Let´s see what another world-class pianist had to say about Horowitz; a quote by austrian pianist Friedrich Gulda::
"... I never did like Horowitz much. This tiger-like piano-playing, I have been immunised against it by the school I attended. All, among them my teacher, always have been watching out not to overrate this kind of piano-playing - as audiences worldwide did it. They said, well , he can thunder Tchaikovsky´s music very fast and very loud, and marry Toscanini´s daughter, but nevertheless unfortunately. That´s why I always had difficulties taking this man serious. And this showing-off is really disgusting to me, without the appropriate basis. but it just didn´t impress me. And then on one occasion(from the book: "Mein Leben ist ein Skandal" ("My life is a scandal"), translation by me)
Well this is hyperbole worthy of American TV news!
Okay, he doesn't like Horowitz, that's fine. But you can't dismiss him like this. All the talk about "serious musicians from Vienna" and "he does not know very much about the important music" (a backhanded slap at Tchaikovsky:x) gives his hand away and reveals musical chauvinism of the worst sort. And "showing off without the appropriate basis" what does that mean? Gulda's esthetic does not allow "showing off", at least in the Russian "tiger-like"
manner. I would like to know his correct context for showing off. Heh, I wonder what he thinks of his most famous pupil (Martha Argerich).
I detect pangs of jealousy in Gulda's assesment of
"Well, now he´s dead, and you should not run down dead people" Uh, yeah.....
I had to hear a sonata of Haydn played by him, and he stood there like a dying duck in a thunderstorm, it was just embarrassing. ..."
Listen to Horowitz' recording of Sonata #38 (?) in F major, 1966. It's no dead duck. But I've never liked Horowitz' Sonata #52 in Eb, either recording (30's and 80's).
Regarding Horowitz and the pre-Romantic repertoire, he had his strong points and weak points, like any pianists in any genre or style. Horowitz never made a secret of his basic dislike of and discomfort in Beethoven, but his Pathetique Sonata (1963) is extraordinary, as is a live Bach Toccata in c minor from the 1940's (urtext, not Busoni) but it seems that Horowitz had difficulty relating to German music in general, with the exception of Schumann. This isn't wrong, it's just the way he was, and he should not be criticized for it. His Scarlatti playing is unmatched by any other pianist, and it's devoid of romantic excess. In fact he was largely responsible for the Scarlatti rennaisance in the 1960's. He also championed Clementi, but no one cared; perhaps this has more to do with Clementi (uneven output imo) than Horowitz.
Anyway Mr. Gulda is entitled to his opinion (as we all are) but he really comes off like a snot.
BTW sorry about the horse
, Syntaxerror, I meant no offense, that was just my gut reaction. Now, here's a snooty opinion;
performances, now there's a dead duck!