Horowitz in Hamburg: the Last Concert

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COMPOSERS: Chopin,Liszt,Piano works by Mozart,Schubert and Moszkowski,Schumann
ALBUM TITLE: Horowitz in Hamburg: the Last Concert
PERFORMER: Vladimir Horowitz (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 477 7558


This final public recital of Vladimir Horowitz’s career occurred over two years before his death in 1989. Except for Chopin’s Mazurka Op. 33/4, all the music heard here duplicates Horowitz repertory released by Deutsche Grammophon (recorded in 1985-89). The pianist’s admirers will surely be attracted to this new disc for its sentimental value despite such overlapping, but it is also instructive to hear these performances against the ‘official’ versions and thereby to be reminded of both the extent and the limits of Horowitz’s spontaneity. He comes off as an occasionally creaky wizard; technical tangles and bobbles are a not infrequent phenomenon on this disc. Nevertheless, his inimitable sorcery is still evident, perhaps most potently in the delicacy of both sentiment and tracery in the sixth of the Schubert/Liszt Soirées de Vienne. Horowitz proffers a cheerful Mozart (Rondo K485 and Sonata K333), and his Chopin (the aforementioned Mazurka and the A flat Polonaise) and Schumann (Kinderszenen) thrive by combining lyrical intensity with outsized dynamic contrast. In short, this recital is manifestly typical of Horowitz’s playing in his old age, although the recording finds in his sonority a more rounded quality than was usual. David Breckbill