Vatican Recital & Beethoven Masterworks


Classical music was created by geniuses, and the lucky few who were near them could witness how inimitable they were and are. Beyond these individuals there arose a proliferation of hypertrophied egos, management, commercialization, and other menaces to art. Mieczysław Horszowski performed for ninety-one years and was mostly overlooked by the record industry. Hundreds of Beethoven recordings fill the marketplace yet this pianist's teacher was guided by someone close to Beethoven. His mother had also been taught by Chopin's assistant so again, he is very close to music's origins. No wonder Horszowski could fearlessly project the improvisational fire within Beethoven's variations, some of which resemble what would later inhabit jazz and ragtime. It takes a genius to play another genius's creations and whenever Horszowski played a composer, his body language altered to channel their sounds and speak their unique languages. In 1940 Horszowski was eager to get out of fascist Europe and gave a recital for Vatican Radio. Wondering if the network was as careful as their library, Arbiter traced their archivist who said that it was only a few days earlier that day a pile of reel-to-reel tapes were about to be disposed when a pianist noticed Horszowski's name written on the spine of a box. It was rescued and survived a playback for digitalization. The machine was new technology, fresh from Nazi Germany. News of its discovery provoked a New York Times article: "Rare Treasure Found in Vatican Trash." With Horszowski (1892-1993), all that he plays is new music. Horszowski's genius drew on these deep musical currents and was furthered by his attending Henri Bergson's lectures on philosophy in Paris, all growing into an art that brought classical music to its highest level. Works from Rome include Chopin's 1st Ballade, Funeral March, Berceuse, Impromptu no.1, Liszt's Two Legends, and a Franck chorale, all newly restored. In addition, stunning New York and Philadelphia concert performances of Beethoven's Waldstein Sonata, Eroica & Diabelli Variations have come to light and are published here for the first time. Recorded 1940-1975.