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Rachmaninoff/Horowitz question
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Bozo
2019-08-13 13:22:31 UTC
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A radio broadcast states Rachmaninoff played his second Suite for 2-Pianos,Op.17,publically only once, with Horowitz in California. Does any recording exist ? I'll search further as well.
Hank Drake
2019-08-13 13:32:36 UTC
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Post by Bozo
A radio broadcast states Rachmaninoff played his second Suite for 2-Pianos,Op.17,publically only once, with Horowitz in California. Does any recording exist ? I'll search further as well.
Sadly, no recordings exist. The concert was actually a private gathering at Rachmaninoff's home in Beverly Hills. Rachmaninoff wanted to record the work with Horowitz (as well as the two-piano version of the Symphonic Dances) but RCA declined.

Hank
JohnGavin
2019-08-13 13:39:28 UTC
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Here’s some compensation:



JohnGavin
2019-08-13 13:54:45 UTC
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The premiere of the symphonic dances was also given in its 2-piano version with the composer and Horowitz in California-hence this rare recording of Rachmaninoff playing it alone is it kind of a distant compensation.
vhorowitz
2019-08-13 14:47:49 UTC
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Some compensation? Wow, the guy posts Marston’s work and then touts his “improvements” and asks for paypal donations? Pretty cheeky. At least he makes no bones about his original source, unlike the last youtube “author” to purloin this and pass it off as his discovery.
weary flake
2019-08-14 07:44:41 UTC
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Post by vhorowitz
Some compensation? Wow, the guy posts Marston’s work and then touts his
“improvements” and asks for paypal donations? Pretty cheeky. At least
he makes no bones about his original source, unlike the last youtube
“author” to purloin this and pass it off as his discovery.
His says that the noise reduction he imposes is an improvement.
The "improvemnt" is fuzzy distorted sound.

Another noise reduction "improvement" is his post of Rachmaninoff
playing Chopin's third ballade:



In this case it is cascaded noise reduction. First there's the
heavy noise reduction applied to Marston's work by Sony/RCA,
then furthur heavy noise reduction applied by "Classical Masterpieces"
to produce a sludge of EQ'ed fuzzy distorted sound: a libel on
Rachmaninoff and a libel on Marston, and a demonstration of bad sound as
entirely the result of processing.
vhorowitz
2019-08-14 11:27:44 UTC
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Yes (regarding those audio “improvements”), to quote Peter Schickele: “hats back on, gentlemen: an Idiot!”
weary flake
2019-08-14 17:34:53 UTC
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Post by vhorowitz
“hats back on, gentlemen: an Idiot!”
The idiot is the software companies who think they can
write programs that can determine the difference between
music and noise, but their software can't tell the difference
between music and an ant-hill.
vhorowitz
2019-08-15 03:35:58 UTC
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Even the “best” software can be mis-used to ruin things, when used over-zealously.
francis
2019-08-14 00:56:48 UTC
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Post by JohnGavin
http://youtu.be/YK2pRbUVzJg
Maybe buy a copy from Marston Records, which went to considerable time, trouble and expense to bring this astonishing document to the public? (Rather than accessing this unauthorized bootleg?)
Bozo
2019-08-13 15:07:24 UTC
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Rachmaninoff wanted to record the work with Horowitz (as well as the two-piano version of the Symphonic >Dances) but RCA declined.
Thanks ! And egads !
Hank Drake
2019-08-13 16:24:58 UTC
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Post by Bozo
Rachmaninoff wanted to record the work with Horowitz (as well as the two-piano version of the Symphonic >Dances) but RCA declined.
Thanks ! And egads !
Charles O'Connell, who was RCA Victor's director of artists and repertoire during the 1930s-1940s, has gained infamy for some of his decisions around which repertoire and performers to record. He was said to regard Rachmaninoff with admiration and affection, but he refused Rachmaninoff's request that RCA record him in Beethoven's Op. 111 and the Liszt Sonata. My piano professor heard Rachmaninoff in Op. 111 and told me it was "overwhelming", and Shura Cherkassky called Rachmaninoff's interpretation of the Liszt Sonata as "the mightiest of all." If only we could hear them!

Hank
francis
2019-08-14 01:27:08 UTC
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Post by Hank Drake
Post by Bozo
Rachmaninoff wanted to record the work with Horowitz (as well as the two-piano version of the Symphonic >Dances) but RCA declined.
Thanks ! And egads !
Charles O'Connell, who was RCA Victor's director of artists and repertoire during the 1930s-1940s, has gained infamy for some of his decisions around which repertoire and performers to record. He was said to regard Rachmaninoff with admiration and affection, but he refused Rachmaninoff's request that RCA record him in Beethoven's Op. 111 and the Liszt Sonata. My piano professor heard Rachmaninoff in Op. 111 and told me it was "overwhelming", and Shura Cherkassky called Rachmaninoff's interpretation of the Liszt Sonata as "the mightiest of all." If only we could hear them!
Hank
Hank, This post and your earlier comment about Rachmaninoff proposing to record the Second Suite and Symphonic Dances with Horowitz are substantially incorrect. First the 2-piano repertory: you are correct that Horowitz and Rachmaninoff played two private concerts in the home high up on Tower Road the Rachmaninoffs rented from the silent film star Eleanor Bordman in June 1942. At one of those, Sergei Bertensson (co-author of what remains the most authoritative biography, A Lifetime in Music) and Abram Chasins both reported that during the applause and verbal exclamations "someone" opined "they should record this". That anonymous comment has morphed though mythology and myth-making into Rachmaninoff's wanting to make records with Horowitz for RCA--something that wouldn't have been possible at the time due to Union boss James Caesar Columbo's recording ban. (Rachmaninoff and Horowitz were both members of AFM--albeit honorary ones.) But even if it weren't for the ban, Rachmaninoff's health was already an issue and he was husbanding his strength to earn as much/as quickly as he could ready cash. (A huge chunk of his capital was tied up in his Swizz estate, inaccessible due to the war.) That meant concerts and recitals. So far as Op 111 and the Liszt Sonata are concerned, poor O'Connell* has been dealt a bum rap--in part by me 46 years ago in the essay accompanying RCA's The Complete Rachmaninoff. It was O'Connell, not Rachmaninoff who proposed recording live recital programs and Rachmaninoff, or rather his manager--the eminence gris Charles Foley--who said no. Since Op 111 was in Rachmaninoff's recital repertory in the early 40s, there is a reasonable chance it would have been recorded in such an endeavor. The Liszt Sonata story is a new one to me and implausible on its face--the Sonata was last in his active repertory in the mid-1920s, at a time when the recording industry was just starting to deal with extended works like that. I've reviewed all of the extant correspondence between SVR and Victor and the Liszt Sonata is nowhere mentioned, although the "Dante" Sonata, a work he played frequently in several seasons is. (*Although O'Connell is blameless in these matters, he does still have a lot to answer for in other never-made Rachmaninoff recordings--but as conductor, not pianist. A story for another day.) FC 8/13/2019
Mr. Mike
2019-08-14 12:36:19 UTC
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Post by francis
That anonymous comment has morphed though mythology and myth-making into Rachmaninoff's wanting to make records with Horowitz for RCA--something that wouldn't have been possible at the time due to Union boss James Caesar Columbo's recording ban
I think you mean James Caesar Petrillo...
francis
2019-08-16 18:59:56 UTC
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Post by Mr. Mike
Post by francis
That anonymous comment has morphed though mythology and myth-making into Rachmaninoff's wanting to make records with Horowitz for RCA--something that wouldn't have been possible at the time due to Union boss James Caesar Columbo's recording ban
I think you mean James Caesar Petrillo...
Of course, Petrillo. Thank you.
Hank Drake
2019-08-14 13:20:19 UTC
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Post by francis
Hank, This post and your earlier comment about Rachmaninoff proposing to record the Second Suite and Symphonic Dances with Horowitz are substantially incorrect. First the 2-piano repertory: you are correct that Horowitz and Rachmaninoff played two private concerts in the home high up on Tower Road the Rachmaninoffs rented from the silent film star Eleanor Bordman in June 1942. At one of those, Sergei Bertensson (co-author of what remains the most authoritative biography, A Lifetime in Music) and Abram Chasins both reported that during the applause and verbal exclamations "someone" opined "they should record this". That anonymous comment has morphed though mythology and myth-making into Rachmaninoff's wanting to make records with Horowitz for RCA--something that wouldn't have been possible at the time due to Union boss James Caesar Columbo's recording ban. (Rachmaninoff and Horowitz were both members of AFM--albeit honorary ones.) But even if it weren't for the ban, Rachmaninoff's health was already an issue and he was husbanding his strength to earn as much/as quickly as he could ready cash. (A huge chunk of his capital was tied up in his Swizz estate, inaccessible due to the war.) That meant concerts and recitals. So far as Op 111 and the Liszt Sonata are concerned, poor O'Connell* has been dealt a bum rap--in part by me 46 years ago in the essay accompanying RCA's The Complete Rachmaninoff. It was O'Connell, not Rachmaninoff who proposed recording live recital programs and Rachmaninoff, or rather his manager--the eminence gris Charles Foley--who said no. Since Op 111 was in Rachmaninoff's recital repertory in the early 40s, there is a reasonable chance it would have been recorded in such an endeavor. The Liszt Sonata story is a new one to me and implausible on its face--the Sonata was last in his active repertory in the mid-1920s, at a time when the recording industry was just starting to deal with extended works like that. I've reviewed all of the extant correspondence between SVR and Victor and the Liszt Sonata is nowhere mentioned, although the "Dante" Sonata, a work he played frequently in several seasons is. (*Although O'Connell is blameless in these matters, he does still have a lot to answer for in other never-made Rachmaninoff recordings--but as conductor, not pianist. A story for another day.) FC 8/13/2019
Thank you for the detailed correction, Francis. It's an example of how an extended game of telephone tag can result in a legend that is substantially false.

Hank
LarryLap
2019-08-15 14:54:54 UTC
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Post by francis
Post by Hank Drake
Post by Bozo
Rachmaninoff wanted to record the work with Horowitz (as well as the two-piano version of the Symphonic >Dances) but RCA declined.
Thanks ! And egads !
Charles O'Connell, who was RCA Victor's director of artists and repertoire during the 1930s-1940s, has gained infamy for some of his decisions around which repertoire and performers to record. He was said to regard Rachmaninoff with admiration and affection, but he refused Rachmaninoff's request that RCA record him in Beethoven's Op. 111 and the Liszt Sonata. My piano professor heard Rachmaninoff in Op. 111 and told me it was "overwhelming", and Shura Cherkassky called Rachmaninoff's interpretation of the Liszt Sonata as "the mightiest of all." If only we could hear them!
Hank
Hank, This post and your earlier comment about Rachmaninoff proposing to record the Second Suite and Symphonic Dances with Horowitz are substantially incorrect. First the 2-piano repertory: you are correct that Horowitz and Rachmaninoff played two private concerts in the home high up on Tower Road the Rachmaninoffs rented from the silent film star Eleanor Bordman in June 1942. At one of those, Sergei Bertensson (co-author of what remains the most authoritative biography, A Lifetime in Music) and Abram Chasins both reported that during the applause and verbal exclamations "someone" opined "they should record this". That anonymous comment has morphed though mythology and myth-making into Rachmaninoff's wanting to make records with Horowitz for RCA--something that wouldn't have been possible at the time due to Union boss James Caesar Columbo's recording ban. (Rachmaninoff and Horowitz were both members of AFM--albeit honorary ones.) But even if it weren't for the ban, Rachmaninoff's health was already an issue and he was husbanding his strength to earn as much/as quickly as he could ready cash. (A huge chunk of his capital was tied up in his Swizz estate, inaccessible due to the war.) That meant concerts and recitals. So far as Op 111 and the Liszt Sonata are concerned, poor O'Connell* has been dealt a bum rap--in part by me 46 years ago in the essay accompanying RCA's The Complete Rachmaninoff. It was O'Connell, not Rachmaninoff who proposed recording live recital programs and Rachmaninoff, or rather his manager--the eminence gris Charles Foley--who said no. Since Op 111 was in Rachmaninoff's recital repertory in the early 40s, there is a reasonable chance it would have been recorded in such an endeavor. The Liszt Sonata story is a new one to me and implausible on its face--the Sonata was last in his active repertory in the mid-1920s, at a time when the recording industry was just starting to deal with extended works like that. I've reviewed all of the extant correspondence between SVR and Victor and the Liszt Sonata is nowhere mentioned, although the "Dante" Sonata, a work he played frequently in several seasons is. (*Although O'Connell is blameless in these matters, he does still have a lot to answer for in other never-made Rachmaninoff recordings--but as conductor, not pianist. A story for another day.) FC 8/13/2019
It is a wearisome burden to travel through life bearing feelings of loathing and contempt for someone, without ever being able to express them to the individual in question, much less verifying their correctness. I thank you in all sincerity for lifting this burden from my shoulders as regards Charles O'Connell, whom I have regarded for decades as one of the blackest villains in the history of music for turning away Rachmaninoff's offer to record his entire repertoire. Apart from the stature and erudition you bring to the matter, the explanation you offer has the ring of plain truth. I feel indescribably lighter!
collector78
2019-08-16 17:19:16 UTC
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Mr Cottle is in the possession of Horowitz and Gradova playing an unspecified Rachmaninoff Suite (probably No 2)

No word yet on if he will ever allow anyone to hear it or release commercially

Very sad indeed
francis
2019-08-16 18:53:39 UTC
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Post by collector78
Mr Cottle is in the possession of Horowitz and Gradova playing an unspecified Rachmaninoff Suite (probably No 2)
No word yet on if he will ever allow anyone to hear it or release commercially
Very sad indeed
This story has been around for decades, since before Horowitz died, in fact. My own experience in following up rumors like this one since the late 1960s, the balance of probability is that this a hoax. The strongest evidence is that if such a recording existed Horowitz and his entourage would have moved heaven and earth for it to surface, or at least to have its existence proven. His connection to Rachmaninoff was something of which he was justly proud and occasionally exaggerated. Also, Mr. Cottle's book about his mother doesn't mention such a recording.
O
2019-08-17 00:35:48 UTC
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To lighten the proceedings a little bit, you might enjoy the following
article and YouTube link about Rachmaninoff and Horowitz meeting Walt
Disney:

<https://beccamusic.blogspot.com/2013/12/when-rachmaninov-met-walt-disne
y.html?m=1&fbclid=IwAR306AYFE-kOXRK8XNIb4rgQNgXqD9FUCpSsHHrqoXSMoNpYosuz
B0S_8uA>

Smaller link: https://tinyurl.com/yxjzzfb8

I really like the self playing piano.

-Owen
francis
2019-08-17 19:13:55 UTC
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Post by O
To lighten the proceedings a little bit, you might enjoy the following
article and YouTube link about Rachmaninoff and Horowitz meeting Walt
<https://beccamusic.blogspot.com/2013/12/when-rachmaninov-met-walt-disne
y.html?m=1&fbclid=IwAR306AYFE-kOXRK8XNIb4rgQNgXqD9FUCpSsHHrqoXSMoNpYosuz
B0S_8uA>
Smaller link: https://tinyurl.com/yxjzzfb8
I really like the self playing piano
-Owen
Rachmaninoff and Horowitz met Disney at the premiere of a feature film produced by Boris Morros (who later claimed to have been a double agent) Tales of Manhattan. They were invited to tour the studio and to see a private showing double feature: the aforesaid Mickey Mouse cartoon playing the Prelude in C-sharp Minor and the about to be released feature film Dumbo. That viewing of Mickey Mouse cartoon prompted the famous comment of the composer spoken directly to Disney.
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