Posted: October 17th, 2013
Art (Fine arts, Performing arts)
The main theme brought forward by the piece places its origin from the Gipsy dance in Bizet’s opera Carmen Act II. The piece begins with the Gipsy theme in a fast tempo. The mood, however, turns playful through the raising demand of the pianist. Rhythms become wider as notes cascade coming from an upward register, becoming wilder. The later section of the theme comes with a variation of the gipsy theme plays from a lower register, providing a less hectic and calmer atmosphere. After a chromatic and intricate scale passage, the tone of the piece suddenly explodes as Horowitz brings the main theme into mayhem, exhibiting immense power, virtuosity, and brilliant keyboard technique. The conclusion of the piece comes through the interlocking octaves of the usual Horowitz style. It is through these variations that Horowitz exhibits the height of his technique and power.
Meaningful that Horowitz would be performing in front of a huge crowd in a single session must have put him under pressure. He nevertheless rose to the occasion through a program that suited his unique and impeccable gifts. Horowitz plays the two classic Sonatas with his usual control of the piano, perfect pedaling, and fleet finger work. Horowitz made recordings of the G-minor Chopin’s Ballade. In truth, I feel that he was not entirely successful in this particular work, and he found it a difficult task to balance the structural and the episodic elements. Even less successful is the F-Minor Nocturne. Horowitz’s playing is too dynamic and generous, overemphasizing the detail at the whole piece’s expense, thus emerging as a collection of separate details. However, this version along with the 1965 return concert is considered the most successful musically and technically.
The F-sharp minor is performance in a downright nerve wrecking and diabolical, yet Horowitz is seemingly holding the work under a control of rhythm that arguably Arthur Rubinstein was unable to achieve. I would be exaggerating if I put it as the utmost ever recorded F-sharp Minor Polonaise. Certainly, this is Horowitz’s utmost Chopin achievements. I find it necessary to compare Horowitz’s studio recording and Horowitz’s Schumann’s Arabeske version. The version in 1962 features more delicate colors, swifter tempos, and a structural approach that contrasts with the relatively bolder yet laid back performance in discussion. Traumerai is performed in a detailed fashion by through Horowitz’s attention to detail.
The ubiquitous D-Sharp minor Etude by Scriabin is one piece open to a variety of interpretations, is an agreed marvelous performance that threatens to increase sharply at its climax. Horowitz nevertheless manages to hold it together in a composed manner through this compelling reaction. From this piece, one can conclude that Horowitz was engaging in constant variation of the Carmen Gypsy song. Throughout the years, this version has developed to become the most loved. Horowitz’s revision is less repetitive compared to earlier versions and is more pianistically inventive with the overall approach coming through more relaxed.
The 1968 TV concert has, however, been made commercially unavailable and is one of three, including the 1983 Tokyo concert and the 1978 White Household reading. The other two are available from the library of Jimmy Carter. Parts of the 1968 concert have featured in several documentaries highlighting the fascinating yet remarkable feature of the piece to include nine different programs in a single piece.
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