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Keskusteluja Horowitzin kanssa (1991)

– tekijä: David Dubal

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut
621344,325 (4)-
(Book). Evenings with Horowitz details a special friendship between two musicians. The book is a vivid account of their mutual passion for music and the piano. It reflects the struggles and triumphs of Vladimir Horowitz, a flaming genius who was also insecure and fearful of old age and the loss of his powers. In his conversations with the author, the Maestro reveals the agony and the ecstasy of a pianist's career and his love and awe for the great composers whose music he played. "Dubal, broadcaster, concert pianist, and faculty member at Juilliard, draws upon his knowledgeable background to produce a fascinating portrait of the brilliant and electrifying pianist Vladimir Horowitz ... Discussions ensued on repertoire, stylistic interpretations, tastes of audiences, other famous pianists, favored composers, and even such non-musical topics as care of animals, modern-day presidents, and American youth. Dubal provides a rare and intimate glimpse of Horowitz and illustrates the precariousness of accommodating the temperament of a genius." Library Journal… (lisätietoja)
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David Dubal

Evenings With Horowitz: A Personal Portrait

Birch Lane Press, Hardback, 1991.

8vo. xxvi+321 pp.

First published, 1991.

Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Author to Reader
Chronology

1. The First Twenty-two Years
2. Horowitz Conquers the World
3. An Early Retirement
4. The Triumphant Return
5. The Second Coming
6. My First Visit With the Maestro
7. The Greatest Paws in the World
8. Horowitz Decides to Visit Julliard
9. Horowitz and Schumann Merge
10. Getting the Right Tempo
11. ''I Like to Improvise''
12. The Cocktail Pianist
13. Horowitz Talks Music
14. From Darkness to Light
15. New Year's Eve
16. Hanging by a Thread
17. Reconciliation
18. The Perfect Encore
19. Off to Russia
20. The Concert Heard Around the World
21. Back Home
22. A Presidential Invitation
23. A Recital in White House
24. ''I'm a Good American''
25. Mozart is My Life
26. The Search for the Perfect Cadenza
27. The Arm-Wrestling Champ
28. The Bow-Tie Award
29. The Rubinstein Rivalry
30. Listening with Trepidation
31. Rachmaninoff: The Horowitz Icon
32. On Old Age
33. Horowitz and Rock-and-Roll
34. Paderewski: The Noblest Spirit of Them All
35. Brahms: The Little B
36. Horowitz and I Dine Alone
37. Scaling the Ivory Tower
38. Murray Perahia Plays for Horowitz
39. The Composer Comes First
40. Andras Schiff Visits East Ninety-fourth Street
41. The Five Hundred Dollar Bet
42. The 500 000th Piano
43. After the Gala
44. Horowitz Teaches
45. The Birthday Party: Horowitz at Eighty-Five
46. The End of a Friendship
47. The Passing of the Maestro
Afterword: An Appreciation
Horowitz on Compact Disc: A Discography
Index

==========================================

Evenings With Horowitz by David Dubal is a strange book, but I venture to claim that it is indispensable for the library of every real admirer of Vladimir Horowitz, especially considering the scant literature on the great pianist. Mr Dubal's book is by no means a biography. It's something like a biographical portrait inspired by the numerous evenings the author spent with Horowitz and his wife, Wanda Toscanini, daughter of the legendary conductor. It seems that in the late 1980s, for about three years or so, Mr Dubal was a very close friend of the famous couple, one may even say he was on intimate terms with both Horowitz and Wanda, at least as much as such thing was ever possible.

About an year before the death of the great artist, Mr Dubal ended their friendship abruptly on the ground that he felt himself exploited and treated without the due respect; the main cause of the rupture, unbelievable as it seems, was that the author had not been allowed to bring his girlfriend to the parties organized by the Horowitzes while everybody else was accompanied by a friend or a spouse. Certainly Mr Dubal had the right to feel exploited but, on the other hand, he exploited Horowitz as well: he used to bring many of his students in Julliard to meet the Maestro, for their benefit for sure but doubtless also for his own hero status among them as well; his private meetings with the Maestro, usually accompanied with a good deal of piano playing in his own apartment on his legendary Steinway, were most certainly the greatest moments in David Dubal's life and an honour few ever had. Naturally there should have been a substantial price to pay.

Moreover, these meetings gave Mr Dubal material for a whole book. I am sure the author of Evenings With Horowitz is intelligent enough to realise that if anybody remembers him after his death, it will not be for his activity as a pianist, teacher, broadcaster or writer, but solely because he knew Vladimir Horowitz personally and few years after his death he decided to share with us this ''personal portrait'' of him.

I have read a good deal of criticism about David Dubal's writing in this book from many people and they have a point here, even if they often exaggerate a good deal. It is obvious that Mr Dubal is very much pleased with himself and sometimes his ego threatens to burst out the pages. But it never does. Although from time to time David reminds us blatantly about his tremendous career as a piano teacher and broadcaster as well as about his outstanding knowledge of the piano literature, he never looses the focus - and the focus of his book definitely is Vladimir Horowitz, not David Dubal. It is also true that the writing style is far from great and sometimes may well seem perfunctory and not really serious, especially when Mr Dubal insists on writing in very short paragraphs that make the text seem fragmented and loose. But it is commendable that the author tries to explain everything and everybody that occurs in his conversations with the Maestro and in doing so he makes his book suitable for any newcomer to the field (like myself).

It should also be noted that occasionally Mr Dubal is in the habit of writing with a lot of affectation which may well be sincere but which is nonetheless quite odious. His Discography in the end of the book, in addition of being totally dated, is actually one long, never-ending spiritual orgasm in the most flowery prose imaginable that is just as unreadable as anything could be. His sexual ''interpretation'' of Horowitz's recordings of Scriabin's music is quite obscene, almost pornographic, in nature.

Despite all these defects, Evenings With Horowitz is hugely readable and contains a lot of fascinating things about Vladimir Horowitz himself, his personality and his life, his reflections on history of music, many great composers, the art of interpretation and the art of piano in particular. It is very much to Mr Dubal's credit that he never spends too much time on private matters although he touches them here and there. He also provides good if a bit perfunctory and not quite accurate biographical background of Horowitz's life until the beginning of their friendship.

If anything, first and foremost David certainly has a real affection for the person and a huge admiration for the artist. He is by no means all praise but when he criticizes he is commendably brief and far from the maliciousness that characterises many pieces of writing about Horowitz one may encounter. It is not rare that one finds in the book a startling insight into the complicated personality of Vladimir Horowitz or his unique interpretations (or should I say recreations?) at the piano. Of course he was extremely vain, quite spoiled and tremendously egoistic; he had to be since he was also a genius and an artist of unique originality. At any rate, I doubt that Horowitz really was so much more spoiled, vain or egoistic than most people are; as usual with the great, if his faults look sometimes bigger than usual it is mostly because they were scrutinized and publicized far more than they should have been.

It is just wonderful that Mr Dubal always concentrates on the music. He is one of the very few writers about Horowitz who says bluntly that the great pianist was first and foremost a great musician and then - only then - a great technician; that albeit hardly very intelligent he wasn't the fool most people thought he was, judging by his often extremely infantile behaviour in his late years; that he knew huge amounts of music and assiduously studied it, together with the lives and personalities of those who composed it century or two ago. I am sure it would be fascinating for every fan of Horowitz to read, to give just one example, that as late as the late 1970s - when Dubal first met the Maestro personally - there were plans for recording Grieg's Piano concerto and Ballade. Now, this is quite amazing since not only did Horowitz never record a single note of Grieg for 60 years or so recording career, but he probably never played a single piece of the famous Norwegian composer in public after his graduation from the Kiev conservatory in 1920. Or one might be impressed - at least I certainly was - that the Maestro knew by heart and played brilliantly in private a Piano concerto by Chopin he had never performed in public. And so on, and so on - there are great many such examples revealing precious bits of Vladimir Horowitz's powerful, original and completely inimitable musical personality.

Of course while reading the book one constantly asks oneself - at least if one is as cynical as I am - how much of all that really is true and how much is due to Mr Dubal's imagination. It's fine that the author obviously cannot resist the temptation to boast with his immense knowledge on history of the piano and its literature. It's also fine if he dramatized that a little bit or if he exaggerated his importance as teacher, broadcaster or scholar. That's all too human and perfectly all right. He may also have attached a far greater importance to the real one that his friendship had for Horowitz. Indeed, it almost seems that the great pianist died about an year after the rupture almost exclusively because David Dubal had left him.

I daresay it must be pretty hard writing about intimate friendship with a legend of such magnitude as Vladimir Horowitz, a force of nature and a force of genius that dominated the piano world for half a century or so. There is no possible way that one can know how accurate Mr Dubal is in his representation of the Maestro with all his oddities and eccentricities - unless of course one knew Horowitz personally and intimately. Most of us never had such an opportunity, so we have to rely on circumstantial evidence from here and there as well as on faith. On the whole, I believe that Mr Dubal is honest and exact in his personal portrait of the Maestro. Sometimes he is astonishingly candid with himself too, or at least it seems so.

Still, some facts stated by the author really are a trifle fishy. The impact that Mr Dubal had on Horowitz's repertoire and concert programs, for example, is somewhat suspicious. If the author is to be believed, Horowitz never played Rachmaninoff's G minor prelude on his famous Moscow recital in 1986 and he chose Moszkowski's Etincelles as one of the encores entirely due to Mr Dubal's persuasion. Also, the decision of Horowitz to record a Mozart concerto in the end of his life was also inspired by Mr Dubal who even proposed and provided Busoni's cadenza which can be heard on the recording.

All this may or may not have been so. In any case these details are of minor importance. In general, I am inclined to believe that Mr Dubal did a fine portrait of Vladimir Horowitz, at least as fine as any portrait of such a colossal artist and complicated personality can be. It is essential and indispensable for every real admirer of the great pianist. It is candid but not blatant, it is personal but it doesn't harp on painful personal matters, it states many all too human defects in the personality of the great man but it never elaborates unnecessarily on them.

Most importantly, Mr Dubal's personal portrait is always concentrated first and foremost on the music and on the piano which actually was Vladimir Horowitz's whole life and the only thing he ever really did need. Despite a purple prose here and there, Evenings With Horowitz is hugely readable and not a little entertaining, constantly spiced with the Maestro's extravagant personality but also (and much more) with his profound musical wisdom and absolutely unique artistry. A fine tribute to a really great man.

P. S. It should be noted in passing that the book is finely illustrated, including facsimiles of several programs from legendary concerts of Horowitz like his American debut in 1928 or his historic return in 1965. Perhaps the most amazing photo is one of the middle aged Horowitz sitting together on the piano with the notorious pianist and showman Oscar Levant. Both are with their backs to the keyboard, have cigarettes in their hands and pretty crazy expressions in their eyes. The body language makes it clear who is the master of the piano and completely convinces the reader that Levant and Horowitz must have been great virtuosos at their best - which was canceling concerts in the last minute. ( )
1 ääni Waldstein | Jan 13, 2010 |
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (3)

(Book). Evenings with Horowitz details a special friendship between two musicians. The book is a vivid account of their mutual passion for music and the piano. It reflects the struggles and triumphs of Vladimir Horowitz, a flaming genius who was also insecure and fearful of old age and the loss of his powers. In his conversations with the author, the Maestro reveals the agony and the ecstasy of a pianist's career and his love and awe for the great composers whose music he played. "Dubal, broadcaster, concert pianist, and faculty member at Juilliard, draws upon his knowledgeable background to produce a fascinating portrait of the brilliant and electrifying pianist Vladimir Horowitz ... Discussions ensued on repertoire, stylistic interpretations, tastes of audiences, other famous pianists, favored composers, and even such non-musical topics as care of animals, modern-day presidents, and American youth. Dubal provides a rare and intimate glimpse of Horowitz and illustrates the precariousness of accommodating the temperament of a genius." Library Journal

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