“KING OF THE KINGS OF PIANISTS” VLADIMIR GOROVITS
The 20th century can be safely called the century of the great pianists: Paderevsky, Hoffmann, Rachmaninoff, Richter, Rubinstein, Kempff … The list goes on and on. But over all these geniuses, both for a simple lover and for a professional music historian, another name rises – Vladimir Horowitz.
It is he, and no one else, who is rightfully considered a symbol of pianism of the 20th century. He became an unsurpassed performer of contemporary Russian classical music, presenting the works of Sergei Prokofiev to the American public. This is recognized even by his detractors. You can not love Horowitz, but you can’t recognize his exclusivity.
A lot has been written about Horowitz. The style of his performance, called “Horovitsian”, critics considered “too pretentious.” He was called “the most unpredictable musician of our time”, “the genius of communication”, “an electric charge of 6000 volts”, “the king of pianists of all time.”
Vladimir Horowitz is represented in the world music encyclopedia as an American pianist, but the future virtuoso was born in Kiev on October 1, 1903. It was in Ukraine that he formed as a person, received a musical education. Articles and studies, pianist Vladimir Gorovitsk are usually devoted to his life and work after 1925, that is, after his move to Western Europe. Very little is known about the Kiev period. But the sources of the mastery of the great pianist are most interesting. After all, Horowitz is the representative of one of the most powerful performing schools in the history of pianism.
The first lessons that Vladimir received were given to him by his mother. However, when Vladimir was 12 years old, everyone, even himself, thought that the next composer was growing, but not a pianist who would turn the world upside down and stay on top for almost 70 years. In 1912, when Horowitz was 9 years old, he began studying at the Kiev Conservatory under Sergei Tarnovsky and Felix Blumenfield. Horowitz cannot be called self-taught, but at the same time, no masters could give him the skill that he received in the process of self-improvement. Vladimir discovered his unusual musical talent at the age of ten, when he memorized all Wagner’s works.
Lose and find
In 1917, the Horowitz family, quite wealthy, lost everything, including the piano. But Vladimir pianist Vladimir Horowitz continued to study at the conservatory, giving concerts in order to earn money for his own life and family. Two years later, Horowitz graduated from the conservatory, performing as the final work the Third Piano Concert of Rachmaninoff – an extremely complex and at the same time interesting work, which his fate will face more than once.
The first listeners of Horowitz were Kievites, as well as the Kharkov and Odessa public. And then he had fantastic success in Moscow and Leningrad. When Vladimir left Kiev forever, he was already a well-established pianist, and abroad he made a brilliant career. Horowitz’s first concert outside the Soviet Union took place in Berlin in 1926. In one year, he gave 69 concerts during a European tour, which earned him great popularity.
Concert without rehearsals
Funnily enough, his career in Europe began. The work that made him known to the general public is the famous First Tchaikovsky Concert. It happened like this: in Germany, in a hotel, pianist Vladimir Gorovitsovs, a completely unknown artist, was approached and offered to replace a woman – a soloist who suddenly felt bad. “Can you play in two hours?” Asked Vladimir. Horowitz agreed.
Without any rehearsal, the pianist came into the hall. The conductor was the venerable musician Eugene Pabst. They talked a little about the pace of performance, and the conductor, not really hoping for a good evening, simply asked the pianist to follow the orchestra. Success was frantic. A stunned audience applauded while standing …
Happiness and misfortune Horowitz
Vladimir and Wanda Horowitz wife Wanda
In 1933, Horowitz married the daughter of the world-famous conductor, Wanda Toscanini. Since then, the musician was accepted into the circle by the American aristocracy. By his order, a special piano was created, in his private art collection appeared paintings by Picasso and Degas, and many more things that a few could afford. He had everything … Except for his family.
Mother died shortly after his departure from the Soviet Union, and his father was sent to the Gulag as the father of the “enemy of the people.” His beloved sister Regina modestly taught music at the Kharkov Conservatory until the end of her life, although Vladimir recalled that she was an even better pianist than himself. Sad news from the homeland, and, in addition, the feeling that the superficial American public is not able to understand the intrinsic value of the music he played, caused Vladimir’s depression.
After the silver anniversary of 1953, Horowitz stopped concert activity for 12 years and made only a few records during this period. And his triumphant return took place on the stage of Carnegie Hall in 1965.