Vladimir Horowitz

Horowitz in Hamburg: The Last Concert

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Horowitz in Hamburg: The Last Concert Review

by James Leonard

Incredibly, the last public recital given by Vladimir Horowitz, the pianist many critics call the greatest of the twentieth century, was recorded but never released. North German Radio recorded Horowitz's June 21, 1987, recital in Hamburg's Musikhalle, but the recording remained nearly untouched until Deutsche Grammophon released it in 2008. For dedicated Horowitz fans, this will be all they need to know. For everyone else, a word of explanation is in order.

Eighty three years old and increasingly frail, this Horowitz is not the thundering virtuoso of earlier years. Altogether gone is the heaven-storming pianist of his youth, but still present is the supreme artist of his maturity. Though the pieces here are for the most part much less demanding than those the younger pianist would have chosen, the choices of Mozart, Schubert, and especially Schumann were perfect for the mature artist. There is a crystalline elegance in the Andante cantabile from Mozart's B flat major Sonata, K. 333, a lyrical grace in the Allegretto moderato from Schubert's Moments musical, and a wise poetry in "Der Dichter spricht" from Schumann's Kinderszenen that bespeaks the insights of age. Unfortunately, the infirmities of age are also apparent in Horowitz's performance of Chopin's A flat major Polonaise. His technique clearly unequal to the task, he smashes and bashes the work with reckless abandon. Captured in colorful but slightly recessed sound, Horowitz's last recital should be heard by anyone who ever enjoyed the master's work. How often they return to it is entirely up to him/her.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Vladimir Horowitz 06:40 Amazon
Piano Sonata No. 13 in B flat major, K. 333 (K. 315c)
2 Vladimir Horowitz 07:48 Amazon
3 Vladimir Horowitz 10:06 Amazon
4 Vladimir Horowitz 06:40 Amazon
5 Vladimir Horowitz 07:42 Amazon
Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood) for piano, Op. 15
6 Vladimir Horowitz 01:27 Amazon
7 Vladimir Horowitz 01:06 Amazon
8 Vladimir Horowitz 00:33 Amazon
9 Vladimir Horowitz 00:52 Amazon
10 Vladimir Horowitz 00:45 Amazon
11 Vladimir Horowitz 00:51 Amazon
12 Vladimir Horowitz 02:29 Amazon
13 Vladimir Horowitz 01:21 Amazon
14 Vladimir Horowitz 00:40 Amazon
15 Vladimir Horowitz 01:31 Amazon
16 Vladimir Horowitz 01:38 Amazon
17 Vladimir Horowitz 01:46 Amazon
18 Vladimir Horowitz 02:27 Amazon
19 Vladimir Horowitz 04:48 Amazon
20 Vladimir Horowitz 07:33 Amazon
21 Vladimir Horowitz 02:14 Amazon
22 Vladimir Horowitz 02:31 Amazon
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