LABELS: RCA Victor Red Seal
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Horowitz
WORKS: Toccata, BWV 911; Sonatas, Opp. 36/1, 24/2 & 34/1; Song without Words, Op. 67/3;Fantaisie, Op. 49; Polonaise, Op. 26/1; Mazurka, Op. 30/2; Consolation No. 4; Consolation No. 5; Étude-tableau, Op. 39/7
PERFORMER: Vladimir Horowitz (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 62643 2 ADD mono
The legendary piano virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz gave 13 recitals in Carnegie Hall between the years 1945 and 1950 which were privately recorded for his personal use only. Now, with the approval of the pianist’s widow Wanda Toscanini Horowitz, RCA has begun to release these performances on CD. This disc is the first of the series, and promises much: here is Horowitz in concert at the height of his powers, in music which, more often than not, does not appear elsewhere in his discography.
The sound is not good – a great deal of crackling, hissing and interference – however, for me, that was not enough to mar the performances. Listening to this, you can really understand the nature of the Horowitz legend, intangible though it may so often seem. Perhaps it is the sheer conviction, the infusion of Horowitzian fire, poetry and personality into every note (even the wrong ones) – in short, the inspiration which carries away both him and those who listen to him.
The Chopin Fantaisie in particular is a fabulous example of this: Horowitz plays it as true fantasy, as if improvising with an imaginative richness and élan, entering worlds unattainable to most of us. The same magic permeates the clarity and power of the Bach Toccata, the miniature gems of the Clementi sonatas and the bell-filled aural tapestry of the Rachmaninov Étude-tableau. Jessica Duchen