Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, Scriabin, Scarlatti, etc

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COMPOSERS: Chopin,etc,Liszt,Rachmaninoff,Scarlatti,Scriabin
LABELS: RCA Red Seal Artists of the Century
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Horowitz Ð The Indispensable
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Vladimir Horowitz (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 74321 63471 2 ADD/DDD mono/stereo Reissue (1947-82)
Words of praise can be as much a curse as a blessing. When Neville Cardus branded Horowitz as ‘the greatest pianist alive or dead’ he was only adding to the already fearsome burden of expectations that dogged Horowitz throughout his career. His virtuosity was indeed flabbergasting – and he was never one to hide his light beneath the proverbial bushel. Great musician though he often was, he was also an incorrigible show-off (but if you had to show off what he had to show off, could you resist?). Sure, there was a streak of the vulgarian in him, but that was half the fun. His arrangement of Sousa’s ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’ is so manifestly impossible that you have to laugh. And part of the humour is the fantastic sophistication, even subtlety, which he lavishes on it. This compilation is as fully rounded a portrait of the man as any two-disc set could hope to be – and more so than the six discs devoted to him in the great Philips pianothon, which neglect the shameless dazzler altogether, thereby neglecting the full range of his artistry. Here you get the lot – and it’s enough to leave you panting. Go out and grab it! Jeremy Siepmann