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Bach, Chopin, Beethoven / Mieczyslaw Horszowski


Release Date: 06/25/1991 
Label:  Nonesuch   Catalog #: 79232   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian BachFrédéric ChopinLudwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Mieczyslaw Horszowski
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 49 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Horszowski's playing hovers, godlike, above all the talk, talk, talk, about authenticity, style, and technique. His Bach is the antithesis of the current slant on proper interpretation; it is too slow, overly expressive, and played on the wrong instrument. Yet this is the first time I have heard the emotional link between Bach's secular and sacred music laid so bare. The man cuts to the core of what the music is all about. The Beethoven glistens with subtle wisdom, and the Chopin is beauty itself. This is the third Nonesuch release of Horszowski's recent recital rounds, and hopefully not the last; the artist celebrated his ninety-ninth birthday this June.

-- Peter Burwasser, FANFARE [Want List, 1991]
Horszowski's playing hovers, godlike, above all the talk, talk, talk, about authenticity, style, and technique. His Bach is the antithesis of the current slant on proper interpretation; it is too slow, overly expressive, and played on the wrong instrument. Yet this is the first time I have heard the emotional link between Bach's secular and sacred music laid so bare. The man cuts to the core of what the music is all about. The Beethoven glistens with subtle wisdom, and the Chopin is beauty itself. This is the third Nonesuch release of Horszowski's recent recital rounds, and hopefully not the last; the artist celebrated his ninety-ninth birthday this June.

-- Peter Burwasser, FANFARE [Want List, 1991] Read less

Works on This Recording

1. English Suite no 5 in E minor, BWV 810 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Mieczyslaw Horszowski (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1715; Weimar, Germany 
2. Nocturnes (3) for Piano, B 54/Op. 9: no 2 in E flat major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Mieczyslaw Horszowski (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830-1831; Poland 
3. Nocturnes (2) for Piano, B 106/Op. 32: no 1 in B major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Mieczyslaw Horszowski (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836-1837; Paris, France 
4. Sonata for Piano no 6 in F major, Op. 10 no 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Mieczyslaw Horszowski (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1796-1797; Vienna, Austria 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Musical Colors December 16, 2011 By T. Drake (South Euclid, OH) See All My Reviews "Mieczyslaw Horszowski lived to the age of 101 and enjoyed the longest career in the history of the performing arts. He never achieved, or aspired to, the notoriety of his friends Arthur Rubinstein and Vladimir Horowitz. But in his last decade, he became something of a cult figure, his performances and recordings sought out by those curious about this last link to the Golden Age of Piano Playing, and those simply wondering whether someone so elderly could still move his fingers.

As record producer Max Wilcox wrote, "the fact that his body is old is beside the point." Wilcox, who worked with Rubinstein, signed Horszowski to the Nonesuch label in the mid-1980s, and together they made four fine recordings. This one, from 1989, is the third of those four.

Horszowski plays Bach unapologetically on the piano and makes no attempt (ALA Glenn Gould) to make the instrument sound like a quasi-harpsichord. When appropriate, he uses a bit of pedal, and employs dynamics, and rubato. After hearing him play this piece live, in 1990, my piano teacher (who was a pupil of Schnabel) remarked, "he plays Bach in a way that would be considered old-fashioned, but it's very beautiful." It's truly a pity that Horszowski never recorded the Goldberg Variations.

Horszowski's Chopin is ravishing, as befits a fellow Pole--whose mother studied with Karl Mikuli, himself a pupil of Chopin. Sometimes referred to as a Romantic pianist, Horszowski is Classically oriented in all respects save two: his way of phrasing a group of notes as a singer would, and his de-emphasis of the bar line. His tempo in the popular E-flat Nocturne is a bit faster than usually heard--but matches Chopin's metronome marking.

Horszowski refuses to make Beethoven's Op. 10, No. 2 Sonata weightier than it is, but simply plays is as music. In his witty, quietly virtuosic way, he captures the spirit of the music better than many Beethoven "specialists."

Recorded at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music, where Horszowski taught for fifty years, the sound is clear, spacious, and natural. "
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