Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Historical: Horowitz Live in London

This is Vladimir Horowitz's second-last recital in London, filmed live at the Royal Festival Hall in May 1982 (the last one was a week later. Thanks to my pianophile-in-chief consultant for the correction). He was not a well man by then, and apparently was on much medication, but the old magic is alive and well despite some slips; listen to the tone, the voicing, the variety of imagination, and a Polonaise-Fantaisie that certainly draws the tears from fanatics like me... And the way he plays the national anthem at the outset is a sliver of piano genius in itself, though this audience of 31 years ago stands to attention and doesn't applaud. (Prince Charles and co are in the royal box, not looking their most comfortable ever...).

The concert hall, which we see at the start, stands in grim concrete isolation in a lifeless area. It's a bit different today, happily.

The programme is:

Part I

01. God Save The Queen
02. Scarlatti Sonata in A flat major K127
03. Scarlatti Sonata in F minor K466
04. Scarlatti Sonata in F minor K184
05. Scarlatti Sonata in A major K101
06. Scarlatti Sonata in B minor K87
07. Scarlatti Sonata in E major K135
08. Chopin Polonaise-Fantaisie Op.61
09. Chopin Ballade No.1 Op.23
10. Horowitz talks about himself

Part II

01. Schumann Kinderszenen Op.15
02. Rachmaninov Piano Sonata No.2 Op.36
03. Chopin Waltz Op.69-1
04. Rachmaninov Polka de W.R.
05. Scriabin Etude Op.8-12