*** This title is a reissue of a Japanese release with liner notes in Japanese. ***
This double-CD set from RCA Japan (courtesy of Arkivmusic.com's on-demand reprint program) preserves what presumably is the best of Mieczyslaw Horszowski's December 9 and 11, 1987 Casals Hall Tokyo recitals, along with the encores from each date. Listen blindly and you'd guess that an older yet quite well preserved and highly experienced pianist was at work, someone between 60 or 75. Try the 95-years-young Horszowski, who's on top form.
True, he doesn't exactly sprint through the Chopin B minor Scherzo's outer sections as he did back in 1940, but he makes a virtue out of necessity by leisurely unfolding and consistentlyRead more sustaining the music's polyphonic interest. This also holds true for the C-sharp minor Polonaise. The A-flat Impromptu amounts to a bel canto masterclass, while Horszowski requires only dabs of pedal to project the Mozart K. 332 sonata's first movement to such texturally differentiated effect.
The Bach Fifth English Suite is full-bodied and virile yet sensitively delineated (the Prélude's effortlessly conversational flow between hands, each of the Passepied's bouncy, delightfully ambidextrous qualities). Perhaps the fountain of youth kicks in strongest with the two Villa-Lobos miniatures, served up with red-blooded élan. The encores abound with memorable moments. Horszowski plays the Op. 25 No. 2 Etude's opening statement as if he were kneading the triplet passagework into a seamless legato line, yet upon its reiteration he lightens the tone and mostly eschews the pedal.
Force and finesse are the yin and yang elements that anchor the three Nocturnes. The elusive yet palpable give and take of Horszowski's rubato in the B minor Op. 33 No. 4 Mazurka is easier for to you hear than for me to describe. Horszowski played Mendelssohn's Spinning Song on both concerts; the second version is more fluent and relaxed. He also repeated the Mozart sonata's Adagio, or, more accurately, sang it out in full operatic splendor. The slightly distant microphone placement accurately depicts Horszowski's tone from the perspective of an audience member sitting in the best seat of the house. Notes in Japanese only.
English Suite no 5 in E minor, BWV 810by Johann Sebastian Bach Performer:
Mieczyslaw Horszowski (Piano)
Period: Baroque Written: circa 1715; Weimar, Germany Date of Recording: 12/09/1987 Venue: Casals Hall, Ochanomizu, Tokyo
Sonata for Piano no 12 in F major, K 332 (300k)by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Performer:
Mieczyslaw Horszowski (Piano)
Period: Classical Written: 1781-1783; Vienna, Austria Date of Recording: 12/09/1987 Venue: Casals Hall, Ochanomizu, Tokyo
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