Chapter 6

6.  CDs                   

In 1982, Sony, Philips and others jointly developed CD (Compact Disc) technology. CDs are smaller than LPs, and you don’t need to flip the disk over in the middle of play. In addition, CDs are easier to handle, so they soon became popular. Also, a CD doesn’t need a turntable, unlike an LP. As CDs became widely available, turntables were no longer needed and gradually disappeared. So the analog age of the 78s, 45s, and LPs ended and the new age of digital technologies emerged. 

The first CD technology digitalized audio in a 16-bit format, which recorded sound every 1/44,000th of a second at 65,000 different strength levels. The dynamic range of hearing in this format was more than 90 dB, providing much better quality than that produced by analog technologies. Later, advanced formats like 20-bit, DSD (Direct Stream Digital), 24-bit, and SACD (Super Audio CD) were developed. 

During the mid-1980s, small computers were developed and started to be used as personal computers (PCs). The price of PCs declined over time so PCs became widely available at home as well as at work. Then, around 1995, the Internet gained popularity among general users. Consumers used to purchase a CD in order to listen to music, but now they just download music from the Internet.

            Even though times have changed, many CDs of Horowitz’s output continue to be released. And it is now easier to buy his CDs than ever before. In the past, one had to go to a record/CD shop to get his records or CDs. Even if one went to a shop, there was no guarantee that one would be able to find what one wanted. However, consumers these days can expect to buy rare CDs around the world via the Internet and have the purchased items delivered direct to their homes.

            Horowitz’s performances have been released on CDs by various labels: EMI, RCA/BMG/JVC, CBS/CBS Sony/SONY Classical, Deutsche Grammophon and Naxos. I have covered all the CDs released by these labels in a different section.

            Some of these CDs contain pieces that have been released for the first time ever, and others contain recordings of his recitals that have never been made public before. In 2013, the unedited recording of his performance in Carnegie Hall came out as part of a 41-CD box set. The CD box set also contained private recordings of his performances from 1945 to 1951. Plus, in October 2015, a 50-CD box set was released that contained unedited recordings of 25 recitals held mainly in the U.S. from 1966 to 1983. These will be further discussed later.

            A big challenge for me was how to classify the CD collections of his performances. Some of them were reproduced from his recordings on 78s, and others were produced with state-of-the-art high-quality sound. Recently, his performances tend to be on in many different CDs as part of a range of content. I have decided to collect all the CDs that include his performances — even if only one piece by Horowitz is on them. So I have had to categorize everything including CDs that only contain a single piece by him. The first aim in this task was to differentiate the CDs that were comprised of his performances alone from those that contained performances by other pianists as well. The second step was to identify the record labels because there are CDs released by major recording companies that had a formal contract with him, as well as CDs released by minor labels. Though major labels have released some CDs using the same content, several different versions exist such as first and later editions, and 20-bit/DSD/24-bit/SACD remastered editions. You can see how I classified all these CDs in the following sections. 

In Chapter 2, I covered the LPs and CDs on which Horowitz’s performances on piano rolls were reproduced, so I start the next section by introducing the CDs that reproduced his performances that were recorded on 78s.

I put together a list of the most fundamental and important CDs that contain pieces by Horowitz and this is reproduced in the Appendix “Important and fundamental CDs.” The pieces included in this photomap are listed in Appendix III.

            Appendix II.5 contains a discography of his CDs. Out of all the pieces performed by him, I have listed the ones released on CD, and provided as many CD numbers as I could in the discography.