Horowitz: His Life and Music

Harold C. Schonberg, Author
Harold C. Schonberg, Author Simon & Schuster $27.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-72568-6
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For former New York Times music critic Schonberg, romantic pianist Vladimir Horowitz (1904-1989) was this century's ``most potent and electrifying virtuoso,'' and also a neurotic genius. The temperamental recitalist went through six years of depression and self-loathing beginning in 1932, the year he married Wanda Toscanini, daughter of the famed conductor. Wanda, described here as bitchy and abusive but also fiercely protective, frequently fought with her husband. A hypochrondriac, Horowitz went to spas for imaginary ailments and had an unnecessary appendectomy. His retirement during the years 1953-1965 was prompted, according to Schonberg, by a search for identity and a belief that he had become a flashy showman. Horowitz's sexual preference for men is mentioned in passing. His emotionally disturbed daughter Sonia died in 1975 from an overdose of sleeping pills, feeling rejected by her uncaring father. Filled with wonderful anecdotes, this intimate biography reveals the positive and negative points of Horowitz's personal life, character and playing style. The book, based in part on interviews with Horowtiz taped in 1987, also includes a discography. Photos. Music Book Society main selection. (Nov.)
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