Today in Classical Music History

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ukranian-born American classical pianist and composer Vladimir Horowitz made his U.S. debut on January 12, 1928.

Horowitz first played in the States today 82 years ago at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Sir Thomas Beecham, according to The New York Times.

The piece? Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1.

The Times reporter who covered the event in 1928, Olin Downes, described Horowitz' reception as "the wildest welcome a pianist has received in many seasons in New York." His performance was "a whirlwind of virtuoso interpretation, amazing technique, irresistible youth, electrifying temperament."

"It has been years since a pianist created such a furor with an audience in this city," Downes wrote.

"The most important thing is to transform the piano from a percussive instrument into a singing instrument--a singing tone is made up of shadows and colors and contrast," Horowitz said of his style of play. "The secret lies mainly in contrasts."

Horowitz was in his mid-twenties when he first played Tchaikovsky in New York.  He recounted during a 1982 interview that he and Beecham had had different ideas regarding what the tempos of the piano concerto should have been for the piece.

Although he took a number of breaks in his career at the piano, Horowitz played up until his death in November of 1989. He often played concerts on his own personal piano, in the afternoons, and on Sundays.

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Comments [1]

Mark Schubin from New York

Today is also the 100th anniversary of the first live opera broadcast, Acts 2 & 3 of Tosca, transmitted from the Met, as noted by Naomi Lewin this afternoon.

Jan. 12 2010 07:58 PM

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