Post by piano4tay
I'd agree; there may well have been some row with Szell, but there were plenty of other stressors in Horowitz's life that must have had a cumulative effect on his decision to take a break from touring, which he never intended or expected to be for so long. He'd only got together with Wanda again two years prior ((after a separation during which she'd had an affaire with his youthful pupil Byron Janis), and living out of a suitcase touring the country largely by train was no joke. I've always wondered how the death of his class mate and fellow Blumenfeld pupil Simon Barere affected him about this time (April 1951). Already hypochondriacal, seeing a fellow student and colleague drop dead on stage at his home turf of Carnegie Hall would have had some impact, I imagine.. Kappell's death on October 1953 can't have encouraged him to have faith in air travel either.....
Horowitz was terribly upset by Kapell's death. Here's the transcript of the September 15, 1953 letter from Kapell to Horowitz, from Adelaide, Australia. Horowitz received this letter several days after Kapell's death. It's currently housed at the Yale archives.
Dear and great Horowitz,
This is a fan letter. I only want to tell you that I have been playing for myself some "Songs Without Words" of Mendelssohn, and I am thinking of you. And how moving and beautiful your playing is and always has been, and how important you are to me, deep in my musician's heart. Your tone, and I can hear it at this moment, is one of the most heavenly things in the world. It has influenced me in what I think of as tonal beauty. The sadness of "Dumka", the innocent grace of the little Scarlatti sonatas, the love-music you make of Scriabin, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky, these are among the things I shall never forget as long as I live. And if every recording company offered to let me record the "Pictures [at an Exhibition]" of Mussorgsky (which they won't!), I would never do it because your record of it is like having Tolstoy's books in our library.
Don't be upset at this letter. It is from my heart, and I hope you will be well and strong til you are 80 years old, so you can give us this so wonderful, and so sad message of yours. Don't ever be upset by anything. You are a great genius, and you are desperately needed in this world.
I heard you have been ill. Get well, and play your dolorous songs for us for the rest of your life.