Mono HD-Vinyl 24/96 (EMI) Vladimir Horowitz – Recordings from 1930-1951

All thanks for this historic set go to Trottar
I give 5 stars for this boxset despite the old recording sound. Sound of piano itself is reasonably well for the day once you are used to the background noise, good enough to convey the subtlty and delicacy of his playing. Prokofiev’s Toccata is still fastest and most exciting on records, verging on super-human. Rachmaninov’s 3rd concerto is the best performance by Horowitz with more argency and intensity than his later recordings. The incandescent account of Liszt Sonata is one of the most compelling and beautiful along side Richter and Pogorelich’s classic accounts. Haydn and Scarlatti sonatas, Beethoven variations, Schumann’s Toccata, Chopin Etudes, Stravinsky’s Petrushka and so much more display Horowitz’ keen sense of tonal colours and mind blowing fluency of playing.

Composer: Domenico Scarlatti, Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Joseph Haydn, Francis Poulenc, Igor Stravinsky, Claude Debussy, Sergei Rachmaninov, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Franz Liszt, Frederic Chopin, Robert Schumann
Performer: Vladimir Horowitz
Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Albert Coates
Vinyl 1930-1951
Number of Discs: 3
Format: Flac
Label: EMI
DR-Analysis: DR 12
Size: 1.74 GB
Scan: yes
Server: FileFactory

Vladimir Horowitz’s early recordings, believed by some to be his finest, have been reissued numerous times since their initial appearance over 80 years ago.

Although Horowitz’s recording career began at RCA’s Camden New Jersey studios in 1928, from 1930-1936 he concentrated his recording activity in Europe (RCA’s European affiliate, HMV, had not been as decimated by the Great Depression as its American counterpart). The recordings in this collection date from that period, and also include four brief items recorded in London during Horowitz’s 1951 European tour (his only appearances in Europe between 1939 and 1982).

This reissue contains some classics. The Liszt Sonata has never been equaled and is a must for any serious collector, as is the Funerailles. It’s hard to imagine in this day and age of endless repertoire duplication that Horowitz’s version of Haydn’s E-flat sonata was a world premiere recording, but indeed it was. Its relaxed elegance continues to charm, and it remains more musicologically “correct” than Horowitz’s 1946 and 1951 live versions. Horowitz was also an early champion of Scarlatti, and the four sonatas included here beguile with feline grace, while the B minor Sonata is quietly contemplative. The pianist preferred his Bach “un-pure”, and the Choral Prelude as transcribed by Busoni is a miracle of line separation and clarity. Horowitz’s early foray into Beethoven, the 32 Variations in C minor, is more straightforward and successful than many of his later attempts with this composer.

Horowitz’s early Schumann, though technically impeccable, did not quite plumb the depths as in his later recordings. So much the better then, that the pianist limited himself to recording shorter works, including an Arabeske with unmatched legato, an effortless Toccata (superior to his spliced 1962 recording), and whimsical Traumeswirren. Originally intended as the finale for Schumann’s G minor sonata, the Presto Passionato was rejected by the composer’s wife as unplayable. Horowitz makes it sound like child’s play. (A clumsy 78RPM side change is a major distraction in this recording.)

Horowitz once referred to Chopin and “the only truly great composer for the piano” and he invariably included a selection of the Polish master’s music in his recitals. The sampling here includes four technically impeccable Etudes, four Mazurkas, and a remarkably up-tempo Scherzo in E major. Also included is a beautifully contoured opening movement from Chopin’s B-flat minor Sonata, a project which was never completed due to Horowitz’s first retirement. Had fate not intervened, this would have been one of the great recordings of the piece. (The booklet and Amazon’s listing refer to this as the Marche Funébre. Trust me, it’s the first movement.)

Horowitz also championed “modern” composers like Rachmaninoff and Poulenc, who praised his playing to such an extent (as did Prokofiev and Barber) that it belies the notion that Horowitz was a violator of the composers’ vision. His 1930 recording of Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto was the world premiere recording of that piece, and earned high marks from the composer himself. It’s easy to hear what impressed the composer: the lithe, panther-like attacks in the virtuoso sections; the melting poetry and perfectly gauged phrasing in the lyrical passages; the dramatic-through line that unifies the conception – despite the disfiguring cuts that were sanctioned by the composer. (However, the legend that Rachmaninoff stopped playing the concerto after hearing Horowitz in the piece is patently false, as the composer performed it no fewer than 24 times between 1928, when he first heard Horowitz play it, and his death in 1943 – and of course he also recorded it with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra.) Poulenc’s Pastourelle and Toccata are by turns gracious and dazzling. A thrilling Prokofiev Toccata and Russian Dance from Stravinsky’s Petrouchka is also included.

Analyzed Folder: /96k (Mono) Vladimir Horowitz on Recordings from 1930-1951
DR Peak RMS Filename
DR11 -2.01 dB -16.11 dB A1 JSB – Choral Prelude ‘Nun Freut Euch, Lieben Christen’ BWV 734.flac
DR12 -3.76 dB -20.86 dB A2 Domenico Scarlatti – Sonata H-Minor L33 – Andante Mosso.flac
DR11 -2.07 dB -16.80 dB A3 Domenico Scarlatti – Sonata G-Major L487 – Presto.flac
DR12 -3.57 dB -20.87 dB A4 Domenico Scarlatti – Sonata A-Minor L239 – Allegro.flac
DR13 -6.22 dB -23.86 dB A5 Domenico Scarlatti – Sonata A-Major L483.flac
DR13 -1.09 dB -19.24 dB A6 Joseph Haydn – Sonata Hob. XVI-52, In E Flat Major – Allegro.flac
DR13 -3.75 dB -22.72 dB A7 Joseph Haydn – Sonata Hob. XVI-52, In E Flat Major – Adagio.flac
DR12 -1.16 dB -18.48 dB A8 Joseph Haydn – Sonata Hob. XVI-52, In E Flat Major – (Finale) Presto.flac
DR12 -0.67 dB -17.43 dB B1 LvB – 32 Variations In C Minor WO80.flac
DR11 -1.93 dB -16.09 dB B2 Robert Schumann – Toccata In C Major, Op.7.flac
DR13 -1.43 dB -20.45 dB B3 Robert Schumann – Arabeske, Op. 18.flac
DR11 -1.43 dB -18.22 dB B4 Robert Schumann – Traumeswirren, Op.12 No.7.flac
DR12 -1.68 dB -17.80 dB B5 Robert Schumann – Presto Passionato No.2, Op.22.flac
DR12 -2.99 dB -17.65 dB C1 Frederic Chopin – Etude Op.10 No.4 In C Sharp Minor.flac
DR11 -2.16 dB -18.52 dB C2 Frederic Chopin – Etude Op.10 No.5 In G Flat Major.flac
DR12 -2.73 dB -19.03 dB C3 Frederic Chopin – Etude Op.10 No.8 In F Major.flac
DR11 -2.26 dB -18.82 dB C4 Frederic Chopin – Etude Op.25 No.3 In F Major.flac
DR12 -4.45 dB -21.39 dB C5 Frederic Chopin – Mazurka No. 7 In F Minor, Op.7 No.3.flac
DR11 -2.78 dB -18.86 dB C6 Frederic Chopin – Mazurka No.27 In E Minor, Op.41 No.2.flac
DR11 -3.21 dB -20.16 dB C7 Frederic Chopin – Mazurka No.32 In C Sharp Minor, Op.50 No.3.flac
DR12 -1.84 dB -18.56 dB C8 Frederic Chopin – Impromptu No.1 In A Flat Major, Op.29.flac
DR12 -1.67 dB -17.78 dB C9 Frederic Chopin – Scherzo No.4 In E Major, Op.54.flac
DR12 -0.54 dB -17.05 dB D1 Sergei Rachmaninov – Piano Concerto No.3 In D Minor, Op.30 – Allegro.flac
DR11 -2.12 dB -17.38 dB D2 Sergei Rachmaninov – Piano Concerto No.3 In D Minor, Op.30 – Intermezzo.flac
DR11 -0.86 dB -16.63 dB D3 Sergei Rachmaninov – Piano Concerto No.3 In D Minor, Op.30 – Finale.flac
DR13 -0.87 dB -19.43 dB E Franz Liszt – Sonate In B Minor.flac
DR12 -1.10 dB -18.49 dB E1 Franz Liszt – Les Funerailles.flac
DR12 -4.32 dB -22.16 dB E2 Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov – The Flight Of The Bumble-Bee.flac
DR11 -1.77 dB -17.84 dB E3 Sergei Rachmaninov – Prelude In G Minor, Op.23 No.5.flac
DR12 -3.37 dB -20.90 dB E4 Claude Debussy – Etude No. 11.flac
DR10 -2.71 dB -17.32 dB E5 Igor Stravinsky – Petrouchka- Danse Russe.flac
DR13 -3.46 dB -21.73 dB E6 Francis Poulenc – Pastourelle.flac
DR11 -2.22 dB -18.20 dB E7 Francis Poulenc – Toccata (3 Pieces Pour Piano, No.2).flac
Number of Files: 33
Official DR Value: DR12

Ripping Info


  • Pre Amp: Audio Research SP15
  • Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
  • Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
  • Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
  • Software: iZotope RX 5 Advanced, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
  • Super light de-clicking with iZotope, significant clicks manually removed, never de-noising
  • DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
  • Converting Wave -> Flac: Twisted Wave 1.9
  • Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5


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