The cause was AIDS, said Steven Gray, his companion.
Mr. Villa was born in Garfield, N.J., on Aug. 9, 1948, and studied at the Juilliard School with Sascha Gorodnitzki. He later studied privately with Claudio Arrau and Olga Barabini, and he made his debut in a recital at Alice Tully Hall in 1972.
Mr. Villa recorded several albums of works by Liszt. One was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque Liszt in 1978. He also made recordings of works by Scriabin and Saint-Saens. As an accompanist, he gave performances with the sopranos Jessye Norman and Victoria de Los Angeles, the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and the violinists Joseph Fuchs and Eugene Fodor. And he was a frequent participant in chamber music performances at Bargemusic in Brooklyn.
Liszt: 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies Played by 19 Great Pianists
Performer: Alexander Borovsky, György Cziffra, Mischa Levitzki, Ervin Nyiregyházi, Solomon Cutner, et al.
Composer: Franz Liszt
Audio CD (October 24, 1994)
Number of Discs: 2
Label: Video Artists Int'l
Amazon: Liszt: 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies Played by 19 Great Pianists
After hearing Moiseiwitsch play the repeated notes in the first section faster and cleared than any performance I have ever heard, including Horowitz's own arrangement, I knew I was in for a treat. What followed is worth the price of the disc alone, Nzirehagzy playing the third making it sound as revered as late Beethoven. Another unexpected surprise was Joseph Villa's performance of the Carnval at Pest, easily the most difficult of the set, pulled off with apparent simplicity. The only unfortunate thing about this disc is the lack of Horowitz, though not the fault of the Producers. I also wondered, beyond Friedman, which is mentioned in the notes, how they could choose Levitsky over Gilels, which made me think that in some cases they were choosing antiquity over actual performance merits. But overall, this compilation finally serves these misunderstood pieces(which I was also quilty of writing off) --Charles R. Hall Jr.
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