 01:11 AM.
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Originally Posted by randymerk
My late father-in-law was principal second violinist of the Dallas Symphony for about 30 years and got to perform with most major soloists during that time. He said the most incredible moment was when Horowitz did the Chopin Polonaise for an encore. When it got to the section with the thundering left hand octaves, he swore the whole orchestra was floating several inches above their seats it was so unbelievable! Would have liked to have his seat right behind Horowitz when he performed that.

I wonder what concerto he had played!

Main candidates, I think:
Beethoven Emperor
Rachmaninoff 3rd
....or, if toward the end of his career, Mozart A major K. 488

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by randymerk
My late father-in-law was principal second violinist of the Dallas Symphony for about 30 years and got to perform with most major soloists during that time. He said the most incredible moment was when Horowitz did the Chopin Polonaise for an encore. When it got to the section with the thundering left hand octaves, he swore the whole orchestra was floating several inches above their seats it was so unbelievable! Would have liked to have his seat right behind Horowitz when he performed that.

I wonder what concerto he had played!

Main candidates, I think:
Beethoven Emperor
Rachmaninoff 3rd
....or, if toward the end of his career, Mozart A major K. 488

He never mentioned the concerto. All he could talk about was the Polonaise. He told me this story in the late '70s and it sounded like it had happened quite a bit in the past, so it must have been during Horowitz' prime.

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Originally Posted by randymerk
Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by randymerk
My late father-in-law was principal second violinist of the Dallas Symphony for about 30 years and got to perform with most major soloists during that time. He said the most incredible moment was when Horowitz did the Chopin Polonaise for an encore. When it got to the section with the thundering left hand octaves, he swore the whole orchestra was floating several inches above their seats it was so unbelievable! Would have liked to have his seat right behind Horowitz when he performed that.

I wonder what concerto he had played!

Main candidates, I think:
Beethoven Emperor
Rachmaninoff 3rd
....or, if toward the end of his career, Mozart A major K. 488

He never mentioned the concerto. All he could talk about was the Polonaise. He told me this story in the late '70s and it sounded like it had happened quite a bit in the past, so it must have been during Horowitz' prime.


In the link I posted earlier, there are two Dallas performances: 1975 snd 1877. The repertoire played is not listed for either.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Originally Posted by dogperson
In the link I posted earlier, there are two Dallas performances: 1975 and [1977]. The repertoire played is not listed for either.

Yes -- I looked there too.
The 1975 concert seems to have been just a solo recital, maybe the other also.

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Originally Posted by randymerk
My late father-in-law was principal second violinist of the Dallas Symphony for about 30 years and got to perform with most major soloists during that time. He said the most incredible moment was when Horowitz did the Chopin Polonaise for an encore. When it got to the section with the thundering left hand octaves, he swore the whole orchestra was floating several inches above their seats it was so unbelievable! Would have liked to have his seat right behind Horowitz when he performed that.
I'm guessing that this performance took place in the Fair Park Music Hall - which is where the Dallas Symphony performed prior to relocating in 1989 to the Meyerson Symphony Center. The Music Hall was/is a 3,400 seat barn with awful acoustics - but I bet Horowitz's thunderous octaves filled the place with sound anyway. grin


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