NEW YORK — He had vowed never to return. But last year, at 81, Vladimir Horowitz made his first trip back to his Russian homeland in 61 years.
With adoring crowds, tearful relatives and sold-out concerts in Moscow and Leningrad, the trip reinvigorated the pianist.
"He really recharged his batteries," his friend and manager, Peter Gelb, said. "And the energy has stayed with him."
So much so that in 1986 alone, Horowitz made a new recording, gave concerts in Frankfurt and Amsterdam, performed at the White House and in December, played at the reopening of Carnegie Hall. During a single week last November, Horowitz's recordings held the top three spots on the classical music list of Billboard magazine.
Last year also, Horowitz and his wife Wanda Toscanini Horowitz allowed documentary film makers Albert and David Maysles into their home here to make what became "Vladimir Horowitz: The Last Romantic," scheduled to air in May on PBS.
Lest 1987 seem calm by comparison, Horowitz began the new year by contracting with Summit Books to write his memoirs, a project he says was inspired by his trip to the Soviet Union. As yet untitled, the book will be written in collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Harold C. Schonberg, former senior music critic of the New York Times who began reviewing Horowitz's concerts 35 years ago. Schonberg is the author also of "The Great Pianists."