Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Historical: Horowitz plays the Chopin Barcarolle



Recorded live at Carnegie Hall on 26 November 1967, this is the kind of performance that proves that it ain't what you've got, it's what you do with it. Vladimir Horowitz had an extraordinary technique, but infinitely more vital than that was the brainpower, the imagination, behind it. That is the seat of true artistry, and to concentrate on the technical side of Horowitz is simply to miss the point: the vital spark was his capacity to reimagine the works he performed and take them to places - yet musically sincere ones, faithful to the composer - of which others can barely dream. As Martha Argerich said when I had my (one and only) interview with her: before you can make that sound, you must be able to imagine it. To that end, I've chosen today his live performance in 1967 of that masterpiece of abstract poetry, the Chopin Barcarolle.