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Vladimir Horowitz: A Reminiscence
Franz [Vienna] Schubert, Frederic Chopin, Domenico Scarlatti
Vladimir Horowitz: A Reminiscence
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (18) - Disc #1

This compilation, taken from live and studio recordings of the 1960s and '70s, is described as a selection of pieces especially beloved by both Horowitz and his audiences. They are largely popular fare, none longer than si...  more »

      
   
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This compilation, taken from live and studio recordings of the 1960s and '70s, is described as a selection of pieces especially beloved by both Horowitz and his audiences. They are largely popular fare, none longer than six and a half minutes, some less than two. All are originally for piano, except Busoni's arrangement of a Bach Chorale Prelude; all are complete works except the first movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Arranged arbitrarily without regard to chronology, stylistic unity, or contrast of tempo, the program resembles encore pieces performed according to the artist's whim, perhaps to create the illusion of spontaneous choice. However, the record's variety showcases one of the greatest pianists of his or any other time from every angle of his multifaceted artistry, and the selections include many composers with whom Horowitz was closely associated. A Scarlatti Sonata displays his pristine, crisp touch and rock-steady rhythm. Two Debussy Preludes are a swash of colors. A Liszt Study has feathery delicacy. The Moonlight sings with such moving simplicity that one wishes he had played the whole sonata. His Schubert, Chopin, and Schumann are lovely and poetic, but sometimes a bit overdone. Schumann's "Träumerei" is so dreamy that it almost goes to sleep. Perhaps closest to his heart and best suited to his pianistic and musical style are two Rachmaninoff and three Scriabin pieces. All are slow and very romantic, impressionist, improvisatory, rhetorical, and passionate. --Edith Eisler

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CD Reviews

Horowitz Plays Popular Classics
Hank Drake | Cleveland, OH United States | 07/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

""To be more than a virtuoso, you must first be a virtuoso." Ferruccio BusoniAlthough this CD of previously released material is being promoted as a companion to the video documentary "Vladimir Horowitz--a Reminiscence," there is little connection between the two. Rather than release a CD of pieces which Horowitz was heard playing in the film, Sony has instead chosen to release an album of "popular" piano classics. Most of the pieces on this CD are relaxed and contemplative, and there is none of Horowitz trademark diabolical virtuosity here. Nevertheless, his years with Columbia Masterworks (now Sony Classical) were fruitful ones, and the pianist won the majority of his Grammys while under contract to that label from 1962 to 1973. Horowitz was never considered one of Schubert's greatest interpreters, but this performance of the G-flat Impromptu is notable for the pianist's uncanny ability to balance the melody against the flowing accompaniment, and for its natural phrasing and tonal beauty. The Chopin pieces are from various Horowitz albums, including some live material. Although the playing is uniformly outstanding, one wishes Sony had included more Mazurkas, a form in which Horowitz excelled. (At 62 minutes, there would have been room for at least two more.) Early on, Horowitz was lauded for his interpretations of the music of Rachmaninoff, his friend and mentor. The two brief pieces here, recorded live in 1968, are played with characteristic brooding melancholy. The LP from which these works were taken won Horowitz one of his many Grammys. Two of the three Scriabin pieces here are from Horowitz' legendary all-Scriabin LP, recorded in 1972, another Grammy winner. The third piece was recorded at the same time, but not released until 1992, despite being top-flight Horowitz and Scriabin. Although it duplicates items which Horowitz fanatics already have, this CD is ideal for the Horowitz newcomer. It is also an excellent refutation for those who still like to pigeonhole Vladimir Horowitz as a mere virtuoso."
The Quiet side of Horowitz
Mireille Wastwater | England | 12/17/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Not Another Horowitz disc? one may be entitled to exclaim. For
there are many CDs available by this titan, repackaged under various titles such as 'Horowitz: A Tribute' and 'Horowitz: The Indispensable'. Horowitz is remembered foremost for his WHAM BHAM THUMP trickle BAM BOOM tickle HWAAAIYAH ~ahhhh~ type playing and most Horowitz-collection albums reflect this. But this CD is different. There is no flash. There are none of his Liszt-Revisited show stoppers. As such, the title is misleading - for a reminiscence of Horowitz would surely involve some reference to his bombastic playing. A more appropriate title for the gathering of pieces here would be 'Horowitz: Tamed by Age' Listening to these pieces makes one realise that Horowitz was equally at home in slow, quiet pieces as he was in fast, fortissimo music. Take, for example, the Traumerei by Schumann. He doesn't make it sound like a 'dream' but makes it sound more like a simple resignation. The phrasing of the moonlight sonata (he later stated that he thought it should be played much faster but was too much of a 'coward' to record it so!) is superb. Also found are a couple of Scriabin pieces, which Volodos plays as encores these days. All in all, a valuable release worth investigating."