Immersed in the sound

More than 60 years after leaving Russia, Vladimir Horowitz marked his return in 1986 with a concert at the Great Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow.  One can stream videos on YouTube and other platforms of this legendary concert.  PBS devoted a "Great Performances" episode to it. 

In a program full of musical highlights, I keep returning to his opening piece: Domenico Scarlatti's Sonata K. 87 in B minor. This is another example of a piece most pianists can play - that is, they have the technique to play the notes.  But as Horowitz shows us, that's where the musical journey begins. To borrow Emily Dickinson's phrase, his performance "takes us many lands away." 

We won't reach his destination.  But that doesn't matter.  What's wonderful about music is that those of us who practice and play can aspire to approach those distant lands that Scarlatti and the other great composers discovered through their compositions.  We travel on our own musical journeys, reveling in the experience, immersed in the sound. 

 

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