A career the NY Times declared was over

A career the NY Times declared was over


norman lebrecht

May 18, 2022

From a eulogy for Alexander Toradze by Joseph Horowitz:

I was reminded, after a fashion, of a malicious review filed by a colleague during my New York Times tenure in the late 1970s. This was someone who loathed a Toradze performance. His review declared Toradze’s career over – he was a pianist no longer in demand by audiences or orchestras, the Times’ readers were informed. When I next encountered my colleague, I felt the need to inform him that I knew Alexander Toradze rather well, and that he was an “exceptional human being.” My colleague replied in a casual sing-song: “I’m sure that’s true.” This ended our exchange with the glib sentiment: So what? — it doesn’t matter. But it did matter, and it does….

Read on here.


  • msc says:

    I’m a bit puzzled by the chronology — given that Toradze won second prize in the 1977 Van Cliburn, that was not much time for his career to be over. Regardless, it would be a boring world if every critic agreed. I don’t see how anyone could not be impressed by Toradze’s fire and power (and, sometimes, subtlety, when called for, as in his Scriabin).

  • David K. Nelson says:

    You could establish a rather nice record collection made up exclusively of artists the NYT has dismissed and written off over the years/decades.

  • MacroV says:

    I’m sure he was a lovely man and indeed a formidable pianist, based on the several times I heard him. But not necessarily to everyone’s taste. And count me among those who really didn’t care for his rendering (as opposed to rendition) of the Tchaikovsky Concerto.

  • Ludwig's Van says:

    The snarky NYT critic Bernard Holland was mortally offended by any pianist possessing monstrous pyro-technical abilities, and he shot them down at every opportunity (or at least he thought he did). But any critic who thinks they can manipulate the music industry is purely delusional. Toradze had a very distinguished career, despite the nasty naysayers.

    • Novagerio says:

      I’m somehow glad idiots like Bernard Holland were not alive when Horowitz played Tchaik’s First in NYC in the late 20s.

      • A Pianist says:

        No but they were alive to rip apart his interesting textural adjustments to Mussorgsky Pictures, for changing a single note in a score that was obviously a work in progress. Agree with them or not such individualism and creativity is in short supply.

    • A Pianist says:

      I came here to say exactly this. I’m sure that was Holland. What a miserable hater he was. And he was not exactly taken seriously within the industry.

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