Notes from Peter Arnstein On hearing that Vladamir Horowitz's piano-the one he concertized and recored on in his last years, including his trip to Moscow - was to visit Minneapolis, I alerted Michael and he immediately suggested we snatch the opportunity and record a second Stradivarius & Steinway CD on it. The Steinway Piano Company kindly gave their permission, and I hurriedly began work on a violin and piano version of the Saint-Saens Danse Macabre based on an arrangement by Liszt that was subsequently rearranged by Horowitz, and recoded by him in 1947. I wished to employ many of the characteristics I assumed his piano would have - an extraordinarily wide dynamic range, a roaring bass, a blinding fast action which would give me the ability to play octaves at a speed I could not achieve on other pianos. I hoped Horowitz's wunderpiano would live up to it's reputation and that I would be able to capitalize on it at the recording sessions. It did and I was, and the thunderous cascades of sound and frightening speeds were a tremendous thrill. On our previous CD, I improvised a light, harpsichord-like accompaniment of whizzing scales and arpeggios for the Leclair sonata. (Modern keyboard parts for Baroque sonatas tend to be lifeless, stogy theory exercises. Baroque composers actually left only a few skeletal clues as to what was expected of accompanimental harpsichord players.) With the clear, bright tones of this piano, exploited so well by Horowitz in Scarlatti sonatas, I wanted to go even further in imitating the brilliance and lightness of the harpsichord. IN the Bach Bouree, originally from the Suite no.3 in C major for solo violincello, I invented all sorts of four octave scales and arpeggios played at top speed-hoping that on the Horwitz piano I could increase them to five octaves in tempo. Though there was no chance of rehearsal on the piano beforehand, it worked - but the notes whizzed by so fast I was never sure exactly what I was doing. The Handel sonata was equally a joy to work out, except the Largo movement. Here nothing seemed to click, no matter what we did. The straw that broke the camel's back fell while we were making a personal tape at a friend's house. Our friends insisted on listening to us play, but as the Largo began, they both departed for a break. Something drastic had to be done. Late that night I worked out a new Largo. The improvisatory flavor of the keyboard part was kept, but a tinge of Danse macabre and Horowitz's devilish musical ghost crept in, along with harmonies slightly more updated (by two or three centuries). Later, at our first recording sessions, I found out how well my intentions of bringing out the dark underside for the Largo had come across, when the two people in the control booth were convulsed in hysterical laughter after our performance. Well, it may be neither what I nor Handel intended but evidently it is not dull.