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Do they still hate Horowitz?: The "last romantic" revisited

Hamilton, Kenneth ORCID: 2020. Do they still hate Horowitz?: The "last romantic" revisited. Journal of Musicological Research 39 (2-3) , pp. 246-271. 10.1080/01411896.2020.1774755

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Few pianists have been as acclaimed or as abominated as Vladimir Horowitz. Long ago the subject of a notorious hatchet-job by Michael Steinberg in the New Grove Dictionary of Music, and of an equally trenchant, if undeniably wittier, defense by Richard Taruskin in the New York Times, Horowitz’s playing polarized critical opinion in a manner clearly unattainable by polished mediocrity. But now, nearly thirty years after his death, the time is finally ripe for a reassessment of his artistry and public persona, not least because of the recent release of dozens of live recordings from the later decades of his career. These recordings not only allow a hitherto unattainable overview of Horowitz’s pianism, but prompt a reevaluation of his earlier discography. Moreover, they provide evidence for an analysis of the myths surrounding the art of interpretation in general. Horowitz was routinely castigated by critics for alleged crimes against acceptable practice, while idolized by audiences for many of the same reasons. A reappraisal of Horowitz’s legacy serves to evaluate its place in the history of pianism and seeks to illuminate competing esthetic perspectives on the art of interpretation itself, arguing that for nearly two centuries many pianists and critics have been missing the point: some supposedly purely musical issues in performance practice have as much to do with concepts of ethics and ownership, authority and morality, as with art.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
ISSN: 0141-1896
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 March 2020
Date of Acceptance: 4 March 2020
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 18:24

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