Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Culture Forum

Culture Forum

  1. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    08 Feb '13 21:51 / 6 edits
    Where does Horowitz fit in to the world of virtuosi?

    I just found a couple of Horowitz CD's, one a live performance that was tediously put together from a 1975 live concert but the tapes were cut up into sections for each piece and the producer took a long time to find all the cuts and also it was on a 1 inch tape format, an unusual format that also took a while to find a machine to play it all and on top of that found the original machine had speed irregularities that he had to deal with digitally but finally got the whole concert in proper order and such and it is a great tape for sure.

    But I wondered where he fit in against the other known virtuosi like Van Cliburn, Argerich, Rubenstein, Perahia, lisista, Kissin and the like?

    As just one example by Kissin, the Chopin #2 OP 21, would Horowitz played it differently?:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_lELKeJUTw

    I can't find a Horowitz version of this piece to compare.
  2. 09 Feb '13 00:35 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    Where does Horowitz fit in to the world of virtuosi?

    I just found a couple of Horowitz CD's, one a live performance that was tediously put together from a 1975 live concert but the tapes were cut up into sections for each piece and the producer took a long time to find all the cuts and also it was on a 1 inch tape format, an unusual format that also took ...[text shortened]... w.youtube.com/watch?v=E_lELKeJUTw

    I can't find a Horowitz version of this piece to compare.
    The gold standard is Rubinstein, but before him Paderewski was. However, many consider Glen Gould superior or Sviatoslav Richter or flip back and forth and knock Gould down a bit or elevate another. Let's not forget that Sergei Rachmaninoff was also alive in the 20th century and probably better than Rubinstein. Schnabel was the master of the German repertoire. Many of these greats focused on one composer and excelled like Gould did with Bach, in particular the Goldberg variations. Before his injury causing a lengthy hiatus many considered Leon Fleischer as the one pianist who would surpass them all; the same was Murray Perahaia before his horrible hand accident. Horowitz is somewhat a matter of taste since he was shy and not terribly worldly, while Rubinstein, larger than life, is more highly regarded by many by sheer force of personality. To me these lists are somewhat spurious since the manner win which the greats played was highly personal and interpretive outcomes varied on a host of factors. Would any of them have stacked up to Czerny or Beethoven or Liszt? Kissin, Argerich are competent as well as Lisista, probably the best of the more recent ones. No one could play the Spanish repertoire like Alicia de Larrocha: Manuel de Falla, Enrique Granados, Federico Mompou, and Isaac Albéniz, considered by many as difficult as there is to play. None could do it all like Horowitz, however, in that he could do all that and play Scriabin credibly. The list below also leaves out the great Claudio Arrau, the Chilean master and even Rubinstein so go figure. Gould's recordings of Goldberg Variations is considered awful because he added unconcsious vocalise and humming and recording engineers could never totally edit this out! There are also piano "specialists" who do accompaniment only for solo sonatas such as Emmanuel Ax who are unsurpassed or lieder specialists who even many of the greats from the list below could not surpass such as Norman Shetler, a Schubert lieder specialist.

    Can you imagine a piano "play"off such as the one taking place in Vienna between Carl Czerny and Beethoven? I'd have loved being there for that one! While on the subject of Beethoven my favorite recording of Beethoven's 4th piano concerto is Leon Fleischer's 1959 with George Szell and the Cleveland orchestra. Below find the list I referenced.

    1.Sviatoslav Richter
    2.Vladimir Horowitz
    3.Sergei Rachmaninoff
    4.Emil Gilels
    5.Artur Schnabel
    6.Josef Hoffman
    7.Vladimir Ashkenazy
    8.Alfred Brendel
    9.Arturo Benedetti Michelangelli
    10.Glenn Gould
    In the end one should enjoy all of the greats in one work or other. My personal favorite? Horowitz! However, I listened to a crackly ancient vinyl of Paderewski playing his own composition and was stunned by his awesomeness!
  3. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    09 Feb '13 02:10 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by scacchipazzo
    The gold standard is Rubinstein, but before him Paderewski was. However, many consider Glen Gould superior or Sviatoslav Richter or flip back and forth and knock Gould down a bit or elevate another. Let's not forget that Sergei Rachmaninoff was also alive in the 20th century and probably better than Rubinstein. Schnabel was the master of the German repe ent vinyl of Paderewski playing his own composition and was stunned by his awesomeness!
    Well I certainly agree with you about Alicia De larrocha, I have several of her CD's. Such little hands to make such awesome sounds! She is a jewel for sure.

    I didn't hear about Perahaia's hand accident. What happened and did he recover? I always thought Ashkenazy was way up there too. I'll have to look up Brendel and Michelangelli. In your list are you putting Richter a notch about Horowitz?

    Ah, I googed Parahia and read about his troubles with his hands, several episodes. That has to suck. A virtuoso unable to play for years.
  4. 09 Feb '13 02:39 / 1 edit
    The list is not mine, but the Piano World list. I don't agree Richter is above Horowitz, but as these lists go, they are highly subjective by necessity since piano playing can never be quantified. Some pianists have a flash of brilliance at the right moment such as Van Cliburn did and milk it for a lifetime. I have listened to recordings of all of these greats and some I like and some I don't care for all that much. No doubt Ashkenazy is deserving of being on that list as is Alfred Brendel. To leave out Arrau and Rubinstein is a sin all its own. Where one can see the artistry best is in comparing a technically brilliant kid to a seasoned master. The poetry is rarely there in the youngster. Compare the following clips. Evan Ritter is a gifted friend of my son who dropped out of the arts high school to concentrate on piano. He is amazing, but...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VN4KFYChQg4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aaz8ZtJrSk

    Not trying to be unfair to the kid. He'll get there, just not yet!

    de Larrocha indeed was amazing! Some of those pieces are diabolically difficult. Especially Granados'!

    IN the end different pianists do things better than others. I like Lisista's treatment of the late Beethoven sonatas, but Kissin does those well, too.

    Saddest case of all was a Van Cliburn winner of the late 80's, Alexei Sultanov. He suffered a stroke in 1995, then another one leaving him hemiparetic in 2001. He then suffered another stroke and died in 2005. He was 35!
  5. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    09 Feb '13 13:33 / 6 edits
    Originally posted by scacchipazzo
    The list is not mine, but the Piano World list. I don't agree Richter is above Horowitz, but as these lists go, they are highly subjective by necessity since piano playing can never be quantified. Some pianists have a flash of brilliance at the right moment such as Van Cliburn did and milk it for a lifetime. I have listened to recordings of all of thes ving him hemiparetic in 2001. He then suffered another stroke and died in 2005. He was 35!
    Not really fair comparing that kid to Ruby! Rubinstein's subtle use of rubato is amazing for sure, like millisecond by millisecond mastery and the kid mainly learning the main notes and will for sure learn dynamics and rubato as time goes on.

    I found this Larrocha piece, Triana, Albeniz:

    Just WOW!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtOa390LUG8

    Here she is playing Asturias:

    I want to compare the piano version to the great guitar virtuoso Segovia:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhhmGmD_Eec

    And Segovia:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-2ZalhVKiM

    Two master level performances, eh!

    Segovia, Danza in G, Granados:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBOqnSvVlI8

    Dang, can't find a version of that by De Larrocha. Can you find one?

    I found this one by her, Goyescas book 1 h. 64: Granados was an incredible composer!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ob2LDv-LvnI

    Is the opera available?
  6. 09 Feb '13 15:22
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    Not really fair comparing that kid to Ruby! Rubinstein's subtle use of rubato is amazing for sure, like millisecond by millisecond mastery and the kid mainly learning the main notes and will for sure learn dynamics and rubato as time goes on.

    I found this Larrocha piece, Triana, Albeniz:

    Just WOW!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtOa390LUG8

    Here ...[text shortened]... incredible composer!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ob2LDv-LvnI

    Is the opera available?
    I looked and could not find one nor the opera. Asturias is an amazing piece indeed and originally written for piano and not guitar. Segovia popularized it for guitar, but I don't think he wrote the transcription. The opera is likely not available because it is so dang hard to sing and stage. Granados was planning a lengthy opera of Wagnerian breadth based on the Arturian legend and gave up when he realized his skills were not up to the task. Granados died during WW I after being torpedoed by Germans on way back to Europe after succesful premiere of his opera. He was in a lifeboat when he saw his dearest wife Amparo in the water and tried to rescue her. Both drowned. A real tragedy indeed for Granados might have returned to the task of writing his monumental opera project and with greater or more mature skills might have effectively tackled the vexing problem. IN this regard Wagner excelled. He'd write the germinal idea, then the libretto, set it aside if his skills were not up to the task and return to it years later.The first sketches for Parsifal date back to 1848! Finished 1883!

    Of course it's an unfair comparison, but clearly shows how much evolution is required to reach the level of a Rubinstein even when the technical skill is there. I suspect young Even Ritter will be able to.

    Did you know that a young Franz Liszt visited and played for Beethoven and Beethoven was so moved that he set aside his normal irascible self and planted a kiss on the forehead of the young budding master? I doubt the story is true for by then Beethoven was already stone deaf or getting close!
  7. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    09 Feb '13 15:59
    Originally posted by scacchipazzo
    I looked and could not find one nor the opera. Asturias is an amazing piece indeed and originally written for piano and not guitar. Segovia popularized it for guitar, but I don't think he wrote the transcription. The opera is likely not available because it is so dang hard to sing and stage. Granados was planning a lengthy opera of Wagnerian breadth bas ...[text shortened]... ter? I doubt the story is true for by then Beethoven was already stone deaf or getting close!
    Maybe if he was deaf, he could just watch Liszt's fingers move and see he was a virtuoso. A shame about Granados. Too bad there was nobody around to help him with his wife.
  8. 09 Feb '13 16:52
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    Maybe if he was deaf, he could just watch Liszt's fingers move and see he was a virtuoso. A shame about Granados. Too bad there was nobody around to help him with his wife.
    In those days not many people knew how to swim. The real tragedy is that had he and his wife not entered the lifeboat to begin with would have survived! Their half of the vessel was towed safely to port and all in that section of the ship survived.

    I used to date someone named Amparo and the name always intrigued my English speaking friends who had trouble wrapping their minds over a female name ending in "o" the same way as the Italian male names ending in "a" like Luca and Andrea.
  9. 11 Feb '13 23:20
    I was wrong and it was bugging me about the trilogy on an Arthurian legend. It was Albeniz, not Granados and he never finished it for the reasons I alluded to.