Discussion:
The Horowitz sound
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Jiyang Chen
2004-09-19 17:59:37 UTC
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Reading his biography, it seems to me that the sound he makes is unique
and is the first time listeners have experienced this type of playing.

Hearing his recordings, I could hear things he does differently from
pianists, but it still sounds like a piano. I like how he brings out
voices and shapes them that would otherwise go unnoticed in other's
playing.

What exactly is the Horowitz sound? The rubati, phrasings, and
shapings? I do appreciate his free flowing rubati and phrasings, as
opposed to the more metronomic interpretations, esp. the Chopin
Polonaise-Fantasie from the '65/66 discs, but at the same time, his free
flowing form does not feel like he's awkwardly stuck in mud and surging
forward every 4 seconds as demonstrated in Argerich's Chopin Sonata #3
(development section after the repeats) in the falsely named "Historic
Recording" (not) CD.

JIyang Chen
Van Eyes
2004-09-19 18:27:44 UTC
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Post by Jiyang Chen
What exactly is the Horowitz sound?
I thought you answered it, to your satisfaction.

Regards
--
Posted via Mailgate.ORG Server - http://www.Mailgate.ORG
Dontaitchicago
2004-09-19 20:47:30 UTC
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By "sound," do you mean the sonorities and colors Horowitz got from the
piano? Or, as you go on to say, do you mean his voicings, rubati, phrasings,
and so on? We may think of them differently, but for me they are separate
things.

I heard Horowitz in person several times, and I can say that if I were speak
of the Horowitz "sound" it would have to concern the sounds he evoked from the
piano. I have never heard anything like it. He did occasionally thunder in his
famous way; the sheer volume of sound was unbelievable, although it never
sounded pounded or forced (which was part of its effect). Much more remarkable,
however, was the range of subtle color in everything else. The piano had
unlimited beautiful shadings of sound at his hands. Every note, every chord had
a unique coloration. It was breathtaking, and seemed to be the last
manifestation of the great nineteenth/early twentieth century piano
tone-painters one reads about and can hear on recordings of Pachmann, Hoffman,
Lhevinne and others.

Which is not to mean that it was musically profound. Sometimes Horowitz could
be boring (it could have been an off-day, of course). I remember a half-program
of stultifying Mozart, although the sound was astoundingly evocative. His
musical limitations might be another topic. But no one got a sound from the
piano like Horowitz (and it was always his own tweaked piano, which helped!).

Don Tait
Brendan R. Wehrung
2004-09-20 04:30:00 UTC
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Post by Dontaitchicago
By "sound," do you mean the sonorities and colors Horowitz got from the
piano? Or, as you go on to say, do you mean his voicings, rubati, phrasings,
and so on? We may think of them differently, but for me they are separate
things.
I heard Horowitz in person several times, and I can say that if I were speak
of the Horowitz "sound" it would have to concern the sounds he evoked from the
piano. I have never heard anything like it. He did occasionally thunder in his
famous way; the sheer volume of sound was unbelievable, although it never
sounded pounded or forced (which was part of its effect). Much more remarkable,
however, was the range of subtle color in everything else. The piano had
unlimited beautiful shadings of sound at his hands. Every note, every chord had
a unique coloration. It was breathtaking, and seemed to be the last
manifestation of the great nineteenth/early twentieth century piano
tone-painters one reads about and can hear on recordings of Pachmann, Hoffman,
Lhevinne and others.
Which is not to mean that it was musically profound. Sometimes Horowitz could
be boring (it could have been an off-day, of course). I remember a half-program
of stultifying Mozart, although the sound was astoundingly evocative. His
musical limitations might be another topic. But no one got a sound from the
piano like Horowitz (and it was always his own tweaked piano, which helped!).
Don Tait
I heard his piano, the one that had to be lifted from his 2nd-story New
York stydy every time he toured, had a specially-built and very light
action. NO wonder he could concentrate on color.

Did he ship it Mosow too?

Brendan
--
Peter Lemken
2004-09-20 08:46:35 UTC
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Post by Brendan R. Wehrung
I heard his piano, the one that had to be lifted from his 2nd-story New
York stydy every time he toured, had a specially-built and very light
action. NO wonder he could concentrate on color.
Did he ship it Mosow too?
He did and I played on it during his stay in Berlin 2 weeks later. It was by
no means the super-light action that people keep talking about. It simply
was a well maintained New York Steinway with rather mellow sound and an
evenly weighted action. Nothing special at all.

Horowitz' piano sound was unique and it was Horowitz who produced that
sound, not the piano.


Peter Lemken
Berlin
--
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in
a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly
used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming, 'Wow, what a ride!'
Tom Deacon
2004-09-20 12:20:58 UTC
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Post by Peter Lemken
Post by Brendan R. Wehrung
I heard his piano, the one that had to be lifted from his 2nd-story New
York stydy every time he toured, had a specially-built and very light
action. NO wonder he could concentrate on color.
Did he ship it Mosow too?
He did and I played on it during his stay in Berlin 2 weeks later. It was by
no means the super-light action that people keep talking about. It simply
was a well maintained New York Steinway with rather mellow sound and an
evenly weighted action. Nothing special at all.
Garbage.

More than one great pianist and more than one great piano technician has
reported in detail on the "preparation" of the Horowitz piano. I have no
idea what piano H took to Berlin at the end of his life, but the ones he
used in North America were all highly "prepared pianos".
Post by Peter Lemken
Horowitz' piano sound was unique and it was Horowitz who produced that
sound, not the piano.
Of course he did. He was the only one playing it. The ONLY one.

Ohlsson once said that playing H's piano was, for a pianist, like walking
along a street and then, all of a sudden, finding yourself on glare ice
wearing nothing but a pair of socks. No traction! A sheer nightmare! I
believe him.

TD
Owen Hartnett
2004-09-20 16:02:12 UTC
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Post by Tom Deacon
Post by Peter Lemken
Post by Brendan R. Wehrung
I heard his piano, the one that had to be lifted from his 2nd-story New
York stydy every time he toured, had a specially-built and very light
action. NO wonder he could concentrate on color.
Did he ship it Mosow too?
He did and I played on it during his stay in Berlin 2 weeks later. It was by
no means the super-light action that people keep talking about. It simply
was a well maintained New York Steinway with rather mellow sound and an
evenly weighted action. Nothing special at all.
Garbage.
More than one great pianist and more than one great piano technician has
reported in detail on the "preparation" of the Horowitz piano. I have no
idea what piano H took to Berlin at the end of his life, but the ones he
used in North America were all highly "prepared pianos".
Post by Peter Lemken
Horowitz' piano sound was unique and it was Horowitz who produced that
sound, not the piano.
Of course he did. He was the only one playing it. The ONLY one.
Ohlsson once said that playing H's piano was, for a pianist, like walking
along a street and then, all of a sudden, finding yourself on glare ice
wearing nothing but a pair of socks. No traction! A sheer nightmare! I
believe him.
After he died, Horowitz's piano toured the US along with the piano
tuner who took care of it. I didn't get to go try it, but it was in
Providence, RI for a while and one could call and make an appt. to
check it out. It was a very light and sensitive action, but probably
not that much lighter than a standard piano.

Did he use a "prepared piano?" Depends on what you mean. Was his
piano tuned and adjusted to fit his playing style? Certainly. Does
that mean that he couldn't play a standard piano? Nonsense. He made
his early career playing on standard pianos. Could someone else take
his "prepared" piano, and using it, produce the famed "Horowitz sound?"
Definitely not.

-Owen
Tom Deacon
2004-09-20 18:07:20 UTC
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Post by Owen Hartnett
After he died, Horowitz's piano toured the US along with the piano
tuner who took care of it. I didn't get to go try it, but it was in
Providence, RI for a while and one could call and make an appt. to
check it out. It was a very light and sensitive action, but probably
not that much lighter than a standard piano.
Did he use a "prepared piano?" Depends on what you mean. Was his
piano tuned and adjusted to fit his playing style? Certainly. Does
that mean that he couldn't play a standard piano? Nonsense. He made
his early career playing on standard pianos. Could someone else take
his "prepared" piano, and using it, produce the famed "Horowitz sound?"
Definitely not.
First of all, Horowitz's piano was not ONE piano, but many pianos he used
over the years.

The head tuner at Steinway, who was touring with Gilels, informed me once
that H had his hammers filed almost to a point and then heavily lacquered,
so that the sound was phenomenally brilliant. Then the action was lightened
so that ffs became immediately and effortlessly available.

The miracle was that H was able to play softly on this instrument. Most
pianists would not be able to get below an mf on it.

Incidentally, the H piano was returned to its "normal" state before the said
tour. Hammers replaced, action reajusted, etc. Nobody would be able to get
the H sound out of this instrument, by design, of course. But those who had
the chance of playing the piano when it was in its prepared state, all
testify to its many peculiar characteristics.

It should also be said that GG worked on a "prepared" piano as well, with
the action completely reworked to his own technique. Presumably Michelangeli
also had his own instrument, as did Richter.

TD
Neil Cerutti
2004-09-20 18:49:33 UTC
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Post by Tom Deacon
First of all, Horowitz's piano was not ONE piano, but many
pianos he used over the years.
The head tuner at Steinway, who was touring with Gilels,
informed me once that H had his hammers filed almost to a point
and then heavily lacquered, so that the sound was phenomenally
brilliant. Then the action was lightened so that ffs became
immediately and effortlessly available.
All pianists do that. ;)
--
Neil Cerutti
"Tchaikovsky's violin concerto gives us for the
first time the hideous notion that there can be music
that stinks to the ear." --Eduard Hanslick.
Peter Lemken
2004-09-20 21:30:20 UTC
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Post by Neil Cerutti
Post by Tom Deacon
First of all, Horowitz's piano was not ONE piano, but many
pianos he used over the years.
He played ONE instrument in concert, from 1965 to his death.
Post by Neil Cerutti
Post by Tom Deacon
The head tuner at Steinway, who was touring with Gilels,
informed me once that H had his hammers filed almost to a point
and then heavily lacquered, so that the sound was phenomenally
brilliant. Then the action was lightened so that ffs became
immediately and effortlessly available.
That's a load of BS. You should read Mohr's memoires and maybe talk to him.
The description of Horowitz' special hammer treatment only applies to his
appearance with the New York Philharmonic during his Jubilee season. He
feared not to be heard over the orchestra - with the result that the piano
sounds shrill and hollow. Mohr himself said that this particular event was a
nightmare for him, because he had to prepare the piano in a way that was no
good at all, neither for the audience, nor for the pianist.

The hammers were changed after that season, because they were beyond repair.
Post by Neil Cerutti
All pianists do that. ;)
Nonsense.

Peter Lemken
Berlin
--
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in
a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly
used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming, 'Wow, what a ride!'
Poisonous Pixie
2004-09-21 10:16:48 UTC
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If I could elaborate on Peter's information - having Mohr's memoirs before
me -

Horowitz used five pianos during the last 25 years of his life (during which
period Mohr was his only piano tuner). Unfortunately, Mohr is not as precise
as one might wish with regards to exact dates:

- CD 186, used for many of his recordings & for his 1965 come-back recital
- CD 314 503 - Steinway's wedding present to Horowitz, used exclusively for
all his concerts during the last four years of his life - including Moscow,
Milan, & Tokyo - & the one whose hammers Mohr had to replace (totally by
deception, apparently) after the Rach/3 concerts in 1978. This is also the
one that's been on tour around the world, 'kept exactly the same' as when
Horowitz used it, according to Mohr.
- CD 223 - used in his Conecticut home for several years, where he also did
some recordings
- CD 75, built in 1911 but barely used when Mohr 'discovered' it &
introduced it to H (sometime in the 1970's?). It was used 'for several
concerts' and taken to Japan in 1983.
- CD 443 - his Ninety-fourth Street piano from 1985-1989 on which he did his
last 'studio' recordings - 'Horowitz at Home', 'The Last Romantic', 'The
Last Recording'. This seems to have been a brand new piano that at first H
disliked, but evenually came to love & even talked about taking on tour just
a few weeks before he died.

With regards the 'treatment' given to the piano, with the notable exception
of the 1978/Rach 3 affair, Mohr says emphatically: 'There is *nothing*
special about the Horowitz piano!'. 'It was regulated in the way he
(Horowitz) preferred. It has a very responsive action. That means that the
keys go down with a light touch, there is no resistance to the fingers. And
the "uplift" to their rest position is very strong. I balanced the weight of
the keys in such a way that they would function the way he wanted them to.'
(He compares Horowitz's preferences with those of Rubinstein, who preferred
an action with much more resistance).
Post by Peter Lemken
Post by Neil Cerutti
Post by Tom Deacon
First of all, Horowitz's piano was not ONE piano, but many
pianos he used over the years.
He played ONE instrument in concert, from 1965 to his death.
Post by Neil Cerutti
Post by Tom Deacon
The head tuner at Steinway, who was touring with Gilels,
informed me once that H had his hammers filed almost to a point
and then heavily lacquered, so that the sound was phenomenally
brilliant. Then the action was lightened so that ffs became
immediately and effortlessly available.
That's a load of BS. You should read Mohr's memoires and maybe talk to him.
The description of Horowitz' special hammer treatment only applies to his
appearance with the New York Philharmonic during his Jubilee season. He
feared not to be heard over the orchestra - with the result that the piano
sounds shrill and hollow. Mohr himself said that this particular event was a
nightmare for him, because he had to prepare the piano in a way that was no
good at all, neither for the audience, nor for the pianist.
The hammers were changed after that season, because they were beyond repair.
Post by Neil Cerutti
All pianists do that. ;)
Nonsense.
Peter Lemken
Berlin
--
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in
a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly
used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming, 'Wow, what a ride!'
Tom Deacon
2004-09-21 12:22:18 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Poisonous Pixie
If I could elaborate on Peter's information - having Mohr's memoirs before
me -
Horowitz used five pianos during the last 25 years of his life (during which
period Mohr was his only piano tuner). Unfortunately, Mohr is not as precise
- CD 186, used for many of his recordings & for his 1965 come-back recital
- CD 314 503 - Steinway's wedding present to Horowitz, used exclusively for
all his concerts during the last four years of his life - including Moscow,
Milan, & Tokyo - & the one whose hammers Mohr had to replace (totally by
deception, apparently) after the Rach/3 concerts in 1978. This is also the
one that's been on tour around the world, 'kept exactly the same' as when
Horowitz used it, according to Mohr.
- CD 223 - used in his Conecticut home for several years, where he also did
some recordings
- CD 75, built in 1911 but barely used when Mohr 'discovered' it &
introduced it to H (sometime in the 1970's?). It was used 'for several
concerts' and taken to Japan in 1983.
- CD 443 - his Ninety-fourth Street piano from 1985-1989 on which he did his
last 'studio' recordings - 'Horowitz at Home', 'The Last Romantic', 'The
Last Recording'. This seems to have been a brand new piano that at first H
disliked, but evenually came to love & even talked about taking on tour just
a few weeks before he died.
With regards the 'treatment' given to the piano, with the notable exception
of the 1978/Rach 3 affair, Mohr says emphatically: 'There is *nothing*
special about the Horowitz piano!'. 'It was regulated in the way he
(Horowitz) preferred. It has a very responsive action. That means that the
keys go down with a light touch, there is no resistance to the fingers. And
the "uplift" to their rest position is very strong. I balanced the weight of
the keys in such a way that they would function the way he wanted them to.'
(He compares Horowitz's preferences with those of Rubinstein, who preferred
an action with much more resistance).
It is so nice to see Mr. Lemken's entirely misleading post rebutted so
conclusively by Mr. Mohr. And via such an unexpected source, as well. Double
the pleasure.

Incidentally, Garrick Ohlsson once played a Chopin Etude on the Tonight Show
with Johnny Carson and said he almost got a hernia playing the piece. It was
Rubinstein's Steinway.

TD
graham
2004-09-20 18:53:24 UTC
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Post by Tom Deacon
Post by Owen Hartnett
After he died, Horowitz's piano toured the US along with the piano
tuner who took care of it. I didn't get to go try it, but it was in
Providence, RI for a while and one could call and make an appt. to
check it out. It was a very light and sensitive action, but probably
not that much lighter than a standard piano.
Did he use a "prepared piano?" Depends on what you mean. Was his
piano tuned and adjusted to fit his playing style? Certainly. Does
that mean that he couldn't play a standard piano? Nonsense. He made
his early career playing on standard pianos. Could someone else take
his "prepared" piano, and using it, produce the famed "Horowitz sound?"
Definitely not.
First of all, Horowitz's piano was not ONE piano, but many pianos he used
over the years.
The head tuner at Steinway, who was touring with Gilels, informed me once
that H had his hammers filed almost to a point and then heavily lacquered,
so that the sound was phenomenally brilliant. Then the action was lightened
so that ffs became immediately and effortlessly available.
The miracle was that H was able to play softly on this instrument. Most
pianists would not be able to get below an mf on it.
Incidentally, the H piano was returned to its "normal" state before the said
tour. Hammers replaced, action reajusted, etc. Nobody would be able to get
the H sound out of this instrument, by design, of course. But those who had
the chance of playing the piano when it was in its prepared state, all
testify to its many peculiar characteristics.
It should also be said that GG worked on a "prepared" piano as well, with
the action completely reworked to his own technique. Presumably Michelangeli
also had his own instrument, as did Richter.
TD
I understand that the piano tech at the Moscow Conservatory used to insert
thin slivers of metal into the hammer felts to "brighten" the sound.
Graham
Peter Lemken
2004-09-20 21:34:52 UTC
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Post by graham
I understand that the piano tech at the Moscow Conservatory used to insert
thin slivers of metal into the hammer felts to "brighten" the sound.
Graham
You understand incorrectly.

As soon as instruments have a certain age and are played on a regular basis,
the hammers are filed in shape and get a treatment for intonation. After a
certain time, the hammers are replaced when they are worn down too much,
i.e. the string grooves are so deep that filing down barely leaves any felt.

Moscow's pianos operated on a different timescale: They were played a lot
more often and wore down rather quickly, but it took hard currency to get a
new set of expensive hammers, so they stretched the livespan of hammers as
long as they could, sometimes with the result that there was hardly any felt
left on them.


Peter Lemken
Berlin
--
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in
a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly
used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming, 'Wow, what a ride!'
graham
2004-09-21 01:01:27 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Lemken
Post by graham
I understand that the piano tech at the Moscow Conservatory used to insert
thin slivers of metal into the hammer felts to "brighten" the sound.
Graham
You understand incorrectly.
As soon as instruments have a certain age and are played on a regular basis,
the hammers are filed in shape and get a treatment for intonation. After a
certain time, the hammers are replaced when they are worn down too much,
i.e. the string grooves are so deep that filing down barely leaves any felt.
Moscow's pianos operated on a different timescale: They were played a lot
more often and wore down rather quickly, but it took hard currency to get a
new set of expensive hammers, so they stretched the livespan of hammers as
long as they could, sometimes with the result that there was hardly any felt
left on them.
I was only repeating comments that John Ogden made in an interview in the
late 60's, before he had his breakdown.
Graham
arri bachrach
2004-09-21 17:24:58 UTC
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Post by Peter Lemken
As soon as instruments have a certain age and are played on a regular basis,
the hammers are filed in shape and get a treatment for intonation.
all this is very interesting.... what do you mean by "intonation" in
the context of this discussion?????

My feelings about H.s; tone is that his phrasing nad voicing of
chords was the most obvious way to recognize his tone.....

AB



After a
Post by Peter Lemken
certain time, the hammers are replaced when they are worn down too much,
i.e. the string grooves are so deep that filing down barely leaves any felt.
Moscow's pianos operated on a different timescale: They were played a lot
more often and wore down rather quickly, but it took hard currency to get a
new set of expensive hammers, so they stretched the livespan of hammers as
long as they could, sometimes with the result that there was hardly any felt
left on them.
Peter Lemken
Berlin
Peter Lemken
2004-09-21 17:38:07 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by arri bachrach
Post by Peter Lemken
As soon as instruments have a certain age and are played on a regular basis,
the hammers are filed in shape and get a treatment for intonation.
all this is very interesting.... what do you mean by "intonation" in
the context of this discussion?????
My fault. The German term "Intonation" with regard to pianos is "voicing" in
English and refers to the way a hammer is prepared by a technician.
Post by arri bachrach
My feelings about H.s; tone is that his phrasing nad voicing of
chords was the most obvious way to recognize his tone.....
There are pieces in which a single note is sufficient to recognize Horowitz.


Peter Lemken
Berlin
--
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in
a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly
used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming, 'Wow, what a ride!'
Ian Pace
2004-09-21 21:00:49 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Lemken
There are pieces in which a single note is sufficient to recognize Horowitz.
Which in particular? G? F? C#? :)

Best,
Ian
Peter Lemken
2004-09-21 22:04:17 UTC
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Post by Peter Lemken
Post by Peter Lemken
There are pieces in which a single note is sufficient to recognize
Horowitz.
Which in particular? G? F? C#? :)
How about the beginning of "Danse Macabre"?



Peter Lemken
Berlin
--
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in
a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly
used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming, 'Wow, what a ride!'
arri bachrach
2004-09-23 16:06:28 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Lemken
Post by Ian Pace
Post by Peter Lemken
There are pieces in which a single note is sufficient to recognize
Horowitz.
Post by Ian Pace
Which in particular? G? F? C#? :)
How about the beginning of "Danse Macabre"?
Peter Lemken
Berlin
I have 2 Volodos live Danse Macabre which are clearly musically and
technically superior to Horowitz,(in spite of what Deacon the Beacon
might otherwise say)

AB
Peter Lemken
2004-09-23 20:56:51 UTC
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Post by arri bachrach
Post by Peter Lemken
Post by Ian Pace
Post by Peter Lemken
There are pieces in which a single note is sufficient to recognize
Horowitz.
Post by Ian Pace
Which in particular? G? F? C#? :)
How about the beginning of "Danse Macabre"?
I have 2 Volodos live Danse Macabre which are clearly musically and
technically superior to Horowitz,(in spite of what Deacon the Beacon
might otherwise say)
Heard him live with it, too. I think he is a great pianists, at times, and
his sound is really massive, but it's not as unique as the Horowitz sound.

Peter Lemken
Berlin
--
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in
a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly
used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming, 'Wow, what a ride!'
arri bachrach
2004-09-25 16:47:28 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Lemken
Post by arri bachrach
Post by Peter Lemken
Post by Ian Pace
Post by Peter Lemken
There are pieces in which a single note is sufficient to recognize
Horowitz.
Post by arri bachrach
Post by Peter Lemken
Post by Ian Pace
Which in particular? G? F? C#? :)
How about the beginning of "Danse Macabre"?
I have 2 Volodos live Danse Macabre which are clearly musically and
technically superior to Horowitz,(in spite of what Deacon the Beacon
might otherwise say)
Heard him live with it, too. I think he is a great pianists, at times, and
his sound is really massive, but it's not as unique as the Horowitz sound.
Peter Lemken
Berlin
yes, Horotiwtz's tone was (is) more unique, I agree absolutely.... but
so is Szygettis' (sp) violin tone unique..... but it does not make it
necessarily more interesting, beautiful, etc....
but I have no quarrel with H.'s tone though I rarely enjoy it, at
least as it sounds on his RCA recordings, when he was in his prime...

AB
Peter Lemken
2004-09-25 17:22:38 UTC
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Post by arri bachrach
yes, Horotiwtz's tone was (is) more unique, I agree absolutely.... but
so is Szygettis' (sp) violin tone unique..... but it does not make it
necessarily more interesting, beautiful, etc....
And I did not write that, did I?
Post by arri bachrach
but I have no quarrel with H.'s tone though I rarely enjoy it, at
least as it sounds on his RCA recordings, when he was in his prime...
I positively find his fortissimi on the old RCAs thrilling. Loud, massive,
but not banging as in Ponti or Mustonen.

Peter Lemken
Berlin
--
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in
a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly
used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming, 'Wow, what a ride!'
arri bachrach
2004-09-26 00:47:02 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Lemken
Post by arri bachrach
yes, Horotiwtz's tone was (is) more unique, I agree absolutely.... but
so is Szygettis' (sp) violin tone unique..... but it does not make it
necessarily more interesting, beautiful, etc....
And I did not write that, did I?
no, but I felt that you might be implying that, so my mistake.
Post by Peter Lemken
Post by arri bachrach
but I have no quarrel with H.'s tone though I rarely enjoy it, at
least as it sounds on his RCA recordings, when he was in his prime...
I positively find his fortissimi on the old RCAs thrilling. Loud, massive,
yes, sometimes, like in the Sousa Stars and Stripes. that is H. at his
best in terms of sonority of sound....
then his Moonlight sonata is not very nice sounding.... so it depends
on the piece, no????
Post by Peter Lemken
but not banging as in Ponti
Ponti is a bit crude...( I am being kind)

or Mustonen.

I dont find that he bangs that much..... I have a live LvB PC#1 that I
took off the radio a few years ago.. his articulation, (pervasive
non-legato)can get on one's nerves. After a while it sounds a bit
artificial...

AB.
Post by Peter Lemken
Peter Lemken
Berlin
Carl Tait
2004-09-28 00:41:13 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On 23 Sep 2004 20:56:51 GMT,
Post by Peter Lemken
Post by arri bachrach
I have 2 Volodos live Danse Macabre which are clearly musically and
technically superior to Horowitz,(in spite of what Deacon the Beacon
might otherwise say)
Heard him live with it, too. I think he is a great pianists, at times, and
his sound is really massive, but it's not as unique as the Horowitz sound.
Yes, Horowitz had perhaps the most immediately identifiable sound of any
pianist. My clock radio once went off in the middle of a Chopin Mazurka;
within three seconds, I sleepily mumbled "Horowitz."

There have been any number of pianists who have attempted to imitate
Horowitz' sound, usually with unappetizing results. My clock radio woke me
up another time with a wretched pseudo-Horowitz reading of the Chopin
F-sharp Impromptu, which dragged me out of sleep even faster. The pianist
turned out to be Stanislav Bunin, winner of the 1985 Chopin Competition.
No wonder they didn't award the gold medal for fifteen years after he
won....

As for Volodos, he is indeed a major talent. He has improved tremendously
since his debut album and early performances, in which he appeared to be
little more than a major-league finger flinger.

- Carl Tait
arri bachrach
2004-09-28 16:43:57 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Carl Tait
As for Volodos, he is indeed a major talent. He has improved tremendously
since his debut album and early performances, in which he appeared to be
little more than a major-league finger flinger.
- Carl Tait
I never saw him as a major-leauge ff........his debut CD shows more
musicality AND technique than Horowitz ever had..... so far as sound
is concerned, yes H. is unique for sure..

AB
LaVirtuosa
2004-09-30 03:49:58 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Carl Tait
My clock radio woke me
up another time with a wretched pseudo-Horowitz reading of the Chopin
F-sharp Impromptu, which dragged me out of sleep even faster. The pianist
turned out to be Stanislav Bunin, winner of the 1985 Chopin Competition.
No wonder they didn't award the gold medal for fifteen years after he
won....
Isn't that a compliment though?

***********Val (listening to Dmitri Paperno)
Van Eyes
2004-09-20 19:27:05 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Tom Deacon
First of all, Horowitz's piano was not ONE piano, but many pianos he used
over the years.
The head tuner at Steinway, who was touring with Gilels, informed me once
that H had his hammers filed almost to a point and then heavily lacquered,
so that the sound was phenomenally brilliant. Then the action was lightened
so that ffs became immediately and effortlessly available.
The miracle was that H was able to play softly on this instrument. Most
pianists would not be able to get below an mf on it.
None of this surprises me, but the fact remains that "H" was usually
afforded less than stellar sound from CBS and RCA. Because of that, my
favorites of his are some of the DGs at the end.

Regards
--
Posted via Mailgate.ORG Server - http://www.Mailgate.ORG
Owen Hartnett
2004-09-20 21:03:35 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Tom Deacon
It should also be said that GG worked on a "prepared" piano as well, with
the action completely reworked to his own technique. Presumably Michelangeli
also had his own instrument, as did Richter.
Gould even detailed the "preparation" done on at least one of his
pianos, on the back of the Bach Inventions LP.

With the execrable sound of some of Richter's pianos, one can only
imagine that he "prepared" it with a sledge hammer, and added a
chemical dispersing mechanism to induce coughing jags, and/or
tuberculosis.

-Owen
Peter Lemken
2004-09-20 21:51:09 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Owen Hartnett
Post by Tom Deacon
It should also be said that GG worked on a "prepared" piano as well, with
the action completely reworked to his own technique. Presumably Michelangeli
also had his own instrument, as did Richter.
Gould even detailed the "preparation" done on at least one of his
pianos, on the back of the Bach Inventions LP.
With the execrable sound of some of Richter's pianos, one can only
imagine that he "prepared" it with a sledge hammer, and added a
chemical dispersing mechanism to induce coughing jags, and/or
tuberculosis.
Richter didn't care about pianos very much. While he had a contract with
Yamaha during the last 15 years of his career, he never had an own
instrument. Whenever he played in Germany, his piano came from Rellingen,
when in Austria, it came from Vienna and France was a different story, as
was Italy and Spain.

And when no Yamaha was available, he played Steinways or Boesendorfers.

The only one playing his own instrument these days is Krystian Zimerman, who
is a Steinway fanatic and an even more fanatic Yamaha-hater as could be
witnessed during his last recital in Berlin, where he actually lectured the
audience on that subject.

Peter Lemken
Berlin
--
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in
a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly
used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming, 'Wow, what a ride!'
Tom Deacon
2004-09-21 02:39:43 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Lemken
Richter didn't care about pianos very much. While he had a contract with
Yamaha during the last 15 years of his career, he never had an own
instrument.
Your information is faulty.

I personally approached the Yamaha piano company regarding sponsorship of
the Richter Edition and the head of Yamaha informed me that Yamaha had NO
contract with Richter regarding the supply of pianos. However, they remained
at his disposition whenever and wherever he chose to play. And Richter chose
to play their pianos, alas, whenever he could.

TD
Wayne Reimer
2004-09-21 06:11:17 UTC
Reply
Permalink
<...>
Post by Peter Lemken
Post by Owen Hartnett
With the execrable sound of some of Richter's pianos, one can only
imagine that he "prepared" it with a sledge hammer, and added a
chemical dispersing mechanism to induce coughing jags, and/or
tuberculosis.
Richter didn't care about pianos very much.
That was what he said in "The Enigma". But it should be added that he also
said he did care very much about one quality in a piano, and that was whether
he was able to produce a satisfactory, haunting pianissimo on it.

I was just last weekend relistening to some of the "Richter in Prague" set, and
some of the pianos used in the recitals when those recordings were made sounded
like they were ready for HIP work.

wr
Peter Lemken
2004-09-20 21:24:59 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Owen Hartnett
Post by Tom Deacon
Post by Peter Lemken
Post by Brendan R. Wehrung
Did he ship it Mosow too?
He did and I played on it during his stay in Berlin 2 weeks later. It was by
no means the super-light action that people keep talking about. It simply
was a well maintained New York Steinway with rather mellow sound and an
evenly weighted action. Nothing special at all.
Garbage.
If you say so, it must be true, right?

Wrong.
Post by Owen Hartnett
Post by Tom Deacon
More than one great pianist and more than one great piano technician has
reported in detail on the "preparation" of the Horowitz piano.
What other tuner besides Franz Mohr had reported in detail? None. It was
Mohr I talked to at great length; without Mohr's kind assistance I would
hardly have been able to see the piano, watch it being prepared for the
recital at the Philharmonie and eventually play it.

Did you play the piano?
Post by Owen Hartnett
Post by Tom Deacon
I have no
idea what piano H took to Berlin at the end of his life,
But I do. Remember, I was there.
Post by Owen Hartnett
Post by Tom Deacon
but the ones he
used in North America were all highly "prepared pianos".
So, what is "highly prepared"? Is it anything that you would care to
enlighten the group about? Anything that is so special in knowledge that it
has only been handed to you as a trade secret?

Is there anything that qualifies you to make that kind of wild assertion, or
is it just your usual incompetent blathering?

I doubt you could tell the difference between a New York and Hamburg
Steinway, let alone give qualified comments on the quality of an instrument,
its preparation for a recital.

BTW, it was that very piano he always played in New York, the very one with
the lacquered hammers for the 1978/879 season, the one that sounds like a
shrill toy in the Rachmaninoff 3rd from his Jubilee season.

Yes, it has been completely reworked after that season, including a new set
of hammers, because the old ones were beyond rescue.
Post by Owen Hartnett
Post by Tom Deacon
Post by Peter Lemken
Horowitz' piano sound was unique and it was Horowitz who produced that
sound, not the piano.
Of course he did. He was the only one playing it. The ONLY one.
The only one playing it in concert, yes. Not the only one playing it under
other circumstances, like teaching in his living room. Maybe you should talk
to Eduardus Halim, probably the only one to be able to give you a qualified
opinion about Horowitz' piano in his later years.
Post by Owen Hartnett
Post by Tom Deacon
Ohlsson once said that playing H's piano was, for a pianist, like walking
along a street and then, all of a sudden, finding yourself on glare ice
wearing nothing but a pair of socks. No traction! A sheer nightmare! I
believe him.
After he died, Horowitz's piano toured the US along with the piano
tuner who took care of it. I didn't get to go try it, but it was in
Providence, RI for a while and one could call and make an appt. to
check it out. It was a very light and sensitive action, but probably
not that much lighter than a standard piano.
Mohr himself said that the piano was reworked after Horowitz' death.
Post by Owen Hartnett
Did he use a "prepared piano?" Depends on what you mean. Was his
piano tuned and adjusted to fit his playing style? Certainly.
You make it sound as if Horowitz had one particular tuner that did things
different from everything else he did, but that is not the case. Mohr, was
not his private tuner, he was employed by Steinway and he prepared the piano
just as he would do with every other instrument.

As a matter of fact, there is not a lot you can actually do to "transform"
an instrument, both in terms of sound and action. You can harden the
hammers, which is what happened to the Horowitz piano in preparation of his
first orchestra appearance in New York and its dreadful sound. You can even
out notes by carefully "needling" the hammer felt, but that is noticable
only within a very small margin of difference. It's certainly nothing to
make a piano sound much more louder, au contraire.

Same with the action of a concert grand: The basic lever distribution is
the same for all actions within a very small range. It is *impossible* to
change a heavy going action to a silky smooth action, unless you start
taking it apart with a chainsaw, remove all lead in the key bottom and drill
some holes in there instead.

When pianists report about a "super-light-weight" action that "basically"
plays itself, it's nothing more than euphemism for "I liked it". Take it
down to the physical level and actually measure the force necessary to press
a key until it releases the hammer and you will see that the differences
between various instruments are negligable.

It's instructive to take a look at

http://home.t-online.de/home/Burk.Wagner/fluegelmechanik.htm

(Sorry, only in German, but I am sure you will find some equally instructive
pages in English, together with detailled drawings)

Show this to your next door noble prize physicist and let him tell you what
can be done and what not. You will be surprised.
Post by Owen Hartnett
Does
that mean that he couldn't play a standard piano? Nonsense. He made
his early career playing on standard pianos. Could someone else take
his "prepared" piano, and using it, produce the famed "Horowitz sound?"
Definitely not.
Exactly.

When you take a look at "Horowitz in Moscow" and his visit at the Scriabin
Museum, there is a short passage where he plays an excerpt from his d-flat
minor etude - on a very old Bechstein in not so good shape. You will
immediately know who plays, simply from the sound produce.

The Horowitz sound.

Peter Lemken
Berlin
--
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in
a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly
used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming, 'Wow, what a ride!'
Wayne Reimer
2004-09-21 06:28:28 UTC
Reply
Permalink
<...>
Post by Peter Lemken
It's instructive to take a look at
http://home.t-online.de/home/Burk.Wagner/fluegelmechanik.htm
(Sorry, only in German, but I am sure you will find some equally instructive
pages in English, together with detailled drawings)
Show this to your next door noble prize physicist and let him tell you what
can be done and what not. You will be surprised.
And you, in turn, might also be surprised. Explore this website, particularly
the section on articles published. It looks like the next door noble prize
physicist did his homework.

http://www.stanwoodpiano.com/first.htm

wr
Peter Lemken
2004-09-21 07:45:10 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Wayne Reimer
<...>
Post by Peter Lemken
It's instructive to take a look at
http://home.t-online.de/home/Burk.Wagner/fluegelmechanik.htm
(Sorry, only in German, but I am sure you will find some equally instructive
pages in English, together with detailled drawings)
Show this to your next door noble prize physicist and let him tell you what
can be done and what not. You will be surprised.
And you, in turn, might also be surprised. Explore this website, particularly
the section on articles published. It looks like the next door noble prize
physicist did his homework.
http://www.stanwoodpiano.com/first.htm
Indeed. Does that contradict what I wrote?

Peter Lemken
Berlin
--
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in
a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly
used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming, 'Wow, what a ride!'
Wayne Reimer
2004-09-22 03:15:47 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Lemken
Post by Wayne Reimer
<...>
Post by Peter Lemken
It's instructive to take a look at
http://home.t-online.de/home/Burk.Wagner/fluegelmechanik.htm
(Sorry, only in German, but I am sure you will find some equally instructive
pages in English, together with detailled drawings)
Show this to your next door noble prize physicist and let him tell you what
can be done and what not. You will be surprised.
And you, in turn, might also be surprised. Explore this website, particularly
the section on articles published. It looks like the next door noble prize
physicist did his homework.
http://www.stanwoodpiano.com/first.htm
Indeed. Does that contradict what I wrote?
Peter Lemken
Berlin
My sense of what you have been saying is that there is really not all that much
that can be done to alter a piano's touch. My sense of what Mr. Stanwood is
saying is that there is quite a lot than can be done.

wr
Peter Schenkman
2004-09-20 14:08:33 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Lemken
Post by Brendan R. Wehrung
I heard his piano, the one that had to be lifted from his 2nd-story New
York stydy every time he toured, had a specially-built and very light
action. NO wonder he could concentrate on color.
Did he ship it Mosow too?
He did and I played on it during his stay in Berlin 2 weeks later. It was by
no means the super-light action that people keep talking about. It simply
was a well maintained New York Steinway with rather mellow sound and an
evenly weighted action. Nothing special at all.
Horowitz' piano sound was unique and it was Horowitz who produced that
sound, not the piano.
Peter Lemken
If you haven't hear Horowitz live you can't possibly imagine what he
sounded like. The recordings good though many of them are don't come
close to what he was able to do with sound in a hall.

Peter Schenkman
Jiyang Chen
2004-09-20 18:11:58 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Schenkman
Post by Peter Lemken
Post by Brendan R. Wehrung
I heard his piano, the one that had to be lifted from his
2nd-story New
Post by Peter Schenkman
Post by Peter Lemken
Post by Brendan R. Wehrung
York stydy every time he toured, had a specially-built and very light
action. NO wonder he could concentrate on color.
Did he ship it Mosow too?
He did and I played on it during his stay in Berlin 2 weeks later. It was by
no means the super-light action that people keep talking about. It simply
was a well maintained New York Steinway with rather mellow sound and an
evenly weighted action. Nothing special at all.
Horowitz' piano sound was unique and it was Horowitz who produced that
sound, not the piano.
Peter Lemken
If you haven't hear Horowitz live you can't possibly imagine what he
sounded like. The recordings good though many of them are don't come
close to what he was able to do with sound in a hall.
Peter Schenkman
Was this special sound they way the fingers come down on the keys
differently from all the other pianist, or the way he strung the keys
together to make different sounds (as I had talked about in the original
post)?
Carl Tait
2004-09-28 00:24:42 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On 20 Sep 2004 07:08:33 -0700,
Post by Peter Schenkman
If you haven't hear Horowitz live you can't possibly imagine what he
sounded like. The recordings good though many of them are don't come
close to what he was able to do with sound in a hall.
I heard Horowitz live only once -- March 1979 in Atlanta -- but remember
much of the performance clearly. Liszt's D-flat Consolation was especially
memorable, with beautiful long-lived melodic tone soaring over the
murmuring left-hand part. The concert's only real disappointment was the
Mephisto Waltz, which was superficially exciting but slapdash to the point
of near-derailment.

The high quality of the recital was something of a shock, since at that
point my familiarity with Horowitz was limited to two of his
ugliest-sounding performances: the notorious Rachmaninoff Third with
Ormandy on that jackhammer piano, and the TV broadcast of his White House
recital for Jimmy Carter.

- Carl Tait
MIFrost
2004-09-20 15:17:57 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Peter Lemken
Horowitz' piano sound was unique and it was Horowitz who produced that
sound, not the piano.
Peter Lemken
Berlin
I believe I read somewhere that Horowitz was once asked at a press
conference if he had anything special "done" to his pianos and that
Wanda replied angrily that her husband's piano is no different from
any other. I believe some suspected that his piano was tuned a smidge
sharp or that something was inserted into it for some reason. Who
knows?

MIFrost
Neil Cerutti
2004-09-20 14:58:21 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Dontaitchicago
By "sound," do you mean the sonorities and colors Horowitz got
from the piano? Or, as you go on to say, do you mean his
voicings, rubati, phrasings, and so on? We may think of them
differently, but for me they are separate things.
I like to think it's his ability to shape phrases and voice
chords even at extreme volumes.
--
Neil Cerutti
"Tchaikovsky's violin concerto gives us for the
first time the hideous notion that there can be music
that stinks to the ear." --Eduard Hanslick.
ajb723
2004-09-19 22:22:19 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Jiyang Chen
Reading his biography, it seems to me that the sound he makes is unique
and is the first time listeners have experienced this type of playing.
Hearing his recordings, I could hear things he does differently from
pianists, but it still sounds like a piano. I like how he brings out
voices and shapes them that would otherwise go unnoticed in other's
playing.
What exactly is the Horowitz sound? The rubati, phrasings, and
shapings? I do appreciate his free flowing rubati and phrasings, as
opposed to the more metronomic interpretations, esp. the Chopin
Polonaise-Fantasie from the '65/66 discs, but at the same time, his free
flowing form does not feel like he's awkwardly stuck in mud and surging
forward every 4 seconds as demonstrated in Argerich's Chopin Sonata #3
(development section after the repeats) in the falsely named "Historic
Recording" (not) CD.
JIyang Chen
Having heard most of VHs recordings and having seen him perform live 4 times
I'd say he most definitely had a unique sound, one which I don't think was
accurately captured on record. He could create a thunderous sonority which
never sounded forced or banging. His range of colors was amazing- just
listen to some of his Scarlatti. One of his favorite "tricks" was to play a
left hand chord slightly out of synch with the right hand. He supposedly
practiced by playing a 4 or 5 note chord repeatedly, emphasizing a different
note within the chord with each strike.
--
Alan
Tom Deacon
2004-09-20 12:16:25 UTC
Reply
Permalink
On 9/19/04 6:22 PM, in article BD737F27.BAB28%***@optonline.net, "ajb723"
<***@optonline.net> wrote:

He supposedly
Post by ajb723
practiced by playing a 4 or 5 note chord repeatedly, emphasizing a different
note within the chord with each strike.
All pianists do this.

TD
Neil Cerutti
2004-09-20 14:58:22 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by ajb723
He supposedly
Post by ajb723
practiced by playing a 4 or 5 note chord repeatedly, emphasizing a different
note within the chord with each strike.
All pianists do this.
I wish.
--
Neil Cerutti
"Tchaikovsky's violin concerto gives us for the
first time the hideous notion that there can be music
that stinks to the ear." --Eduard Hanslick.
Tom Deacon
2004-09-20 15:29:19 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Neil Cerutti
Post by ajb723
He supposedly
Post by ajb723
practiced by playing a 4 or 5 note chord repeatedly, emphasizing a different
note within the chord with each strike.
All pianists do this.
I wish.
Of course they do.

The thing with H is that while he was playing concerts he still thought he
was practising and would bring out inner notes without rhyme or reason. THAT
is what often makes his playing so questionable.

TD
Neil Cerutti
2004-09-20 17:19:09 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Tom Deacon
Post by Neil Cerutti
Post by ajb723
He supposedly
Post by ajb723
practiced by playing a 4 or 5 note chord repeatedly, emphasizing a different
note within the chord with each strike.
All pianists do this.
I wish.
Of course they do.
You have used a definition of "all" I don't understand. ;)
Post by Tom Deacon
The thing with H is that while he was playing concerts he still
thought he was practising and would bring out inner notes
without rhyme or reason. THAT is what often makes his playing
so questionable.
It hasn't bothered me... yet. But I just know they next time I
put one of CDs on, I'll be listening for it.
--
Neil Cerutti
"Tchaikovsky's violin concerto gives us for the
first time the hideous notion that there can be music
that stinks to the ear." --Eduard Hanslick.
arri bachrach
2004-09-20 23:54:00 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Tom Deacon
Post by Neil Cerutti
Post by ajb723
He supposedly
Post by ajb723
practiced by playing a 4 or 5 note chord repeatedly, emphasizing a different
note within the chord with each strike.
All pianists do this.
I wish.
Of course they do.
maybe TD should have emphasized that the great ones do..... many do
not. Just heard Brendel today in part of the Schumann concerto.
(pretty bad) He certainly does not. Michelangeli sure does as do many
others....
Post by Tom Deacon
The thing with H is that while he was playing concerts he still thought he
was practising and would bring out inner notes without rhyme or reason. THAT
is what often makes his playing so questionable.
TD
I tend to agree with that.....

AB
LaVirtuosa
2004-09-22 05:05:48 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Jiyang Chen
Post by ajb723
He supposedly
Post by ajb723
practiced by playing a 4 or 5 note chord repeatedly, emphasizing a
different
Post by ajb723
Post by ajb723
note within the chord with each strike.
All pianists do this.
I wish.
I do.
Neil Cerutti
2004-09-22 12:53:28 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Jiyang Chen
Post by ajb723
He supposedly
Post by ajb723
practiced by playing a 4 or 5 note chord repeatedly, emphasizing a
different
Post by ajb723
Post by ajb723
note within the chord with each strike.
All pianists do this.
I wish.
I do.
A current recording artist that I like for his excellent voicing
control is Awadagin Pratt. In his recording of the Franck
Prelude, Chorale and Fugue, he makes the thick texture sound
simple.

I also like his Bach/Busoni Chaconne on the same disk.

His performance of Funerailles, though, is kind of sterile. Too
much clarity gets in the way of the fat dissonances that this
piece requires, IMHO.
--
Neil Cerutti
"Tchaikovsky's violin concerto gives us for the
first time the hideous notion that there can be music
that stinks to the ear." --Eduard Hanslick.
LaVirtuosa
2004-09-23 06:56:12 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Yes. I've been to two live recitals by Awadagen Pratt and have found his
attention to detail very unusual and his creativity to be very sensitive to the
meaning of the piece at hand, mainly in parts of Beethoven sonatas. He's
pleasantly eccentric and therefore seems immature to a certain seasoned
listener I know (I wont' name names), and I'm told Pratt hasn't quite gotten
into the style of J.S. Bach. He has away to go before he can prove that he
has authority when it comes to interpretation in general. He certainly has a
lot of control. On the other hand, he stays with repertoire that's close to
the keyboard and which he can milk without strain, not that that's bad or
anything. I might even say he's an introverted player, a non-agressive type,
which would make funerailles a bit forced, I would think, if it's against his
nature. He likes to get microscopic. I haven't heard thhe disc that has the
Bach Busoni, but I heard samples and was intrigued.

***********Val
Subject: Re: The Horowitz sound
Date: 9/22/04 7:53 AM Central Daylight Time
Post by Jiyang Chen
Post by ajb723
He supposedly
Post by ajb723
practiced by playing a 4 or 5 note chord repeatedly, emphasizing a
different
Post by ajb723
Post by ajb723
note within the chord with each strike.
All pianists do this.
I wish.
I do.
A current recording artist that I like for his excellent voicing
control is Awadagin Pratt. In his recording of the Franck
Prelude, Chorale and Fugue, he makes the thick texture sound
simple.
I also like his Bach/Busoni Chaconne on the same disk.
His performance of Funerailles, though, is kind of sterile. Too
much clarity gets in the way of the fat dissonances that this
piece requires, IMHO.
--
Neil Cerutti
"Tchaikovsky's violin concerto gives us for the
first time the hideous notion that there can be music
that stinks to the ear." --Eduard Hanslick.
John Oster
2004-09-19 23:13:27 UTC
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Post by Jiyang Chen
Reading his biography, it seems to me that the sound he makes is unique
and is the first time listeners have experienced this type of playing.
Hearing his recordings, I could hear things he does differently from
pianists, but it still sounds like a piano. I like how he brings out
voices and shapes them that would otherwise go unnoticed in other's
playing.
What exactly is the Horowitz sound? The rubati, phrasings, and
shapings? I do appreciate his free flowing rubati and phrasings, as
opposed to the more metronomic interpretations, esp. the Chopin
Polonaise-Fantasie from the '65/66 discs, but at the same time, his free
flowing form does not feel like he's awkwardly stuck in mud and surging
forward every 4 seconds as demonstrated in Argerich's Chopin Sonata #3
(development section after the repeats) in the falsely named "Historic
Recording" (not) CD.
JIyang Chen
I note a steely/percussive tone that I find most appealing in the 20th
century works, such as his Barber Sonata and various Prokofiev pieces.
Maybe it's a function of the older recordings, but there's just such an
intensity of sound that no one has matched. For instance, Marc
Andre-Hamelin's new Barber Sonata recording is amazingly well played, but
that demonic fire of Horowitz is just not there. It's not speed...something
in the touch I guess. As others have mentioned, Horowitz achieved this
power/fire without mere pounding.
--
To e-mail me, make nets singular
Arthur Shapiro
2004-09-20 21:07:32 UTC
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To me, one of the hallmarks of H playing was the incredible way in which
individual notes of machine gun passages were perfectly isolated and distinct.
Nobody could do finger-twisters like Moskowski in this manner.

I only saw him live twice, both at greater distance than I'd prefer and from,
unfortunately, the audience right. But I think it's the only time I've seen a
piano actually move from the force with which it was hit - this in one of the
Rachmaninoff sonatas.

Art
arri bachrach
2004-09-21 17:17:08 UTC
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Post by Arthur Shapiro
To me, one of the hallmarks of H playing was the incredible way in which
individual notes of machine gun passages were perfectly isolated and distinct.
Nobody could do finger-twisters like Moskowski in this manner.
suggest you listen to Volodos who technqiue is at least equal to
Horowitz in the piece,(he even made it more difficult in his own
arragement)

AB
Post by Arthur Shapiro
I only saw him live twice, both at greater distance than I'd prefer and from,
unfortunately, the audience right. But I think it's the only time I've seen a
piano actually move from the force with which it was hit - this in one of the
Rachmaninoff sonatas.
Art
Tom Deacon
2004-09-21 18:26:19 UTC
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On 9/21/04 1:17 PM, in article
Post by arri bachrach
Post by Arthur Shapiro
To me, one of the hallmarks of H playing was the incredible way in which
individual notes of machine gun passages were perfectly isolated and distinct.
Nobody could do finger-twisters like Moskowski in this manner.
suggest you listen to Volodos who technqiue is at least equal to
Horowitz in the piece,(he even made it more difficult in his own
arragement)
Now, if only Volodos have one tenth the wit and sparkle of H, he might
succeed. As he has to be one of the dullest pianists to bang the piano,
there is just no way, Jose.

TD
arri bachrach
2004-09-22 16:40:06 UTC
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Post by Tom Deacon
Now, if only Volodos have one tenth the wit and sparkle of H, he might
succeed. As he has to be one of the dullest pianists to bang the piano,
there is just no way, Jose.
TD
i suppose you know what dull piano playing is all about considering
your being so enamored with Brendell's example of dynamic pianism.

AB
Tom Deacon
2004-09-22 17:41:59 UTC
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Permalink
On 9/22/04 12:40 PM, in article
Post by arri bachrach
Post by Tom Deacon
Now, if only Volodos have one tenth the wit and sparkle of H, he might
succeed. As he has to be one of the dullest pianists to bang the piano,
there is just no way, Jose.
TD
i suppose you know what dull piano playing is all about considering
your being so enamored with Brendell's example of dynamic pianism.
You caught this virus from Koren, Arri. You should try some antibiotics.
Cures most things, you know.

TD
arri bachrach
2004-09-22 23:19:35 UTC
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Post by Tom Deacon
Post by arri bachrach
Post by Tom Deacon
Now, if only Volodos have one tenth the wit and sparkle of H, he might
succeed. As he has to be one of the dullest pianists to bang the piano,
there is just no way, Jose.
TD
i suppose you know what dull piano playing is all about considering
your being so enamored with Brendell's example of dynamic pianism.
You caught this virus from Koren, Arri. You should try some antibiotics.
Cures most things, you know.
TD
dk's musical viruses (BTW, antibiotics dont cure viruses) are
incurable and inevitably fatal...... I felt this about Brendel years
before I joined the internet and had the "pleasure" of meeting
you......

AB
Tom Deacon
2004-09-22 23:35:57 UTC
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Permalink
On 9/22/04 7:19 PM, in article
Post by arri bachrach
Post by Tom Deacon
Post by arri bachrach
Post by Tom Deacon
Now, if only Volodos have one tenth the wit and sparkle of H, he might
succeed. As he has to be one of the dullest pianists to bang the piano,
there is just no way, Jose.
TD
i suppose you know what dull piano playing is all about considering
your being so enamored with Brendell's example of dynamic pianism.
You caught this virus from Koren, Arri. You should try some antibiotics.
Cures most things, you know.
TD
dk's musical viruses (BTW, antibiotics dont cure viruses) are
incurable and inevitably fatal...... I felt this about Brendel years
before I joined the internet and had the "pleasure" of meeting
you......
Then I do believe there is no hope. It's terminal, Arri. Just face up to it.
Chin up. Stout heart. Continue on as though nothing were wrong. It will all
end sooner or later.

TD
gggg gggg
2021-10-14 02:03:47 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Jiyang Chen
Reading his biography, it seems to me that the sound he makes is unique
and is the first time listeners have experienced this type of playing.
Hearing his recordings, I could hear things he does differently from
pianists, but it still sounds like a piano. I like how he brings out
voices and shapes them that would otherwise go unnoticed in other's
playing.
What exactly is the Horowitz sound? The rubati, phrasings, and
shapings? I do appreciate his free flowing rubati and phrasings, as
opposed to the more metronomic interpretations, esp. the Chopin
Polonaise-Fantasie from the '65/66 discs, but at the same time, his free
flowing form does not feel like he's awkwardly stuck in mud and surging
forward every 4 seconds as demonstrated in Argerich's Chopin Sonata #3
(development section after the repeats) in the falsely named "Historic
Recording" (not) CD.
JIyang Chen
(Recent Y. upload - from Comments sect.: "You can't mistake that divine sound for anybody else!")):

Vladimir Horowitz plays Chopin (live 1946, unreleased)

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