In March 1987, pianist Vladimir Horowitz embarked on an extraordinary project. For the first time in 35 years, he agreed to record with a symphony orchestra in a studio. He chose the conductor, Carlo Maria Giulini, the orchestra, the La Scala Philharmonic, and the location, the Abanella recording studio of La Scala in Milan. Horowitz steadfastly refused to allow the month-long sessions to be filmed, until the evening before the last scheduled session when he unexpectedly changed his mind. His manager, Peter Gelb, immediately telephoned Albert Maysles and Susan Froemke in New York, the co-filmmakers of Vladimir Horowitz: The Last Romantic. That same night, the Maysles film crew flew from New York.
The film includes a complete performance of Mozart's Concerto No. 23 in A Major. Also included are cinema verité scenes of Horowitz preparing for recording, reviewing the tapes with Giulini, talking with his wife, Wanda Toscanini Horowitz, and giving an impromptu press conference for a group of visiting European critics.
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