*** 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
artistic 4.5/5, sound 3/5July 12, 2015By Donald W. (pelham, AL)See All My Reviews"I'm not writing from great knowledge, only took lessons for 3 years but I've been an avid record collector from Welte legends to Zimermann and have heard some of the greats in live concert. The first disc if recorded at Casals Hall must have been with empty hall and poor recording technique, because the sound is very muddy and difficult to make out at times. Sound with audience on the second disc is much better, but not as good as some Carnegie Hall recordings I own by Horowitz and Gilels. Horszowski's Bach and Mozart were expectedly very fine, but my real interest was in how his small hands would handle the Chopin pieces. The scherzo was a bit slow and didn't flow well, also hampered by terrible sound on disc 1. The other Chopin pieces were superbly done, and with better sound on the second disc he really brought the stuff to the F# and Db Nocturnes, showing the kind of tone, tempo and phrasing I'd expect from a great artist. Strongly recommended out of historical interest to fill a hole in one's collection as it did mine, and much preferred over the non-Welte player piano recordings of older greats. I also enjoy his Archduke Trio performance with Casals in good mono sound from the '50s, of course available here. I have long appreciated the great service Arkivmusic does in keeping these recordings around."Report Abuse