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Vladimir Horowitz - The HMV Recordings 1930-1951


Release Date: 12/26/2007 
Label:  Emi Classics Références Catalog #: 63538   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Johann Sebastian BachDomenico ScarlattiFranz Joseph HaydnFrédéric Chopin,   ... 
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz
Conductor:  Albert Coates
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 3 Hours 0 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

A feast of piano-playing from one of the giants of twentieth-century pianism.

Almost without exception these performances are free from any excess and in many cases Horowitz sounds a great deal more classically disciplined than do a number of today's young pianists. Of course, one could attribute his economical use of rubato to the limited recording time afforded by each side of a 78, but one senses that his style of playing in the 1930s was rather lean and concise in terms of bending the phrasing or metre of the music.

Of the pre-romantic pieces, the Scarlatti and the Haydn are for me the most interesting. The submissive softness of the B minor Scarlatti Sonata gives way to the freakish virtuosity of the
Read more G major, and yet the group ends with the sparsely notated A major, in which Horowitz makes individual notes sing disarmingly. Haydn's largest-scale sonata, very acceptably recorded with a fullish piano tone, exudes style and incisive phrasing. The mood is lively and the artist has a complete appreciation of the structure of the work.

Sound-quality in the Chopin group is variable: the F major Etude, Op. 25 No. 3 features very distant and antiquated piano tone and there is a patch of slight pitch distortion in the C sharp minor Mazurka from Op. 50. If the E minor Nocturne, which is after all an early work, is too subtle for some (it is suffused in a Scriabin-like mystic haze), then the incomparably refined use of tone and pedalling in the first Impromptu will, I think, convince the most hardened sceptic of Horowitz's standing as a great Chopin pianist. The Fourth Scherzo confirms this opinion and the delicately dancing passages are effectively contrasted with ones of turbulent unrest. As far as technique goes, this is the best version I have heard of the piece.

Of the smaller pieces, it was the Debussy Etude and the Poulenc Toccata that caught my imagination. The bubbly textures in the former make this a reading that is fantastically compelling—the 'study' character of the piece is quite obliterated. It is also hard too to avoid using superlatives when discussing Horowitz's Schumann. The Arabeske is propelled along at a relatively sedate pace, allowing for real expressive warmth. The performance of the Toccata convinced me yet again that this piece belonged to Horowitz: Simon Barere's performances are like those of a butcher by comparison. Details are highlighted in the most incredible way, as in the amazing playing of the Presto Passionato.

So much has already been written about the classic accounts of the Liszt Sonata and the Rachmaninov Third Concerto that I shall restrict myself to commenting on the sound-quality. The Sonata is quite dry acoustically, but this heightens the razor-sharp touch of Horowitz in the virtuosic passages, whilst the glowingly evocative moods of the quiet ones are also maintained. In the concerto, which was incidentally Horowitz's first such recording, the detail of the solo part stands out pretty well against the orchestra. The piano tone is slightly 'cracked' (i.e. not entirely pure), but the Dower of the climaxes comes over well. I would like to pay tribute to Albert Coates's very real contribution to making this such a marvellous performance, and also for getting the orchestra to play so well. This is a serious reading, which does full justice to the subtler aspects of the score. Soloist and conductor work together with obvious sympathy.

The final CD is rounded off with Prokofiev's Toccata, which Horowitz introduced to the USA. It is predictably electric, the sonorities being heaped on one another at an amazing pace. Altogether, these three discs present a feast of piano-playing from one of the giants of twentieth-century pianism.

-- James Methuen-Campbell, Gramophone [3/1990]
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Works on This Recording

1. Nun freut euch, lieben Christen, BWV 734 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Date of Recording: 05/06/1934 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Ferruccio Busoni 
2. Sonata for Harpsichord in B minor, K 87/L 33 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century 
Date of Recording: 06/04/1935 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 22 Secs. 
3. Sonata for Harpsichord in G major, K 125/L 487 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century 
Date of Recording: 06/02/1935 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 7 Secs. 
4. Sonata for Harpsichord in A minor, K 188/L 239 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century 
Date of Recording: 10/11/1951 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 38 Secs. 
5. Sonata for Harpsichord in A major, K 322/L 483 by Domenico Scarlatti
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century 
Date of Recording: 10/11/1951 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 44 Secs. 
6. Sonata for Keyboard no 62 in E flat major, H 16 no 52 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1794; London, England 
Date of Recording: 11/11/1932 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 14 Minutes 42 Secs. 
7. Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 10: no 4 in C sharp minor, B 74 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832; Poland 
Date of Recording: 06/02/1935 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 3 Secs. 
8. Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 10: no 5 in G flat major "Black Keys" by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830; Poland 
Date of Recording: 06/02/1935 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 34 Secs. 
9. Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 10: no 8 in F major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829; Poland 
Date of Recording: 11/15/1932 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 23 Secs. 
10. Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 25: no 3 in F major by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1832-1836; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 05/12/1934 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 32 Secs. 
11. Impromptu for Piano no 1 in A flat major, B 110/Op. 29 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 10/11/1935 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 43 Secs. 
12. Nocturne for Piano in E minor, B 19/Op. 72 no 1 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Poland 
Date of Recording: 10/11/1935 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 37 Secs. 
13. Mazurkas (5) for Piano, B 61/Op. 7: no 3 in F minor by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/15/1932 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 24 Secs. 
14. Mazurkas (4) for Piano, Op. 41: no 2 in E minor by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 05/29/1933 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 56 Secs. 
15. Mazurkas (3) for Piano, B 145/Op. 50: no 3 in C sharp minor by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 05/02/1935 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 13 Secs. 
16. Scherzo for Piano no 4 in E major, B 148/Op. 54 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 03/09/1934 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 8 Minutes 43 Secs. 
17. Etudes (12) for Piano, Book 2: no 11, Pour les arpèges composées by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; France 
Date of Recording: 05/06/1934 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 33 Secs. 
18. L'éventail de Jeanne: Pastourelle by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; France 
Date of Recording: 11/11/1932 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 12 Secs. 
19. Pieces (3) for Piano: no 2, Toccata by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928/1953; France 
Date of Recording: 11/11/1932 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 52 Secs. 
20. Variations (32) for Piano in C minor on an Original Theme, WoO 80 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/06/1934 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 9 Minutes 29 Secs. 
21. Arabeske for Piano in C major, Op. 18 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Germany 
Date of Recording: 05/06/1934 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 6 Minutes 15 Secs. 
22. Toccata for Piano in C major, Op. 7 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829-1832; Germany 
Date of Recording: 05/12/1934 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 40 Secs. 
23. Phantasiestücke (8) for Piano, Op. 12: no 7, Traumes Wirren by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1832; Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/15/1932 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 20 Secs. 
24. Presto passionato in G minor by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1833; Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/15/1932 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Notes: This work was the original finale for Schumann's Piano Sonata, Op. 22. 
25. Harmonies poétiques et réligieuses, S 173: no 7, Funérailles by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1852; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/15/1932 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 9 Minutes 12 Secs. 
26. Sonata for Piano in B minor, S 178 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1852-1853; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/12/1932 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 26 Minutes 30 Secs. 
27. Toccata for Piano in D minor, Op. 11 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912; Russia 
Date of Recording: 12/30/1930 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 36 Secs. 
28. Tale of Tsar Saltan: Suite, Op. 57 - Flight of the bumblebee by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903; Russia 
Date of Recording: 11/11/1932 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 1 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Sergei Rachmaninov 
29. Preludes (10) for Piano, Op. 23: no 5 in G minor, Alla marcia by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1901; Russia 
Date of Recording: 06/12/1931 
Venue:  Beethovensaal, Berlin 
Length: 3 Minutes 15 Secs. 
30. Concerto for Piano no 3 in D minor, Op. 30 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Conductor:  Albert Coates
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909; Russia 
Date of Recording: 12/1930 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London 
Length: 33 Minutes 41 Secs. 
31. Pétrouchka: Three movements for Piano by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1921; France 
Date of Recording: 11/11/1932 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 16 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Sonata in G, K 125 (Scarlatti)
Scherzo no 4 (Chopin)
Pieces for Piano (Poulenc): No 2: Toccata
Arabeske (Schumann)

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