Horowitz's supreme virtuosity gives the idea of a game, not a struggle: with him the essence of virtuosity reappeared.
"Only success can absolve me. And is right the success that condemns me to their eyes."
Thus Liszt wrote in 1839 to Marie d'Agoult, who had told him about concerns expressed on him by Chopin and Berlioz.
The success for Horowitz bursts like a bomb in 1926: in Hamburg, then in Paris, then in Rome, in London, in Berlin, in New York.
By the end of the 20's he was already one of the greatest and best paid concert performers in the world.
A resounding success: before the age of 25 Horowitz reached the peaks of world celebrity, and never came down.
Horowitz's virtuosity had something surreal, almost inhuman: in every virtuoso passage there was always a degree of speed, strength, clarity more than that for which one had been enthusiastic before.
His octaves, for example, his very famous octaves, seemed artificially produced.
His supreme virtuosity gave the idea of a game, not a struggle: with him the essence of virtuosity reappeared.
He was a virtuoso such as has not been seen for a long time.
He had learned from Felix Blumenfeld all that the Russian school had gathered for about seventy years in terms of virtuosity.
But there were many great virtuosos in the world at that time. Russians and non-Russians. And Horowitz would not have become famous so quickly if the alchemy of sounds had not entered his virtuosity: the timbre of his sound could be magical, unheard of.
Pages like Mendelsshon's Spring or Debussy's Serenade for the doll can also be addressed by young students or amateurs: Horowitz has found trinkets to gild and embellish for an audience greedy of chimeras and amazement.
Horowitz had a lively sense of concert as an entertainment and a show.
The atmosphere of his concerts was not that of the bourgeois evening in which an audience eager to get a culture went to learn something.
The "aura" seems rather that of an illiterated public but of a highly refined education, which enjoys a fleeting moment of oblivion and ecstasy.
The public is not, for Horowitz, a master, but an emperor, educated in the most exquisite ways, which must not be disappointed or bored.
Debussy's Serenade for the doll from the Children's Corner suite had the preciousness of Easter eggs that Fabergè and his goldsmiths, from 1885 to 1917, created for the Tzar, with gold and precious stones, as an Easter surprise for the Tzarina.