Vladimir Horowitz (born Kiev 1st October, 1904 – died New York 5th November, 1989) was a unique presence, one which set the musical and, more particularly, the pianistic world ablaze. Composers and performers, creators and recreators alike vied to define his quality and status and usually ended lost in a sea of hyperbole. For Rachmaninoff he was, quite simply, the “only player in the world of my Third Concerto”. Prokofiev listened in amazement to Horowitz’s recording of his Seventh Sonata, and Samuel Barber reeled under the impact of Horowitz’s ‘first’ performance of his Sonata. Among pianists Rudolf Serkin exclaimed, “his Chopin is like a fire-ball exploding” and William Kapell paid him an astute and mischievous compliment when he said, “if people understood what Horowitz’s tone meant, he would be banned from the keyboard”. Comments of that nature had previously been reserved for Liszt and Paganini. From rare privately-owned lacquer disks, here are two public performance recordings with Horowitz (including one conducted by Koussevitzky, who hardly ever appeared with a “star” performer), captured in excellent sound for their times.
“Both the Tchaikovsky B flat and Rachmaninov Third Concertos were central to the creation of the Horowitz legend, but whereas the latter was regularly programmed throughout the pianist’s career, a return was never made to the Tchaikovsky after the 12-year break from concertizing in 1953?.With the Koussevitzky, earthily intense in that summer before the venerable maestro’s passing, these are essential supplements to the early and later recordings.”
-Terry Bennett, International Classical Record Collector, Autumn, 1997
CD-4963(1) HOROWITZ IN TWO PREVIOUSLY UNISSUED CONCERT PERFORMANCES TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 1 in b with Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, cond. William Steinberg (August 1949) and RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 3 in d, Op.30 with Hollywood Bowl Orchestra cond. Serge Koussevitzky (August 1950).
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