Vladimir Horowitz

Vladimir Horowitz (October 1, 1903–November 5, 1989) was a classical pianist.


  • Of the Russian pianists I like only one, Richter. Gilels did some things well, but I did not like his mannerisms, the way he moved around while he was playing.
  • I was impressed mostly by Gieseking [Horowitz said in 1987]. He had a finished style, played with elegance, and had a fine musical mind.
  • I heard Edwin Fischer, who did not mean much to me. I heard another pianist in Berlin who had a big success and I thought he was awful — Mischa Levitzki. Just fingers, and you cannot listen only to fingers. There is a difference between artist and artisan. Levitzki was an artisan. But Ignaz Friedman, who I admired, was a great artist. He had wonderful fingers and a very personal, individual way of playing, even if some of his ideas were very strange to me. He had no hesitation touching up the music. I got annoyed with him at one concert when he changed the basses in Chopin's F minor Ballade. I didn't like that. For some reason he was happier making records than he was on the stage.
  • I liked him [Arthur Rubinstein] as a pianist. He was a good musician and had a fantastic repertoire. He never had a great technique, but certain things he played well. I heard him play some of the Chopin etudes, the easier ones with great panache and I told him I had never heard them played better. He said, "Do you mean it?" and I said, "Yes, I do mean it."

Quotes about HorowitzEdit

  • I don’t believe that about his Chopin, actually. I think his Chopin was extraordinarily perceptive and terribly personal. ... On the criticism of Horowitz’ Chopin, I haven’t heard that myself, but I think that comes down to taste.
  • No pianist, it is unnecessary to say, has an all-embracing culture. Like any other, Horowitz has had his specialties. Most professionals would agree that Horowitz played Rachmaninoff, Liszt, Scriabin and Prokofieff with more flair than any pianist of his time. And one of the curious things about this extraordinary technician was that he had a surprising affinity for the miniatures of the repertoire. Scarlatti; Chopin mazurkas and waltzes; isolated pieces by Schumann; salon music by Moszkowski — these he played with grace, charm and unaffected simplicity. In the larger Beethoven, Schumann and Chopin works, he sometimes would become too engrossed in detail, and at those moments his playing could sound disconnected. At times, too, the nervous intensity with which he approached music could be unsettling. Inner repose was lacking. Yet he could turn around and play Schumann's Arabesque in a calm, rippling, spacious manner, or sing out the last movement of the C major Fantasy with with wide-arched lines and a luminous quality of tone. A paradoxical and fearsome pianist.
    • Harold C. Schonberg, The Great Pianists (1987)

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