Writings about Music
Phantom Puppet Poetry: Vladimir's Vicissitudes
Vladimir Horowitz performing Sonata in B Minor K. 87 for harpsichord by Domenico Scarlatti
Watching him play conjures an Indonesian puppet master choreographing masterful mazes of adventure or a phenomenal ventriloquist controlling an ingeniously designed "dummy". Other comparisons sprung to mind are a prodigious, benevolent warlock mixing and stirring magical potions in a golden pot or Bobby Fischer visualizing kaleidoscopically animated chess variations in his head. Regardless, what poetry! The musical tone colors melt and metamorphosize into splinterings and joint cohesions in tune with his percolating gatra (human body) chemistry. Under his watchful gaze, Vladimir Horowitz's ten fingers till the pianistic soil, plant seeds, and expertly water and tend while yielding superior produce for potent sensory and intellectual nourishment.
Learning of his Ukrainian Russian Jewish bloodline like myself, I recognized immediately how the thunderous and subtle sides of Vladimir’s playing are equally matched. One without the other wouldn't do. How refreshing and inspiring Horowitz (originally Gorowitz, which is a more accurate name suggesting his earthiness) possessing a technique allowing for total abandonment and uninhibited unleashing of sound when called for. (I'm lucky to be here after riding a bicycle over fifty miles an hour down winding Canadian Rockies highways while a teenager.)
Even more, given how I also learned recently of Johann Sebastian Bach's devotion to Antonio Vivaldi, going so far as to copy entire scores by hand, the influence of Italian composers on the Germanic tradition of classical music presents itself as more indispensable than ever. Not only that, I find myself taking at least equal pleasure in listening to Vivaldi and Scarlatti compared to German composers. There exists in those Italian composers' music the thrill of discovery and a certain airy purity emanating from this more southern region fed by a superior cuisine.
- Michael Robinson, June 2016, Kula, Maui
© 2016 Michael Robinson All rights reserved
Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer and writer (musicologist).