Preview | The Magic of Horowitz - About

 

Great Performances: The Magic of Horowitz, premiering Friday, January 22 at 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), delves into the story behind Horowitz’ virtuoso 1986 Moscow concert. The documentary weaves together concert footage, including intimate close-ups of Horowitz’ agile hands interspersed with the emotional audience reactions, historical context and original interviews with Horowitz’ former manager Peter Gelb (Metropolitan Opera) as well as composer Tatjana Komarova, violoncellist Alina Kudelevic and contemporary piano virtuosos Martha ArgerichDaniil Trifonov and Sophie Pacini.

Recent meetings between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev provided hope that the Cold War was coming to an end, and Horowitz’ return to Russia was seen as a way to help open the door between the two superpowers. The concerts marked the first time in years that one of the world’s leading romantic pianists performed live on stage. Horowitz put together a demanding program featuring works by leading classical composers Scarlatti, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Schubert, Liszt, and Chopin, selected for their private meaning to him. Great Performances: The Magic of Horowitz spotlights this magnificent and historic performance.

This winter, Great Performances shines a spotlight on international music icons Maria Callas and Vladimir Horowitz with two concert documentaries exploring the stories behind the most remarkable performances of their lives, premiering Fridays, January 15 and 22, 2021 at 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/gperf and the PBS Video app. Both films are introduced by Peter Gelb, currently General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera, as well as Vladimir Horowitz’s former manager. In 1964, opera sensation Maria Callas hadn’t performed in more than two years due to her tumultuous personal life. Critics were concerned that she had lost her voice until she made her return with a sensational performance at Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden. And more than 60 years since his departure from Russia, legendary pianist Vladimir Horowitz finally made his homecoming return in April 1986 with a concert at the Great Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow.

Throughout its more than 40-year history on PBS, Great Performances has provided an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America’s most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. The series is available for streaming simultaneously on all station-branded PBS platforms, including pbs.org and the PBS Video app, which is available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast. PBS station members can view episodes via Passport (contact your local PBS station for details). Great Performances is produced by THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET. John Walker is Senior Producer, Bill O’Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.

Great Performances: The Magic of Callas and The Magic of Horowitz are productions of Sounding Images in co-production with C Major Entertainment and ZDF/ARTE. Produced by Claus Wischmann, The Magic of Callas is directed by Holger Preusse; The Magic of Horowitz is co-directed by Preusse and Philipp Quiring.

Major funding for Great Performances is provided by The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, Rosalind P. Walter, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, Seton J. Melvin, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Jody and John Arnhold, The Starr Foundation, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, the Thea Petschek Iervolino Foundation, Ellen and James S. Marcus, public television viewers and PBS.
Transcript Print

[Horowitz plays the piano] Behold the brilliant Vladimir Horowitz.

Peter Gelb: Arguably the greatest pianist of all time.

For the first time in 61 years, the 82-year-old, Vladimir Horowitz, returned to his native Russia, to deliver the kind of concert that could help thaw The Cold War.

[Horowitz finishes playing] Martha Argerich: He's the best lover the piano ever had.

Don't miss 'The Magic of Horowitz,' on 'Great Performances.'