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Horowitz's recommended recordings

Published September 28, 2003

Vladimir Horowitz's recordings span some six decades, from the late 1920s through 1989. The recordings he made during his self-imposed sabbatical in the 1950s and early 1960s are perhaps the best, and most artistically satisfying. But several of his later recordings, made in concert, are also worthy for their fire, and sometimes their excess as well. For an insider's view of the great pianist, I recommend David Dubal's entertaining Evenings with Horowitz, just reissued by Amadeus Press with an accompanying CD of Dubal's talks with the pianist.

Sony Classical has recently issued a comprehensive nine CD set that retails for $221. Individual CDs from the set are available at about $19 apiece. For more information and a list of all the recordings, go to,, and For more information on Horowitz, here's a useful site: ON CD:

The Historic Return: 1965-66 Carnegie Recitals (Sony 53461 - three CDs) This is the "doctored" version; Sony has also just issued this set as a centennial edition with Horowitz's mistakes restored (Sony 93023).

Vladimir Horowitz: A Reminiscence. (Sony 89669) A compilation of encore pieces, including works of Scarlatti, Scriabin and Chopin.

Horowitz Rediscovered. The 1975 Carnegie Hall Recital (RCA Red Seal CD 8287650749) Jon Samuel's engineering tries to capture the more intimate, softer side of the Horowitz sound. Includes his most affecting performance of Schumann's Traumerei.

Toscanini Conducts Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 (Music and Arts 1077) Horowitz in a thrilling live performance with his father-in-law, the great Italian conductor, in October 1948.

Vladimir Horowitz: Discovered Treasures (Sony 48093) Several unusual items here, not released in Horowitz's lifetime. A remarkable performance of Medtner's Fairy Tale, the only recording of this composer he made.

Horowitz at the Met (RCA Victor Red Seal CD 09026633142) Recorded live at New York's Metropolitan Opera House. A smoldering performance of Liszt's B minor Ballade.

Horowitz. The Last Recording (Sony 45818) Horowitz at his most indulgent, recorded only days before his death. Works of Wagner-Liszt, Chopin and Haydn.

Rachmaninoff: Concerto No. 3. Two interesting recordings of a piece he recorded several times: RCA 09026636812 with Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, a memento of Horowitz's mid 1970s comeback with orchestra; and Music & Arts CD 965, in a blistering (but not so pristinely recorded) performance with Serge Koussevitzky and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Horowitz: The Celebrated Scarlatti Recordings (Sony 53460) A must-have for Horowitz collectors.

Horowitz plays Rachmaninoff (RCA 7754-2CD) A white hot reading of the B flat minor sonata, recorded live in 1980, as well as an exceptionally rich performance of the Concerto No. 3 with Fritz Reiner and the RCA Victor Symphony (1951).


Horowitz: A Reminiscence. Sony Classics. A marvelous look at the pianist's life and career, with abundant musical samples and conversation.

Horowitz in Moscow. Sony Classics. A moving tribute to Horowitz upon his return to Moscow in 1986, his first visit there in more than 60 years. Includes the complete recital at Moscow's Bolshoi Hall.

Horowitz: The Last Romantic. MGM/UA. A film by the Maysles brothers. A revealing look at the maestro at home and in his daily and concert life.

[Last modified September 25, 2003, 14:34:57]

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