Reviews

New York Herald Tribune, March 18, 1947






               Paul Bowles (1910-1999) review of Borovsky's Carnegie Hall recital, November 17, 1947




Jacob Suskind, reviewer of the Montreal Star, wrote (June 14, 1965): "It is a measure of Alexandre Borovsky the artist that in the twilight of his career he continues to explore new music and throw out new ideas for those intelligent and interested enough to listen. Most pianists over the age of seventy turn to the music they played first - Bach and Beethoven. Borovsky, still as alert mentally as ever, seeks new field to conquer...those who remained for the second portion of the program were treated to a rare performance of the Debussy Preludes Book 1. Borovsky's ideas may be unconventional but they are never merely capricious. There were moments of great beauty and flashes of illumination that made the music seem completely new. For an encore Borovsky returned to one of his first loves, the music of Bach.  Here he played with a simple eloquence that showed how great a master he was at his physical prime."





New York Times review by Richard Aldrich of Borovsky's 
Carnegie Hall debut recital, October 17, 1923 
 
In the Musical Courier of December 28, 1922 Herman Liamann, music reviewer writes,
"Occasionally in the midst of scores of concerts, most of which are only mediocre quality, we are reminded of the adage, that while, "many are called, but few are chosen." One of the chosen, musically speaking of course, is the Russian, Alexander Borovsky, who certainly is a rising star in the tonal heaven. One must hear him play Bach in order to admire his precision, clear articulation, dynamics and colorful shading. But not only does he excel in the classics, for he seems to be a born interpreter of modern music, especially of the Young Russian school. His success here was a genuine one."
As Borovsky did not make his American debut until 1923, I assume the critic is speaking of his European and South American tours. 


Borovsky filmstrip photo clip with reviews. In 1930, Louta Nouneberg produced a silent film, "The Piano Revealed By the Film." She invited many famous pianists to perform in her film. Borovsky performed Chopin's Etudes Op 10 No 5, "Black Key Etude," and Op 25 No 2 in F minor.  Every measure was filmed of the pianist's hand position and then printed above each measure of music. There was a musical text and explanation of technical peculiarities in a piano interpretation with b/w illustrations and text in French and German. Max Eschig later printed each score following production of the silent film. 



Reviews from the Musical Times (England):
August 1, 1921
"Amongst the several interesting concerts in Paris which lately have taken place was a recital given by  M. Alexandre Borovsky, a virtuoso whom Paris has readily accepted. With the left hand the Russian pianist obtained effects whochw ere almost orchestral in their richness of tone, this being particularly noticeable in the Bach-Strahdal Concerto in D minor."


August 1, 1922
"Three new pianists have created vertible sensations at Vienna this season: Alexander Borovsky (who is a Russian), Edward Erdman, and Walter Gieseking, radical modernists all three, and all three equally remarkable each in his own individual way. Borowsky is, perhaps, the most intellectual and Erdman the most temperamental among the three, and Gieseking the most polished."

July 1, 1925
"Among the outstanding performances of the past month Alexander Borovsky's five pianoforte recitals devoted to music of the 18th and 19th centuries are particularly noteworthy. In a preface appended to the programme Borovsky marks the decline of romanticism in contemporary music, and outlines its tendency to revive 18th-century aesthetics. Many of Borovsky's assertions correspond doubtless to a feeling that daily becomes stronger, both among musicians and public. More than his theories, however, Borovsky's playing wins unalloyed admiration. He is powerful as few pianists are nowadays, and the would-be coldness in the performance proceeds from his rigorous style, which contains feeling, but does not neglect the exigencies of intelligence and the dictates of clarity.  Furthermore, Borovsky is to be thanked for the very large part allowed to his programmes to advanced music. This needs courage--as well as contempt for easy success."

April 1, 1926
"M. Alexandre Borovsky gave the first of five recitals at Aeolian Hall on March 16.  N. Borovsky has great power and breath of expression. His playing of Beethoven's Sonata, Op 111, was remarkable--boldly conceived and subtly expressed. In the six etudes by Scriabin which followed--not the later and more abstruse Scriabin, but Early works--his playing was of a comprehensive character, whether graceful, fiery, or romantic. A player who has something to say worth hearing."

February 1, 1931
 (I believe this is in Germany)
   
At Erich Kleiber's third symphonic concert the novelty was Albert Roussel's Piano Concerto, Op 36, finely played by Alexander Borovsky. This composition, rather more a symphonic piece with a very complicated pianoforte obligato part than a concerto proper, has few chances of becoming popular.  In its exclusive, aristocractic attitude, its masterly use of material, its finely balanced form, its exquisite culture of taste, it will, however, appeal to progressive musicians."

 



New York Times review of Borovsky's March 28, 1941 Carnegie Hall concert (first local appearance in ten years)



March 29, 1941 Carnegie Hall review by Miles Kastendieck



April 17, 1943 AMERICA: Review of the Week of upcoming Borovsky recital April 21 in Town Hall


 
Montreal, Canada Recital, February 16, 1950


Carnegie Hall Debut recital, October 17, 1923


My thanks to Shalva Tskhovrebadze for the translation from "Communist" newspaper, January 6, 1928 of the following review:

Tbilisi has been familiar with the amazing talent of Alexander Borovsky ever since 1912 - that is when Borovsky was debuting with still uncertain but yet brave steps on the concert field. The concert that we listened to on January 4 of this year manifeste, that A. Borovsky has earned righteously the title of a fabulous pianist and found his place among highly qualified artists. It is impossible to assess A. Borovsky in comparison with those famous pianists who caught attention of the society recently, as the character of their creative work is different. For example if it is characteristic the highest academicism to Egon Petri, and satanic range to Lev Sirota, the work of Alexander Borovsky is characterized by highest emotionality, combined with excellent pianist techniques. In general there is a big change in Borovsky's creation: we knew Borovsky when pianism, that is the perfection of technical accomplishment, was the most important goal for him, and today we see that he is so much armed, that his previous goal - pianism - has been transformed only in helpful resource in his hands to achieve the highest artistic goal and today he subjects us, not only with best technical accomplishments (it is to note the dynamical expansion of sound, defense of the independence of the sound, artistic use of pedal etc.) but with amazing peculiarity and emotional experience.

Borovsky has proved all above mentioned and diversity of his talent and musical culture both by his concert program and by accomplishing this program. Accomplishment of the first part of the concert that included classical pieces like polyphony of Bach's prelude and fugue, mastered by the giants of musical technique and pianism--by Liszt and Busoni--is a big difficulty and responsibility, as it requires to confirm the geniuses of above mentioned classics, in a way, so that pianism would not overshadow Bach's originality and at the same time, pianism should not become a victim of originality's defense. Borovsky did not only resolve this challenge, but he intertwined with it, and transmitted his own emotional experience and musical erudition. He demonstrated even stronger and amazing range while completing work of composer Liszt (Sonata in B minor) especially in those parts including polyphony.

Striving for synthetic realism in music was represented in the program of the concert--via composer Claude Debussy, and by accomplishment of his four pieces. The audience was delighted by the concert, as it gave birth to the illusion intended by the composer, especially in "General Levine" and in "Gardens In the Rain." But the total victory over the audience was accomplished by playing 10 etudes and a polonaise of Chopin. This victory owes not to the technical perfection, but to the strong emotionality, peculiarity and musical taste that exploded for the playing. In sum the concert was very interesting and fruitful for developing musical taste in wide masses. 


A review of Borovsky's concert in MERCUR new theatre, Copenhagen, January, 1957





Music review by Olin Downes (1886-1955) of New York Times, January 30, 1925 of Borovsky's recital in Aeolian Hall, January 29, 1925

Borovsky in Recital
     Alexander Borovsky gave his only recital of the season in New York yesterday afternoon in Aeolian Hall. His program was varied and it contained one element of exceptional novelty. This was the arrangement and performance by Mr. Borovsky, for the first time in America, of the Carnival from Stravinsky's "Petrouchka." The arrangement is remarkedly brilliant and resourceful; it also makes heavy technical demands upon the pianist. Whether such an arrangement accomplishes any very valuable artistic purpose - whether, in other words, the music of Petrouchka does not but remain unheard when Stravinsky's orchestra is lacking- is a question for another occasion.
     It was interesting to observe that without Stravinsky's orchestration, reduced to the bare colors of the piano, and divorced from the spectacle on the stage, this Petrouchka music still proved itself, still retained it's astonishing vitality and its graphic depiction of the life of the crowd at the fair. As for Mr. Borovsky, he twice proved himself unreducible by normal intellect, and having done this he proved that he was among the relatively limited number of pianists who could perform the arrangement, once it has been successfully committed to paper.
     The other composers on the program were J.S. Bach, Rameau, Scarlatti, G. Auric, whose Sonatina was played for the first time in America; A. Lourie, whose "Children's Corner," dedicated to and derived from Debussy, had a similar distinction, and Chopin and Liszt. Borovsky was represented by the Liszt version of the Prelude and Fugue for organ in A minor, the Gavotte from the G minor English Suite and Prelude of the Chorale for organ in G minor in Busoni's extremely brilliant version.
     The finale of the fugue was impressive, and the fugue itself was played with exemplary clarity and rhythm, but without much variety of color; it was in the Bach-Busoni piece that Mr. Borovsky gave most, perhaps to the composer. He then executed an almost perfect miniature in his piquant and crystaline performance of Rameau's "Rappel des Oiseax." There followed the Scarlatti gay sonata in A Major and the aria from the organ concerto in D minor, variously ascribed, by some to Vivaldi and by others to W.F. Bach. It may be said in general that in passages of marked grandeur and sonority, and rather curiously in the fine finish of the old French pieces, Mr. Borovsky excelled, while in other passages, tone and dynamics were inclined to be of one quality.
    Auric's Sonata is another of the smart attempts at humor and childishness that the most sophisticated French musicians now affect. One Frenchman has done it successfully, but has not yet been successfully imitated. He is Maurice Ravel whose Sonatine is a gem of its kind. The last movement of the "Children's Corner" of Lourie has charm-echoing as it does, the rain that fell once in a certain Debussy garden. The performance of the Chopin Berceuse lacked atmosphere, but that of the C sharp minor Scherzo was heroic in spirit and mold. This was the recital of admirably equipped musician and pianist, who, however, had not always the tonal charm and the capacity to evoke poetic mood which some of the music demanded. 

                     from the Chronicle of the (Russian) Journal "Musical Contemporary," 1915-1917
1916-5th Concert of Russian Musical Society, #14, pp 9-10
   ...."Having already shown himself as an excellent pianist in Scriabin's concert, this time Mr. Borovsky proved as a perfect artist again, showing fine tone, excellent technique, vigour and spirits. Rimsky-Korsakov's Piano Concerto in C-sharp minor, Op 30, was played by him, maybe not in the composer's style, but maybe closer to Scriabin; but nevertheless his performance prepossessed by its completeness, elegance and brilliance. The pianist succeeded and played one of the Sonnet Petrarch of Liszt with great style and Etude in D minor by Scriabin marvelously in addition to the program.

1916- #17, pp 16-18
    Glazunov's piano works were presented by his Sonata No 2 in E which appeared undeservedly seldom in concert programmes...Having already shown himself to good advantage, Borovsky performed the Sonata excellently.  He has easily overcome it's numerous difficulties, resulting from it's unpianistic passages and overflow of polyphony, and has shown truly artistic temperament.
He is received warmly by the public and had to play in addition to the program (Scriabin's) Etude C Major and Prelude in D-flat Major.

1916- #19, p 33
   First Anniversary of Scriabin's death in the Small Conservatory Hall, sponsored by the editorial 'staff of Journal Musical Contemporary' a programme of Scriabin with A.K. Borovsky.


                                                       Borovsky in Buenos Aires, October 14, 1940
                                                                                   



                                            New York Times, January 11, 1942 of music critic, Noel Strauss, of Boston Symphony Orchestra concert at Carnegie Hall, Borovsky performing Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No 1 in B-flat minor
                                                                    

                                          Carnegie Hall Review, March 17, 1947 by Howard Taubman
                                                                                 
                                                                
                                                  Montreal review, February 17, 1950
                                                                      



July 3, 1950 review of Liszt's Piano Concerto in E-flat with Alexander Smallens, conducting New                                                         York Philharmonic at Lewisohn Stadium
                                                                                 
Musical notes about the concerts of A.K. Borovsky in Russia, after his departure,  (my thanks to Olga de Kort for her translation).
     " The visit of A.K. Borovsky is the most great event in musical life of Kishinev for the last 18 years--and this is the period I write the music reviews in Kishinev.
          I am afraid that the Kishinev citizens must wait for the next such event for at least 18 years more, and perhaps even longer, because the world virtuoso's come to us only by accident.
        This visit of A.K. Borovsky was such an accident, and I doubt if he was delighted with our public...
        When Borovsky seats at the piano, he looks like a good magician who, with his eyes and fingers, tries to evoke joy for everybody out of the keys and is glad himself at general joy produced by his art.
         The performance of Borovsky is for us, the out-of-the-way listeners, an obvious and simple example of what is called a genius virtuosity.
            A.K. Borovsky is master of piano. It means that his technique is so perfect that a listener, and even a watcher (and there are a lot of simple watchers between the concert visitors) doesn't notice the difficulty with which a virtuoso overcomes and overrides a music piece and an instrument. Everything like natural, simple, easy. This is the real virtuoso technique.
            The dynamics...Borovsky evokes real thunders from the piano and at the same time there is no impression of sound limit. Power without over straining. The real power as if it limits itself. And an endless amount of dynamic gradations from fortissimo to pianissimo, a kaleidoscope of dynamic effects.
            Timbre. Many famous pianists are told about as: 'He makes his piano sounds as an orchestra.'
         By Borovsky the piano sounds as an orchestra, and as its individual instruments, and as a human voice, as rustles, and as rustling, and as an organ, and finally as...a piano. It is very, very much, and Borovsky can do it.
         To speak more about the elements, we mention the one which is called, 'volume,' in other words the unusual subtle feeling of measure which creates a perfect phrase, absolutely completed in its volume proportions, absolutely harmonious in space. If it's possible to use a spatial concept to music.
            But people talk often about architecture, which is so related to music, in temporal terms.
         Here is a rough sketch, which can be made if we line the inspiring picture, drawing by Borovsky at the podium, with right lines.
                The rest in his performing art can hardly told in words.  The rest is music.
             Chaliapin told me that the real music begins somewhere there, behind the notes, and it cannot be expressed by nothing but music. 
             To my opinion, the best description of such music in the world literature can be found in "War and Peace," in description of Natasha's singing.  But Tolstoy told there also not about the Natasha's singing but about the impression it made on the audience.  L. Tolstoy was very musical and knew what the music was, 'malgre tout.'
              I remember one of the very famous pianist on tour playing "Petrouchka" in the sa,e Eparchial Hall several years ago, and our public, got used to the harmony, laughed sincerely at the Stravinsky's harmonies.
                When A.K. Borovsky has finished playing "Petrouchka," it caused a storm of delight
            When the copper tubes sounded in the finale of "Appassionata," the audience was shuddering, shaken, though it didn't even know that that was the famous Beethoven sonata. (It's very important) and was sure, due to a small misunderstanding, that a Scarlatti sonata was played..
          The audience listened spellbound to fugues and chorales of Bach (what almost never happens), because A.K. Borovsky played Bach tremendous simple and expressive; because he understands the mystery of Bach's polyphony.
                    The programs of three concerts of Borovsky were consisted of pieces of musical art from the 17th century till our days; of all styles, schools and directions and all of them were equally clear and convincing.
                 Following the famous formula determining ' what the art is' we must admit that A.K. Borovsky created the real art for our public; he conceived, conquered and let follow him.
                              Thanks to the destiny having brought A.K. Borovsky to us.
                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                 SADKO
                               
          
                              
                         
                              
                           
                         
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