Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:


Piano Concerto No. 3 [43.15]
Piano Sonata No. 2 [22.01]
Vladimir Horowitz (piano)
New York PO/Eugene Ormandy
Concerto rec 8 Jan 1978 Carnegie Hall
Sonata rec April/May 1980 Carnegie Hall
RCA RED SEAL 09026 63681-2 [65.36]

A big and bold sound from this disc conspires with the music to make the effect extremely assertive. Depending on your taste that power is also the vulnerability of the recording. It is so upfront that it can be tiring.

In 1978 Horowitz had returned to the NYPO for the concert that celebrated his Fiftieth Anniversary. The broadcast was carried live in many countries including the UK and I taped it then. Horowitz accents and adds emphasis like the consummate magus he was (he died in 1989). He can play quietly but such is his approach (accentuated by the miking) that even the quiet playing is quite forward. The piano work, while phenomenal, lacks the vusceral panache of Argerich (Philips). The technical deftness and the emotional presence of Earl Wild (Chandos Enchant and Chesky) is not matched and yet there remains a sense of confident mastery that impresses mightily. Interpretatively speaking, Horowitz does not trounce his own earlier recordings with Coates and Reiner but with those you have to labour with far from ideal sound.

Horowitz's version of the Second Sonata has all the grandeur and sweep you could ask for. I have the impression that Horowitz was in even better pianistic form for the Sonata than for the concerto.

Very full documentation.

Rob Barnett

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