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The Great Vladimir Horowitz

Vladimir Horowitz was a towering figure in classical piano. The descriptions suggest that he ran at full tilt, but never lost control. The clip above — Carmen Fantasie — is amazing for the obvious virtuosity. Many experts say that his interpretation of the music was world class as well, though his approach was not universally lauded.

This is from The New York Times’ obituary, which ran on November 6, 1989:

Reached in Tokyo today, another prominent American pianist, Emanuel Ax, said: “I knew people who worshiped Horowitz, as I did, and I knew people who hated him. But no one was indifferent. He brought the idea of excitement in piano playing to a higher pitch than anyone I’ve ever heard. For me the fascinating thing was a sense of complete control, and on the other hand, the feeling that everything was just on the verge of going haywire. It never did go over that line, but there was the sense of an unbelievable energy being harnessed, and the felling that if he ever let it go, it would burn up the hall.” (Continue Reading…)

The Bach Contatas Website provides more:

Vladimir Samoylovych Horowitz [Ukrainian: Володимир Самійлович Горовиць, Russian: Владимир Самойлович Горовиц] was a Ukrainian-born, American classical pianist. In his prime, he was considered one of the most brilliant pianists of his time. His use of tone color, technique and the excitement of his playing are thought by many to be unrivaled, and his performances of works as diverse as those of Domenico Scarlatti and Alexander Scriabin were equally legendary. Though sometimes criticized for being overly mannered, he has a huge and passionate following and is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. (Continue Reading…)

Carmen Fantasie was written by Franz Waxman for Humoresque. Below is Consolation No. 3 by Franz Liszt.

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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