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How will You Sound on Horowitz’s CD 503?

Steinway & Sons recently announced that Vladimir Horowitz’s legendary Steinway Model D continues its tour through 2014. This is a unique chance for the public to see, hear and even play the master’s favorite instrument – the Steinway CD 503 – used on his tours during his last years 1985-89.

The CD 503 has a very light and extremely touch-sensitive action. It has a crashing, thunderous bass and a transparent treble. While many pianists who have tried the piano agree that the action is even and it is a pleasure to play the instrument, it is clearly not the only magic bullet required to reach Horowitz’s level of artistic mastery.
Hear the master and his instrument in this legendary recital:

Recital: Horowitz in Vienna (1987)

Mozart Rondo in D, K. 485
Mozart – Sonata in B-flat, K. 333:
Mvt. 1: Allegro
Mvt. 2: Andante cantabile
Mvt. 3: Allegretto grazioso

Schubert – Impromptu in G-flat, op. 90 no. 3
Schubert/Liszt – SoirĂ©es de Vienne, no. 6

SCHUMANN – Kinderszenen, op. 15
1. Von fremden Ländern und Menschen
2. Kuriose Geschichte
3. Hasche-Mann
4. Bittendes Kind
5. GlĂĽckes genug
6. Wichtige Begebenheit
7. Träumerei
8. Am Kamin
9. Ritter vom Steckenpferd
10. Fast zu ernst
11. FĂĽrchtenmachen
12. Kind im Einschlummern
13. Der Dichter spricht

Chopin – Mazurka, op. 33 no. 4
Chopin – Polonaise in A-flat, op. 53
Liszt – Consolation no.3 in D-flat,
Schubert – Moment Musical in F minor, op. 94 no. 3
Moszkowski – Etincelles, op.26 no. 6

Documentary from 1985:

The Last Romantic (82 min.)

The long career of the last romantic

Described as the greatest pianist since Franz Liszt, Horowitz’s world wide career spanned nearly 70 years since his debut in 1920. Horowitz evidently suffered from anxiety and depression which led to long career breaks, especially from 1953-65 and from 1969-74.
In 1985, Horowitz returned to concertizing and recording. His first post-retirement appearance was not on stage, but in the documentary film Vladimir Horowitz: The Last Romantic. In 1986 and as a consequence of the new relation between the USA and the USSR, Horowitz returned for the first time since 1925 for concerts in Moscow and Leningrad. Following the Russian concerts, Horowitz toured several European cities including Berlin, Amsterdam, and London. The final tour took place in Europe in 1987 and his legendary recital at the Musikverein in Vienna was documented on a video which was released by Deutsche Grammophone in 1991. His final recital, in Hamburg, Germany, took place on June 21, 1987.

Reader questions

  • What, besides the unique instrument, makes Horowitz’s playing so exceptional?
  • Which is your favourite Horowitz recording?
  • If you have played the CD 503, what was your impression?


The Van Cliburn Memorial Concert 2014

To mark the one-year anniversary of the death of legendary pianist Van Cliburn, the Fort Worth-based foundation that bears his name hosted The Van Cliburn Memorial Concert in Sundance Square Plaza on February 27. In the first event of its kind, eight former Cliburn Competition award winners performed short solo recitals on the outdoor stage of the plaza in downtown Fort Worth.

The free concert was live-streamed through Cliburn.org. The participating pianists covered a competition history ranging from 1985 until 2013. Hear the full concert below.

Van Cliburn Memorial Concert – February 27, 2014 – Program:

Yakov Kasman, 1997 silver medalist (18:15)

RACHMANINOV – Sonata No. 2 in B-flat Minor, op. 36 (1913)
Allegro agitato
Non allegro – Lento
L’istesso tempo – Allegro molto

Simone Pedroni, 1993 gold medalist (44:23)

Suite from Lincoln

Steven Lin, 2013 jury discretionary award winner (1:17:30)

DEBUSSY – Selections from Suite bergamasque
Clair de lune

Fantasy in F-sharp Minor, op. 28

Maxim Philippov, 2001 silver medalist (1:41:42)

SCHUMANN – Sonata in F-sharp Minor, op. 28
Introduzione: Un poco Adagio – Allegro vivace
Scherzo: Allegrissimo – intermezzo: Lento
Finale: Allegro, un poco maestoso

Alexey Koltakov, 2001 finalist (2:11:35)

Après une Lecture du Dante

José Feghali, 1985 gold medalist (2:30:09)

SCHUMANN – Kinderszenen, op. 15
1. Von fremden Ländern und Menschen
2. Kuriose Geschichte
3. Hasche-Mann
4. Bittendes Kind
5. GlĂĽckes genug
6. Wichtige Begebenheit
7. Träumerei
8. Am Kamin
9. Ritter vom Steckenpferd
10. Fast zu ernst
11. FĂĽrchtenmachen
12. Kind im Einschlummern
13. Der Dichter spricht

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

Antonio Pompa-Baldi, 2001 silver medalist (2:59:07)

Ballade No. 2 in B Minor
Les chemins de l’amour
Paraphrase on Verdi’s “Ernani”

Alexander Kobrin, 2005 gold medalist (3:29:04)

TCHAIKOVSKY – Selections from The Seasons, op. 37b

More on The Van Cliburn Competition:

The 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and a 50th Anniversary

The 14th Van Cliburn – Merging High Quality Performance with Hi-End Technology


Volodos in Vienna

“You can keep your Lang Langs, your Yuja Wangs, your Evgeny Kissins… I’d swap their collective virtuosity for one evening of Arcadi Volodos’s consummate pianism. To my mind, he has produced nothing finer on disc than this live recital, captured in Vienna last spring.” — Gramophone Magazine

Volodos in Vienna is a recital album by Arcadi Volodos recorded live at the Musikverein in Vienna. Gramophone Magazine rated this performance in its CD version as the best instrumental recording of 2010.

The first half of the recital consists of six pieces by Scriabin and Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales. The second half starts with Schumann’s Waldszenen followed by Liszt’s “Dante Sonata” which we hear Volodos perform here:

Liszt – from AnnĂ©es de pèlerinage, Second Year: Italy

No. 7, Après Une Lecture De Dante


Vivaldi/Bach: Concerto In D Minor, BWV 596 – Sicilienne
Tchaikovsky: Children’s Songs, Op. 54/10 – Berceuse
Scriabin: Pieces For Piano, Op. 45/1 – Feuille D’Album

Reveiw in Gramophone Magazine


Yuja Wang at Verbier Festival 2013

In this 3 minute interview Yuja Wang tells us, among other things, the secret of her harmony between fingers and spirit:

Yuja Wang & Joshua Bell play Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata, 3rd mvt.

Watch the 2013 Verbier Festival concerts in free replay on medici.tv!


Barenboim’s Decca/DG Deal Opened Up for Neglected Chopin

“… one of the few musicians in the world today who could accurately be described as legendary.”
– The Times

Daniel Barenboim marked his new affiliation with Decca and Deutsche Grammophon labels in 2010 with four releases. Two releases on DG were devoted to Chopin: a solo recital recorded in Warsaw, with Waltzes, a Polonaise, a Fantasia, a Nocturne and the B flat minor Sonata, as well as Chopin’s two Concertos, accompanied by the Berlin Staatskapelle under Andris Nelsons, captured live at the Ruhr Piano Festival in July 2010. The Chopin Year 2010 coincided with the 60th anniversary of Daniel Barenboim’s stage début, and as a pianist he decided to devote this year to the great Romantic master of the keyboard. Chopin was born on 1 March 1810 in the small village Żelazowa Wola near Warsaw, and on the eve of the 200th anniversary of this date Barenboim gave this acclaimed Warsaw recital as part of an extensive European tour. Over the years, Barenboim has been criticised for neglecting Chopin and we have to go all the way back to 1981 in order to find his DG recording of the Nocturnes.

The Warsaw Recital

Recital repertoire:

Fantasia in F minor, Op. 49
Nocturne in D flat major, Op. 27 No. 2
Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 35 ‘Marche funebre’
Barcarolle in F sharp major, Op. 60
Waltz A flat major “Grande Valse Brillante”, Op. 34 No. 3
Waltz in A minor, Op. 34 No. 2
Waltz in C sharp minor, Op. 64 No. 2
Berceuse in D flat major, Op. 57
Polonaise in A flat major, Op. 53 ‘Heroique’
Mazurka in F minor, Op. 7 No. 3
Waltz in D flat major, Op. 64 No. 1 ‘Minute Waltz’

The Warsaw Recital — Philosophy of Emotion

Reader question:
What do you think about Barenboim’s Chopin interpretations?


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