Vladimir Horowitz – The Last Recording (1989) (20-Bit Digital Recording)
Sony Classical | 1989 | Classical | EAC RIP | FLAC+CUE+LOG+HQ-Covers (400Dpi) | 160Mb+20Mb
It is truly amazing to think that Horowitz was 86 years old when he made this recording. The virtuoso passages of Chopin that require fingertip pyrotechnics are played with flawless precision and a sense of nuance and shading that is exquisite. At his very best, Horowitz took music to a level where he made the piano into his palette and painted a marvelously subtle musical picture. On the slower passages, every note and even the intervals between the notes exhude a calm self-assured artistry. This is not just wonderful music; it is sheer poetry. As Murray Perahia writes in his touching essay in the CD insert, Horowitz felt that what made a composer truly classical was "an intensity and purity of expression where every note matters, every note has meaning." One certainly hears and feels that intensity and purity on this CD.
There is also a noticeable improvement in sound quality on this CD, that was recorded digitally, in comparison to earlier Horowitz recordings I have heard from the analog era. How fortunate we should all feel that he lived into the digital era and was still playing at such a sublime level into his final years, so that he could leave us this musical legacy. My personal favorite on this CD is track 6, the "Fantaisie-Impromptu, Op. 66 of Chopin, which is played with dazzling scintillating brilliance and, at the same time, superb control, subtlety, and deep emotion. However, a close second for me is the tenth track, Liszt's "Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen" a Prelude based on a theme from Bach's Cantata No. 12. Horowitz's performance of this composition is achingly beautiful. The CD booklet has an excellent essay by Murray Perahia in English, with German, French and Italian translations. A wonderful CD and fitting memorial to one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century.