Mieczyslaw Horszowski

Beethoven, Mendelssohn: Piano Concertos

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With a performance career spanning some nine decades, pianist Mieczyslaw Horszowski should be much more of a household name than he currently is. From his concert debut at age 10 to his final recital in 1992, Horszowski's playing has always stood for musical integrity, attention to detail in the score, clarity of technique, and long, spun phrases. This collection of recently unearthed recordings is no different. It is perhaps fate that the disc should open with Beethoven's First Piano Concerto, the same work with which Horszowski made his debut performance. His playing here is magnificently controlled without a trace of the over romanticized aesthetic that plagued other recordings of this era. The overall sound quality of this recording is quite good; both orchestra and piano are clear with only the faintest hint of hiss in the background. Difficulties arise in the Mendelssohn A minor Concerto for Piano and Strings, where Horszowski must battle both a sub-par instrument as well as an orchestra that has some difficulty matching his stylistic approach and changes in tempo. Still, Horszowski's musicianship shines through and is certainly the focus of listeners' attention. The album concludes with short excerpts of Beethoven Op. 10 and Brahms Op. 119. Recorded in 1949, these much earlier recordings suffer the most from sound quality issues inherent in recordings from that period, yet listeners will still appreciate this heretofore unavailable glimpse at Horszowski's playing of Brahms.

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