5.4 The second RCA period

 Horowitz entered into a new contract in 1975. He debuted in the U.S. in 1928, reached his golden jubilee in 1978, and was active until 1983 releasing eight new recordings. During this period, he also made appearances on screen. There are video recordings of Horowitz playing Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto (Mehta, New York Philharmonic Orchestra), a recital at the White House for President Carter, a concert in London to which Horowitz was invited by Prince Charles, a studio recording in Milan, and of concerts in Tokyo, Vienna and in Moscow. See Chapter 7 for details of the video recordings. 

 The first public concerto performances in 50 years in 1978, and a 1976 concert celebrating the 85th anniversary of Carnegie Hall with other musicians (released on Columbia), which were mentioned in the previous chapter, were especially remarkable events that took place in this period. Compared to other pianists, Horowitz seldom performed together with other musicians. 

 Most of Horowitz’s recitals in New York were held at Carnegie Hall, but he held some at the Metropolitan Opera House, too. LPs released in the second RCA period are explained in order of release date in the next paragraph.


5.4.1 Eight newly recorded LPs

 The photographs of newly recorded U.S. LPs, which are explained in the following sections A to H, are shown below. These images are also provided in the supplement, “The photographic collection of important and fundamental LPs.” LPs that received a Grammy Award are marked with an asterisk (*).


     RCA  8 LPs


A. The HOROWITZ Concerts 1975/76* ARL1-1766, 1976

 On this LP there are recitals and their rehearsals that were held in Pasadena and Oakland in California. Schumann’s Grand Sonata is brilliant. As for Scriabin’s Piano Sonata No. 5, it is unrivaled.

 The LP jacket of the Japanese version of the LP is shown below. The jackets of the LP released in other countries, which are not shown here, are identical in design (except for that of Germany which has some edging). Also, the gold-lettered title on the jacket of the first pressing in the U.S. is embossed, but the title on the re-released version of the U.S. LP is not embossed. 




B. The HOROWITZ Concerts 1977/78* GOLDEN JUBILEE RECITAL ARL1-2548, 1977 

 Although this LP is titled “Golden Jubilee Recital”, Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor was not actually recorded during the recital of the title in 1978, but in St. Louis in November 1976. The sonata was so commanding that no pianist can imitate it. Indeed, Horowitz performed this piece many times in 1978, but this is not a recording of one of those performances; this LP had already been released by the end of 1977. Actually, there are LPs that were released in the U.K., Germany, and France that carry the “Golden Jubilee Recital, 1977” on the discs. Those released in France even carry the date “1927–1977”, which is also unreliable because Horowitz made his American debut in 1928. Possibly, the record company may have attempted to celebrate Horowitz’s 50th anniversary of his American debut through this record.

Two pieces by Fauré (recorded in September 1977) that are included in the second half of this LP had never been performed by Horowitz either in recitals or the studio before this “LP recital”. The success of this LP led Horowitz to play these pieces several times in recitals. At any rate, Liszt’s Sonata is outstanding. I was so impressed by the Sonata and his magnificent performance on the piano filled me with admiration. The jacket of the first pressings in Japan and the U.S. have embossed titles in a gold color on their front covers, like the LP illustrated in A above, but the titles on the jackets of the LPs produced for other countries and those of re-releases are not embossed. The jacket of the Japanese LP is a facsimile of the American LP (including the English letters on the back cover), so the images are omitted here. Instead, the LPs released in France and Germany are shown below. The U.K. jacket is almost the same in design as the American jacket, but its front cover varies slightly in the color tones.


      B   3 LPs



 Horowitz reached the 50th anniversary of his American debut in 1978. To celebrate the anniversary, a Golden Jubilee Concert with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra led by Ormandy was held on January 8. Horowitz played Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3. It was Horowitz himself who chose Ormandy as the conductor. A long time ago, the composer Rachmaninoff played Concerto No. 3 himself with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra led by Ormandy, and left his performance on some records. I believe that Horowitz chose Ormandy remembering this concert from the past and that Horowitz wished to have the same members in his concert as Rachmaninoff, the composer he admired. In this concert, the Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra played Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and Symphony No. 7. conducted by Ormandy, and after an intermission Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 was performed. The concerto has been released many times on LP and CD, but no video was recorded.

 Horowitz performed Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 also with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Mehta in Los Angeles on February 5, and with the Philadelphia Orchestra led by Ormandy in Philadelphia on April 16. In Philadelphia, Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and Symphony No. 7 were performed before Rachmaninoff’s No. 3; it is assumed that when Horowitz chose Ormandy as the conductor, he decided on the concert in Philadelphia. And it is also assumed that Horowitz initially arranged a program for the concert in Philadelphia and thought of using it for the New York concert. In other words, choosing Ormandy made Horowitz decide to have a concert in Philadelphia and then to have another concert in New York because he could not ignore New York, I suppose. The course of events could have been in the reverse—using a program made for New York was brought to Philadelphia—however, my assumption is reasonable considering that Horowitz did not rate the New York Philharmonic Orchestra that highly. On April 30, the combination of Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra was seen in a concert held at the auditorium of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. 

 The jacket of this LP is globally uniform, but that of the first pressing in the U.S. has an embossed title in a gold color and was made using a better quality paper. This LP was re-released in many countries. The jacket of the re-released LP was a little more brownish in color and made without any special finish. All the LPs re-released globally had new record numbers, which was rather unusual.

 Photographs of the program distributed 50 years ago when Horowitz debuted and of the one distributed on the day of the Golden Jubilee Concert, both of which were reproduced in the booklet for this LP, are shown here. Some LPs released in Japan had a photograph of a ticket for the Jubilee, which is also shown here.


               C        Program and Ticket


D. The HOROWITZ Concerts 1978/79* ARL1-3433, 1979

This LP contains recitals held in Chicago and Washington D.C. (and part of a rehearsal in Chicago) in April 1979. The last piece on this LP, Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No.1 (arranged by Busoni and Horowitz), is truly a masterpiece. The jackets are uniform in design except for those released in France. The back cover of the Japanese jacket remained the same as that produced for the English-speaking market. In Germany THE was changed to DIE and the back cover was translated into German. The photograph below is of the LP released in France. 




 E. The HOROWITZ Concerts 1979/80* ARL1-3775, 1980

 This LP contains recitals held in Boston and New York (and part of a rehearsal in Boston) in April 1980. Rachmaninoff’s Piano Sonata No. 2 is outstanding.

 The jackets of the LPs released in U.S., the U.K. and Germany are almost identical except for the language, but that of France unusually has a stripe on it. The design of the Japanese jacket is completely different from the others, so photographs of the French and Japanese jackets are shown here. The hands of a Horowitz sculpture in bronze were made by referring to the photograph on the jacket of this LP. As I already mentioned, the sculpture was created by a plastic surgeon, who was also an artist. When I purchased it, the creator told me that the sculpture was based on a photograph, as he pointed to this LP. 


                                       E      2LP + Hands


F. HOROWITZ AT THE MET ATC1-4260, 1982  

 This LP contains live recordings of the recital given at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York on November 1, 1981. The first piece, Scarlatti’s Sonata, was such an outstanding performance full of a gracefulness and clarity that only Horowitz would have been capable of. And the last piece, Rachmaninov’s Prelude op. 23-5, was conveyed with the aroma of the soil of Russia. The performance by Horowitz is far superior to the by Rachmaninov himself that we have on record.

 The first pressing of the U.S. LP is somewhat elaborate. Its jacket is red in color and has some patterns that look like a column chart with a wavy surface and there is a square window in the center. Inside the outer jacket, there is another jacket that shows the figure of Horowitz responding to applause in the dark. The square window on the outer jacket allows Horowitz’s figure on the inner jacket to be seen. When this LP was re-released in the U.S., the photo of the first edition’s inside jacket was used. The first pressing in Japan has the same design as the American first pressing, but it does not have the gimmick-like effect of the American LP. 


       F         MET  3 Photos        


G. HOROWITZ on TOUR ARL1-4322, 1982

 This LP contains performances given between 1977 and April 1980. During this period Horowitz performed in New York, Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Minneapolis, and San Francisco. What is more, he went to Michigan (Ann Arbor), Chicago, and Toronto twice. The performances on this LP include those recorded in the New York studio and some parts of concerts in Chicago and Boston. This LP contains Chopin’s Barcarolle. I attended a Horowitz’s performance in New York in May 1978, which started with Barcarolle. The version on this LP is not that of a recording of that concert but it was recorded around that time. So this LP reminds me of those days. This LP also includes Chopin’s Black Key. This is the piece that Horowitz recorded and released for the first time in 1934, but immediately withdrew. There is no way of finding out now what Horowitz disliked about it because there is no 78 record to compare performances. I wish I could compare the two.

 The jackets produced for the U.S. and Germany are the same but those for Japan are totally different from them. The Japanese jacket is shown below.




H. HOROWITZ in LONDON ARC1-4572, 1982  

 This LP contains the live recording of a concert held in London on May 22, 1982 and its rehearsal on May 20. Horowitz was invited by Prince Charles to perform in a concert that was being held to raise funds for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, which was constructing an extension to its original building. Horowitz flew to London by Concorde for the benefit concert and for another recital given one week later. It is said that he donated 65,000 pounds through the concert. The performance given on the 22nd was broadcast globally. For more details on the video recording, see Chapter 7, “Video Recordings.” This LP contains fewer pieces than the video recording. Six Scarlatti Sonatas, Rachmaninoff’s Sonata No. 2, and Chopin’s Waltz op. 69-1 were not included on the LP. Rachmaninoff’s Polka de W.R., which Horowitz played in response to a request for an encore, was partly videotaped and produced on DVD, but there is no LD, LP or CD. Table 10 in Chapter 7 provides more details.

 The design of the jackets was the same globally. The Japanese jacket is a facsimile of the American jacket with the English remaining in place on its back cover, and a sheet of liner notes is contained in the jacket. The liner notes are shown below.



5.4.2 Various LPs and LP sets released by RCA  

 Recordings made in the second RCA period (covered in the previous paragraph) and in the first RCA period were reproduced either on LP in different combinations or as LP box sets. No first pressings are included in this list: 

A  Vladimir Horowitz Golden Jubilee Galakonzert 2LP RL43081 (Germany) 1980

        B  Original RCA Recordings of Selections Featured on his Historic International Telecast XRL1-4329 (USA) 1982

C  Limitierte Edition 2LP zum Sonderpreis RL45289(2) (Germany) 1983 

D  HOROWITZ Rachmaninov Piano Concert No. 3 GL85262 (Germany) 1985 

E  Horowitz in Concert [1986] 7LP R244253 (USA) 1986 

F  HOROWITZ 4 Grandi Concerti per Pianoforte VH400(4) (Italy) 1987

G  “7 Pianists” Paderewski, Rachmaninoff, Hofmann, Schnabel, Rubinstein, Horowitz, Kapell 7LP RCL-1521~27 (Japan) 1985 

H  Toscanini Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 S2C-1008 (Japan) 1987

I  V. Horowitz Tchaikovsky Mussorgsky Scriabin KR11013/1-2 (Germany) ?date


          9  LPs

 To Chapter 5.5        Bach to  Chapter 5.3