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Legendary Berlin Concert - 18th May 1986 [Live]

Vladimir Horowitz Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Performer: Vladimir Horowitz
  • Audio CD (November 23, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Sony Classics
  • ASIN: B002SF9YAC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,568 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Applaus (Live)
2. Sonata in B minor, L 33 (K 87) (Live)
3. Sonata in E major, L 23 (K 380): Andante (Live)
4. Sonata in E major, L 224 (K 135): Allegro (Live)
5. Kreisleriana, Op. 16 (Live)
6. Soirées de Vienne No. 6: Valse caprice d'après Schubert (Live)
Disc: 2
1. Prélude in G major, Op. 32/5: Moderato (Live)
2. Prélude in G sharp minor, Op. 32/12: Allegro (Live)
3. Étude in C sharp minor, Op. 2/1: Andante (Live)
4. Étude in D sharp minor, Op. 8/12: Patetico (Live)
5. Années de pèlerinage II (Italie): No. 5 Sonetto del Petrarca No. 104 (Live)
6. Mazurka in A minor, Op. 17/4: Lento ma non troppo (Live)
7. Mazurka in F minor, Op. 7/3 (Live)
8. Polonaise in A flat amjor, Op. 53: Maestoso (Live)
9. Kinderszenen, Op. 15: No. 7 Träumerei (Live)
10. Valse oubliée No. 1 in F sharp major (Live)
See all 11 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Tapes of this storied 1986 concert-his first in Berlin in 50 years-were recently found, and excitement has spread about this release just as it did back when the concert was announced. Unpublished photos and notes about Horowitz's complex relationship with Berlin join Sonata in B Minor Scarlatti; Kreisleriana Schumann; Prelude in G Minor, Op. 32, No. 5: Moderato Rachmaninoff; Mazurka in F Minor, Op. 7, No. 3 Chopin; Valse Oubliee No. 1 in F Sharp Major Liszt his entire performance!

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Horowitz conquers Berlin February 26, 2010
Format:Audio CD
Despite returning to studio recording in 1985, a number of Vladimir Horowitz's live recitals have been released over the last two decades: Two from Milan in 1985, Moscow (on both CD and video) and Leningrad from 1986, Vienna (on video) and Hamburg (his last recital) in 1987. This recital from 1986, Horowitz's first concert in Berlin (then known as West Berlin) since 1932, is in many ways the best of the bunch.

The Scarlatti Sonatas are by turns sober, sprightly, and bouncy. The biggest piece is Schumann's Kreisleriana, and the performance really coheres, belying the fragmentary nature of the work. Despite a few wrong notes and some blurring at points, Horowitz's treatment of Kreisleriana's more demanding passages proves that the technical achievements of his 1985 studio recording were no editorial trick. Horowitz must have been in love with the Schubert-Liszt Soirees de Vienne, he played it at every one of his 1985-1987 concerts. The piece brings out Horowitz the charmer, nearly a forgotten commodity these days.

There is a minor fumble in the Rachmaninoff G Major Prelude, (where the right hand crosses over the left) but Horowitz covers it up in a way that will have knowledgeable listeners smiling. The remaining Rachmaninoff and Scriabin pieces go without incident and are more technically stable than Horowitz's Moscow performance. Liszt's Sonetto del Petrarcha is more organic, less sectionalized than the Moscow performance, with a slight reduction of bravura in favor of poetry - and ravishing pianissimos. Those pianissimos also feature in Liszt's Valse oublieé, given as an encore.

It was in Berlin where Horowitz's performances of Chopin Mazurkas in the 1920s led to the headline "Our Piano Culture is Reawakened.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Memorable concert February 2, 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The Horowitz discography has been amended again by more latter-day performances that are just now being released. Fans of VH will obviously take note at the sheer number of duplicate performances of many of these pieces from his last years. To date there must be at least a dozen commercially available recordings of Schumann's Traumerei alone. Or the Chopin Op. 53 Polonaise. The Schubert-Liszt Soiree Waltz too. It's fascinating how different each version is. It is true that he never played the same piece twice in the same way. Not even two days apart for that matter. (The famous Moscow telecast and the lesser-known, lo-fi, Leningrad boot concert is evidence of that!)

Let's first observe the obvious: there is a sheer number of technical mistakes in this concert. VH was no perfectionist and he admitted it publicly. There was no attempt to scotch-tape takes from other sources to these performances. That's what RCA and CBS did during his lifetime. Nonetheless, VH has always had a spell on his listeners with his musical communication - as flawed as it could be. His performances largely transcended the technical errors. Not many musicians could ever get away with this. And this live concert is no different.
The Kreisleriana had been rerecorded in the studio the previous year. This version (and other available boot live versions that have been floating around form the same time) could not be more different. And certainly it is substantially different than his 1969 studio recording. There is some sign of technical struggle for VH, but basically this night he is quite 'on' and storms through with a lionhearted passion. It is certainly one of the 'free-ist' renditions one will ever hear! The Liszt, Scriabin and Chopin items all display similar spontaneity and zest.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A recital to make you think and feel September 1, 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
When he stepped on the stage of the Berlin Philharmonie in May, 1986, Horowitz was 82 years old, and yet the audience expected him to deliver the same magic as he had since just after World War I. For those of us who are not experts in Horowitz, it's easy to think of him as a a brand name (as we do his father-in-law, Toscanini), a one-size-fits-all performer. His trademark was dazzlement dosed with quirks and eccentriciities that used to be common currency in the golden age of touring virtuosos modeled after Liszt. On both counts the aged Horowitz was still reliable, although at reduced energy, reduced for hi, that is. This version of Kreisleriana starts off cautiously, with nervous fingers, and then holds together at a level of quiet charisma, to coin a phrase.

For me, nothing on CD 1 sent a chill down the spine until the second half of the Schubert-Liszt waltz, where I was suddenly drawn in, not by Horowitz's power - he was always one to dominate an audience by force - but by the whimsy and ease of light, fast passagework; he always kept his ability to make the percussiveness of the piano turn to liquid in his hands. Also, since I get restless whenever Horowitz indulges in too much abrupt contrast - his trick of adding an electric shock to familiar music - the more settled quality of the aging Horowitz is appealing. Once he switched to Sony, the pianist was often given harsh, glaring sound, so I'm happy to second the earlier reviewers who note that this time around everything sounds quite beautiful, with no hint of digital edge.

All the composers on the program were those he had interpreted for decades, but here interpretation means that they got the full Horowitz treatment.
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