From his 1976 or 1977 last appearance in Iowa I attended :
Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus (Carnegie- sized) filled quickly; by 3:55 pm that Sunday the audience was completely seated,no usual late-comers,no stragglers,no "chatters", a palpable air of expectation. By 4:00 pm, the hall was nearly silent,tense, the expectation almost unbearable as the house lights went down. At 4:05 (?), a stage hand's yell shattered the silence and audience nerves, the stage door opened, and He strode out grinning. The house lights went up (!) ,surely at His command, and He went to the fronts of the stage, each side and middle, at least 1/2 way down front from the piano, and bowed and gestured and smiled glowingly to each audience section, then back to middle and looking up, shielding his eyes from the lights,gesturing to the balconies, all amidst thundering applause . Then to the piano. The lights remained up (!).
A brief moment to allow the audience to quiet, and then into the leaping figures of the Clementi Op.33 , # 3 C major Sonata. In the slow movement, a bel canto aria not bettered by Bellini or Donizetti, not a stir, nor rustle,nor cough ( not one), a transfixed audience. Recognizing the magic and audience's attention, He occasionally leans toward the audience to emphasize certain passages. A brief pause to allow audience coughs,and then the spirited finale, the audience spellbound. Thunderous applause again ; for this Iowa premiere of the Clementi.
Then, the magic of the Schumann "Arabasque", which all amateur pianists should try to play just to be able to do the last page. One senses Maestro is really at ease, truly enjoying himself.
Then, another Iowa premiere, the Scriabin 5th Sonata, the audience convinced because it is Horowitz advocating, the usual University - types feigning knowledge, some still present souls from the 60's swaying and reveling in the rhythms as if In Da Goda Davida were being played, a sole "bravo" at the conclusion ( probably a music Prof) letting the audience know the piece was concluded, then roar and more thunder as He is recalled 4 times.
After the pause, the Chopin Nocturne Op.72, the rare but welcome Chopin Op.16 Variations, 2 Mazurkas, and then ,audience in the palm of his hand, the Op.23 G minor Ballade, not the definitive, live 1968 "TV" rendering, but very good . The audience, on its feet, is rewarded with " Enticelles", and before the audience can rise again, He does not even rise from the piano bench, but rather leans toward the audience with right index finger raised, as " if you liked that,wait until you hear this", and we enter the "Traumeri". Reverential silence, many tears, then another standing ovation. I dont think He planned another encore, but after the reception to "Traumeri" , a Rachmaninoff Prelude (same as the later Moscow program, Op.32,# 12 I think). A few brief bows to a seated,exhausted audience, and ---- He is gone.
We exit to a cool October evening with the joys, and pain, of only memories.