C1871. PRADES FESTIVAL, Vol. VII: PABLO CASALS, JOSEPH FUCHS, LILLIAN FUCHS, CLARA HASKIL & MARCEL TABUTEAU: Bach & Mozart; w. MARIA STADER: Cantata 202- Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten; w. MIECZSLAW HORSZOWSKI: Piano Concerto #1 in C (Beethoven); Interview with Pablo Casals in French. (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-1140, Live Performances, 1953, Abbaye Saint-Michel de Cuxa. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"The first Prades Festival was held in 1950 to mark the bicentenary of Bach’s death and to coax Casals out of retirement. Several of the world’s most notable musicians attended, and Columbia was on hand to record the proceedings….The quality of the recorded sound is fine and the audience very quiet. The performances also have one endearing quality of broadcast recordings from the 1950s: there is no editing."
- David Radcliffe, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, March/April, 2007
"Mieczyslaw Horszowski, a pianist whose performances were admired for their elegance, reflectiveness and clarity of musical intent in a career that lasted more than nine decades, made his debut as a child prodigy, playing a Beethoven concerto in Warsaw in 1901, and continued giving concerts and making recordings until last year. He was not so famous as Arthur Rubinstein, Vladimir Horowitz or other elder statesmen of the keyboard in the late 20th century. But he always had a strong cult following, and in recent years his reputation and audience blossomed anew as a younger generation discovered him through a recent series of recordings that reveal his special mastery of the works of Chopin, Mozart, Schubert, Debussy and Bach.
He was also greatly esteemed by his colleagues. He was a frequent chamber-music partner of the cellist Pablo Casals. He first performed with Arturo Toscanini in 1906 and continued appearing with him until 1953. When he was seeking an American foothold at the start of World War II, Rudolf Serkin invited him to join the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Throughout his career, he gave recitals with the violinists Joseph Szigeti and Alexander Schneider, the cellist Janos Starker and the tenor Askel Schiotz. And he outlived them all, winning a place in the musical record books for the span of his career.
In 1899 he began his formal studies with Theodor Leschetizky, a legendary virtuoso whose students included Ignace Paderewski, Artur Schnabel, Benno Moiseiwitsch, Ignaz Friedman and other great pianists who flourished in the first half of the 20th century. By 1903 Mr. Horszowski, then 11, was touring Europe and making an impression on some of the great musicians of the day. Around this time he became friendly with Casals, Rubinstein and the violinist Jacques Thibaud, and he performed for the composers Ravel and Fauré.
At the start of World War II, Mr. Horszowski came to the United States by way of Brazil. He eventually settled in Philadelphia, where he joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute. Among his more distinguished students were Seymour Lipkin, Anton Kuerti, Peter Serkin, Murray Perahia and Richard Goode.
Mr. Horszowski performed widely from the 1940s on, and he undertook a few marathon projects. In the 1954-55 season, for example, he played all of Beethoven's solo piano works in 12 recitals. In 1960 he played all the Mozart sonatas in four concerts.
From the 1940s through the early 1970s, Mr. Horszowski collaborated with other musicians nearly as much as he performed as a soloist. He was a regular visitor to the Casals festivals in the village of Prades, France, and in San Juan, P.R., and he performed with Casals at the United Nations in 1958 and in a televised concert at the White House in 1961. His collaborative performances were often as impressive as his solo recitals. When he accompanied the Polish bass Doda Conrad in Schubert's WINTERREISE in 1942, for example, he played the lengthy, detailed cycle from memory.
Listening to even his very last recordings, one would not have had the impression that he was ever unsure about anything. Among his finest recordings are a set devoted to the first book of Bach's ‘Well-Tempered Clavier’ released by Vanguard in 1981, and a series of mixed recitals recorded by Nonesuch in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
In recording the Nonesuch series, and in presenting his final recitals, Mr. Horszowski rarely provided a program in advance, but instead played the works that moved him at the moment. The result was the kind of pure, unforced musical expression that gave the impression that the music was being improvised on the spot.”
- Allan Kozinn, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 24 May, 1993
"These historical recordings are a vital link to the 19th Century attitude toward chamber music because many of the older musicians who played at Prades in the 1950s came of age towards the end of the 19th Century [offering] a great deal of extremely creative music-making…."
- Elaine Fine, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, May/June, 2003