Chapter 6.5

6. 5 CD box sets featuring unedited live recordings           

            In 2013, 2015 and 2016, Sony released some CD box sets containing unedited live recordings of his recitals. These CD box sets include many previously unreleased recordings that can be all classed as important and fundamental performances.

            In 2019 Sony released a Book "The Great Comeback" The unreleased pravate recitals preceding his historic return in 1965. This can be all classed as important and fundamental performances also.


6. 5. 1 Vladimir Horowitz Live at Carnegie Hall            

   a.   In 2013, Sony Classical released a 41-CD box set called “Vladimir Horowitz Live at Carnegie Hall.” The box set contains Horowitz’s recitals at Carnegie Hall as well as a bonus DVD. Although some of the selections had previously been released on CD, in this box set entire programs, including encore pieces, are presented musically unedited. However, there were several audio recordings on 78s and analog tapes that couldn’t be remastered, and those were excluded from the box set. The bonus DVD contains “Horowitz on TV.” The footage of this TV concert was never released as a commercial product until this edition with small exception.

Two video recording sessions were conducted on January 2 and February 1, 1968. The TV concert consisted of the recordings from these two sessions. Interestingly, the CD box set contains these two recitals on separate CDs. Forty-one CDs feature his performances in an unedited format as well as many previously unreleased recordings, which means almost all of the recordings in this collection are first-ever releases. To indicate which piece is a first release, I compiled the discography of Appendix II.5 and the repertoire list of Appendix V, adding a recital date and “CD SONY CH (CDn)” to the performances that were recorded at the venue and released on CD for the first time. “CH” means Carnegie Hall. I used this notation to indicate which CDs in the set contain such performances.

            Below I have listed the dates of his Carnegie Hall recitals contained in the CD box set.

1. 1943.4.25 (CD 1)    The Historic Broadcast (War Bonds Concert)

2. 1949.1.17 (CDs 2 & 3)*     

3. 1949.2.21 (CDs 4 & 5)*

4. 1950.3.20 (CDs 6 & 7)*

5. 1951.3.5 (CDs 8 & 9)    

6. 1951.4.23 (CDs 10 & 11)* 

7. 1953.1.12 (CD 12)*

8. 1953.2.25 (CDs 13 & 14)* Horowitz 25th Anniversary of His American Debut              

9. 1965.5.9 (CDs 15/16)     An Historic Return Recital

10. 1966.4.17 (CDs 17 & 18)*  

11. 1966.11.27 (CDs 19 & 20)*    

12. 1966.12.10 (CDs 21 & 22)* 

13. 1967.11.26 (CDs 23 & 24)* 

14. 1968.1.2 (CD 25)      

15. 1968.2.1 (CD 26)   Horowitz on TV 

16. 1968.11.24 (CDs 27 & 28)*    

17. 1968.12.15 (CDs 29 & 30)*

18. 1975.11.16 (CDs 31 & 32)       

19. 1975.11.23 (CDs 33 & 34)*

20. 1976.5.18 (CDs 35 & 36)     Concert of the Century 

21. 1978.1.8 (CD 37)       Golden Jubilee Concert               

22. 1945–1946 (CD 38)     The Private Collection

23. 1947 (CD 39)        The Private Collection

24. 1948 (CD 40)        The Private Collection

25. 1949–1950 (CD 41)      The Private Collection 

26. Bonus DVD 1968.1.2 & 2.1  Horowitz on TV  

*Out of these 26 CDs, the 13 with an asterisk (*) contain the first release of the recording. I regarded the photos of these 13 CDs as important, so I listed them in the Appendix “Important and fundamental CDs.”  

Appendix III.16 provides details of the pieces contained in each CD, with an asterisk (*) symbol next to the first release. Below are photos of the box and the accompanying booklet.


       Carnegie Hall the first release               

   Carnegie Hall BOX + Booklet  


In 2013, a 2-CD set featuring his Carnegie Hall recitals was released (see below). In Europe, a CD box set combining his various recordings was also marketed.


Carnegie Hall CDs         


The 2-CD set was an abbreviated version of the 41-CD box set above, and the European edition was released in 2014.

             Please see Appendix IV for details on his private recordings at Carnegie Hall and the “Yale Collection.”


     b.   The year 2016 marked the 125th anniversary of Carnegie Hall. Sony released a 43-CD box set called “Great Moments at Carnegie Hall” in honor of its anniversary, containing classical music concerts and performances at the hall. Three performances by Horowitz are presented in it: Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto with Toscanini on April 25, 1943, his historic return recital on May 9, 1965, and the “Concert of the Century” of May 18, 1976 marking the hall’s 85th anniversary


      CD-BOX, Book etc. 


6.5.2 Vladimir Horowitz: Unreleased Live Recordings 1966–1983 

            In October 2015, Sony released a 50-CD box set containing Horowitz’s recitals. Unlike a regular CD box, this 7 cm thick box is like a cookie box and nearly the same size as an LP. Upon opening the box, you find the CDs layered inside it.


      CD BOX of 1966-1983  


Columbia recorded nine recitals between 1966 and 1968, and RCA did 17 recitals between 1975 and 1983. Among those 17 RCA recitals, the four after 1981 were recorded using digital recording technology. 

The Columbia Live Recordings 1966–1968

1.    1966.11.13 (CDs 1/2)*  Yale University, New Haven

2.    1967.10.22 (CDs 3/4)*  Queens College, New York

3.    1967.11.12 (CDs 5/6)  Brooklyn College, New York

4.    1967.12.10 (CDs 7/8)*  Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C. 

5.    1968.4.7 (CDs 9/10)*   Symphony Hall, Boston

6.    1968.5.12 (CDs 11/12)*  Orchestra Hall, Chicago

7.    1968.11.3 (CDs 13/14)*  Yale University, New Haven

8.    1968.11.17 (CDs 15/16)*  Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C.

9.    1968.12.1 (CDs 17/18)*  Academy of Music, Philadelphia 

The RCA Recordings 1975–1983

 10.   1975.11.2 (CDs 19/20)*  Orchestra Hall, Chicago

11.   1976.2.15 (CDs 21/22)*  Paramount Theater, Oakland

12.   1976.2.22 (CDs 23/24)*  Ambassador Auditorium, Pasadena 

13.   1976.2.29 (CDs 25/26)*  Ambassador Auditorium, Pasadena 

14.   1976.11.21 (CDs 27/28)*  Powell Hall, St. Louis 

15.   1978.2.26 (CD 29)*      The White House, Washington, D.C. 

16.   1979.4.8 (CDs 30/31)*   Orchestra Hall, Chicago

17.   1979.4.15 (CDs 32/33)*  Orchestra Hall, Chicago

18.   1979.4.22 (CDs 34/35)*  Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C. 

19.   1980.4.13 (CDs 36/37)*  Symphony Hall, Boston 

20.   1980.5.4 (CDs 38/39)*   Avery Fisher Hall, New York 

21.   1980.5.11 (CDs 40/41)*  Avery Fisher Hall, New York

22.   1981.11.1 (CDs 42/43)*  Metropolitan Opera House, New York

23.   1982.5.22 (CDs 44/45)   Royal Festival Hall, London

24.   1983.4.24 (CDs 46/47)*  Symphony Hall, Boston

25.   1983.5.15 (CDs 48/49)*  Metropolitan Opera House, New York

26.   1978.9.24 (CD 50)*     Avery Fisher Hall, New York (with the New York Philharmonic) 

*Out of these 26 CDs, the 24 with an asterisk (*) contain the first release of a recording, i.e., they are all first releases except CDs 5/6 and CDs 44/45. I regarded the photos of these 24 CDs as important, so I listed them in the Appendix “Important and fundamental CDs.”

Appendix III.17.1 provides details of the pieces contained in each CD 



The edition is accompanied by a hardcover book with comprehensive track listings and an introduction by Bernard Horowitz profiling the pianist. Through the accompanying book, you can see which recording in the box set was from which LP (released by Columbia or RCA). Also, the book is interesting because it contains some episodes about Horowitz, for example, the requests he made to a hotel in which he stayed during his tour.

All the CDs, except CD 26, contain full-length solo recitals (encore pieces included). CD 26 features Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 performed by Horowitz in collaboration with Zubin Metha. The performance was broadcast on TV and was released on video, but it remained unavailable on CD until 2015. His performances in the CD box set are all unedited, so you could probably say that all of them are first-ever releases. Furthermore, three recordings that have never been released in any forms are contained in it. The three pieces are as follows:

Schumann: Carnaval Op. 9 

Chopin: Etude Op. 25-10 Octave 

 Scriabin: Prelude Op. 9-1. 

I have listed all the tracks on the 50 CDs in Appendix III.17.1, adding an asterisk (*) next to the first releases of recordings.

Also, in Appendix II.5 and Appendix V, I added “VH (CDn)” to each performance within the edition, along with each CD number. “VH” means Vladimir Horowitz.

 Although the collection features unedited selections, CDs 22, 23, 24 and 25 were made with early-stage digital recording technology. The technology was not well developed then so the quality of some recorded data decreased over time and such data became impossible to play. So, for this edition, the challenge was whether such recordings could be replaced with something. It’s said that there were multiple versions of the digital recordings of his London concert, so CD 22 was made based on them. However, for the digital recording of his U.S. recital, things didn’t go so well. To provide an immersive experience, source material that an amateur taped live was used, rather than using source material recorded in rehearsal.





6.5.3   The Great Comeback: Horowitz at Carnegie Hall

 The unreleased recitals preceding his Historic Return in 1965


In August, 2019, Sony released a book titled “THE GREAT COMEBACK” including 15CDs.


America in 1965: The country is coming to terms with John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the Civil Rights Act has just passed Congress, and war in Vietnam is escalating. And one of the world’s most famous pianists is preparing for one of the greatest comebacks in music history.

       After an absence of twelve years, Vladimir Horowitz’s return to the concert stage was one of New York’s most exciting musical events. It was 3:38p.m., Sunday, May 9, 1965, when the great pianist stepped onto the stage of Carnegie Hall, greeted by a shouting, standing ovation. It was his first public performance since he had left the same stage on February 25, 1953. The recording of his recital would be awarded with three Grammy Awards and become one of the most successful classical albums.

       In the months before the historic day of May 9, Horowitz went to Carnegie Hall – twice in January, twice in April -to play for his wife and close friends, before he decided he was ready to perform publicly. Columbia Masterworks recorded these intimate private recitals, as well as his subsequent rehearsals for his return in 1966, on tape, and they have remained almost entirely unreleased for more than 50 years. The present edition invites the listener to enter the circle of the few Horowitz Confidants who attended these event in the darkened, almost deserted hall: We hear Horowitz enjoying the freedom of improvisation in previously unheard, sparkling performances, his complete recordings in the brilliant sound of the concert hall, and many witty conversations recorded in an intimate working atmosphere. The 212-page photo book contains a vast collection of previously unseen photos by Don Hunstein, three new essays by Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic Tim Page, pianist Jed Distler and Horowitz scholar Bernard Horowitz, as well as facsimile images and full transcriptions of the conversations.

       ( From Sony Classical “The Great Comeback” 19075935332 15CDs book )

  Sony "THE GREAT COMEBACK"  front,  back covers and 15CDs


  Appendix III.17.2  provides details of the pieces contained in each CD 


There are many live recordings other than those introduced above. I have compiled a table detailing all of Horowitz’s live recordings (see Appendix VI).