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Vladimir Horowitz At Carnegie Hall: The Private Collection - Mussorgsky & Liszt

Release Date: 06/30/2009 
Label:  Rca Victor Red Seal Catalog #: 749925   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Modest MussorgskyFranz Liszt
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 0 Hours 56 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

In 1988, Vladimir Horowitz donated to Yale University a treasure trove of original recordings composed of Carnegie Hall concerts and performances he gave during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. Until now these recordings have never before been available to the public. Perhaps the mightiest and most influential of all pianists of the twentieth century, Vladimir Horowitz left the world a matchless catalog of recordings – a Masterworks legacy that is renewed with this first release from the Yale archive recordings. They capture Horowitz in his golden prime, playing his signature repertoire live in concert at Carnegie Hall, where he celebrated the milestones in his storied career.

Horowitz employed an engineer to make 78-rpm recordings of
Read more his Carnegie Hall concerts in this period, and he used them to review and judge his performances. Most of these mono recordings were originally contained on 12 and 16-inch acetate discs. They have been impeccably mastered, with the sound restored, from new transfers made in the Yale archives. Significant press accompanied the original announcement of the donation of these recordings to Yale, where Horowitz performed often through the years and was an assistant fellow of Silliman College. The first Private Collection release features Horowitz in thrilling performances of a pair of thundering keyboard epics from the Romantic age – Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and Liszt's Sonata in B Minor. Two more Private Collection releases are scheduled to follow in the fall and early 2010.

Also available: Volume 2 - Vladimir Horowitz At Carnegie Hall - The Private Collection - Music of Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, and Balakirev
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Works on This Recording

Pictures at an Exhibition for Piano by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Russia 
Date of Recording: 04/02/1948 
Venue:  Live  Carnegie Hall, New York, N.Y. 
Length: 26 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Sonata for Piano in B minor, S 178 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1852-1853; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 03/21/1949 
Venue:  Live  Carnegie Hall, New York, N.Y. 
Length: 27 Minutes 25 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Pictures at an Exhibition (Mussorgsky): VII. No 4: Bydlo
Pictures at an Exhibition (Mussorgsky): XII. No 7: Limoges, le marché

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Outstanding even by Horowitz's high standards December 16, 2011 By T. Drake (South Euclid, OH) See All My Reviews "Sony has dipped into the archives at Yale University for this first ever release of performances by Vladimir Horowitz at the height of his powers.

Horowitz was well known for his transcriptions of such works as Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies and Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever. But he faced criticism when he altered significant portions of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition - which was and remains far better known in Ravel's transcription for orchestra. Truth be told, Mussorgsky's original version is one of the most poorly written pieces - in terms of writing for the instrument, not musical ideas - in the piano repertoire. Before Horowitz, few pianists even bothered playing it at all. Those that did often made alterations, such as Moiseiwitsch in 1945. But it took someone with the guts and imagination of Horowitz to undertake a wholesale rewriting of the piece - which angered a lot of purists. In fact, Horowitz's changes are far more subtle than the firecracker like passageworks he afforded in his other arrangements.

Previous to this release, there were two issued recordings of Horowitz playing his arrangement of Pictures. The studio recording, from 1947, and a live Carnegie Hall performance, from 1951. Most reviewers have tended to prefer the 1951 recording, which has some incendiary passagework in The Hut on Fowl's Legs. I've been partial to the 1947 performance, which comes across as more of a single piece, rather than sectionalized. (Unfortunately, the 1947 recording has suffered from particularly poor remastering in BMG's Gold Seal Horowitz reissue.) The performance released here, from April 2, 1948, is more along the lines of the 1947 recording - although Horowitz, no doubt under the "battle-conditions" of live performance, does push tempo and articulation to extremes at times. Each Picture leads as part of the whole to the inevitable climax of the Great Gate of Kiev (appropriately, Kiev is the town where Horowitz grew up).

The 1949 recording of Liszt's Sonata in B Minor is another matter entirely - this performance is like nothing you've ever heard. Neither the cheetah like sprint of Horowitz's famed 1932 recording nor the labored grandiloquence of his 1977 remake can compare with this overwhelmingly incendiary performance. There will no doubt be controversy here, as Horowitz cuts 22 bars from the central Recitativo section of the work - but this performance must be heard.

The sound has been excellently restored by Jon Samuels. A few quibbles: At under 60 minutes, this disc is not well filled - and with the huge cache of unreleased material in Sony/BMG's vaults, there is no excuse. There was room for Horowitz's versions of Liszt's St Francis Walking on the Water and Balakirev's Islamey, also recorded at these concerts. And this CD, like many of Sony's new releases, is packaged in cheap paperboard - so handle with care.
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