October 1 ~† Perfection Itself Horowitz: His Life and Music

"Perfection itself is imperfection." ~ Vladimir Horowitz

Vladimir Horowitz

Acclaimed classical pianist Vladimir Horowitz (1904-1989) was born on this day in Ukraine, Russia. His mother was an accomplished pianist who first taught him the fundamentals of the instrument.

A student of Sergei Tarnowsky and Felix Blumenfeld, Horowitz made his concert debut at age 17. Called the "electric lightning pianist" for his fast-play of the piano keys, he developed a unique flat-fingered technique to better emphasize and control the color of each note.

Leaving his homeland in 1925 for Berlin and the United States, each concert became a major event. Horowitz once said: "When I am on the stage, I'm a king. No one can interfer with me because I have something to do, and it has to be the best which is within me."

Inspired by the drama and brilliance of Franz Liszt, Horowitz played with the passion of what one critic called "controlled thunder." With unmatched execution and wild abandonment, he played from the heart and soon became an international concert sensation.

"Your mind must control, but you must have heart... Give your feeling free," he explained.

His romantic repertoire of flawless interpretations included Sergei Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto and Chopinís G minor Ballade. Audiences were mesmerized by maestro Horowitz's dazzling approach and the spontaneity and strength of his performances. His talent inspired generations of pianists.

In 1986, he returned to Russia for a triumphant series of concerts--his first homeland performances in 60 years. "I am a general," said the virtuoso. "My soldiers are the keys and I have to command them."

Perfection? No such thing.