Let’s finish the week where we began, with a powerful live-concert recording of the legendary Russian-born American pianist, Vladimir Horowitz (1903-1989). This performance of Sergei Rachmaninov’s Prelude in G minor, Op. 23, No. 5 concluded Horowitz’ November 1, 1981 recital at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House.
Completed in 1901, the Prelude in G minor opens with the same kind of spirited march we hear in the opening movement of Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances. Moments of soaring, heroic bravura are a reminder of the threads which connect Rachmaninov to an earlier pianist-composer, Franz Liszt.
A youthful Horowitz performance, recorded on this 1926 piano roll, may show a greater overall technical accuracy. But there is a raw, demonic energy and expressive power at work in the live performance which takes over and draws us in. It demands that we listen, and renders superficial analysis meaningless.
- Rachmaninov: Prelude in G minor, Op. 23, No. 5, Vladimir Horowitz, (Horowitz at the Met) Amazon