Release Date: 08/10/1989
Rca Victor Gold Seal
Catalog #: 6215
Spars Code: ADD Composer: Alexander Scriabin Performer: Vladimir Horowitz Number of Discs: 1
Recorded in: Stereo
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins.
From Byronic to OrgiasticDecember 16, 2011By T. Drake (South Euclid, OH)See All My Reviews"Vladimir Horowitz was a champion of Scriabin's music long before it became fashionable, or even semi-fashionable. Scriabin's music appeared on Horowitz's programs as early as the 1920s.
Horowitz's first issued Scriabin recordings were made at his 25th Anniversary Concert in 1953 (also his last public recital until his famous comeback in 1965). The B-flat minor, and C-sharp minor Etudes are given more turbulent performances than usual. There is a great deal brewing beneath the surface. At times, it seems like Horowitz is trying to burst past his own flesh. The desperate passion of his performance lends credence to the notion that he was approaching a nervous breakdown.
The sixteen Preludes were recorded in 1956. (Actually, eighteen Preludes were recorded at these sessions, but two were placed on another album.) Horowitz chose to program the Preludes in a canny sequence of contrasts and surprises building to a climax, rather than sequentially. The Preludes start in the Chopinesque mode, becoming Wagnerian and epic, before dissolving into atonality - - revealing the scope of Scriabin's development.
The Sonata No. 3, also from 1956, is given a broadly phrased, brooding, Byronic performance. The relaxed pacing of the first movement allows Horowitz to move through the various "soul states" without splintering the structure. Contrast the way Horowitz plays the second movement, using the pedal to skillfully blend harmonies, to the way Askhenazy unimaginatively plunks the piece out. (In this movement, Horowitz makes a small cut in the score which actually improves structural clarity.) The transition between the third movement (truly an example of a musical "calm before the storm") is handled with exceptional skill, and Horowitz makes the last movement exciting without over stressing compositional points. Througout the Preludes and Sonata, the balance and poise of the playing speak volumes about Horowitz's post-1953 recovery.
Horowitz played Scriabin's Fifth Sonata during the 1975-1976 season. In his 70s, the pianist sacrifices nothing to age in the most orgiastic performance of this sensual piece ever committed to disc. Scriabin was synesthetic (meaning that he could hear colors) and the musical colors in this piece border on the lurid. This is easily one of the finest recordings from the pianist's late period.
The popular Etude in D-sharp minor, Op. 8, No. 12, played as an encore at Horowitz's 1982 London concert, is given a performance which seduces before building to an explosive climax.
The sound varies, from a bit confined in the 1956 recordings (made in Horowitz's living room) to spacious in the stereo items."Report Abuse