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Prokofiev, Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos / Janis, Kondrashin


Release Date: 02/15/1994 
Label:  Mercury Living Presence   Catalog #: 434333   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Sergei ProkofievSergei RachmaninovRobert SchumannFelix Mendelssohn,   ... 
Performer:  Byron Janis
Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Although the original 3-track 35mm magnetic film sources for these early-1960s recordings are missing, the 3-channel half-inch master tapes sound quite lifelike, detailed, and dynamically varied as experienced in surround-sound. More importantly, they capture pianist Byron Janis at the peak of his artistry. His gaunt yet penetrating sonority and tremendous fingerpower come home to roost in the Prokofiev Third Concerto's big fortissimo chords and brilliant, whimsical passagework. Kyril Kondrashin's pointed, alert podium support proves a key asset, in spite of the Moscow Philharmonic's papery brass section.

I've always admired Janis' first recording of the Rachmaninov First Concerto for RCA for its coiled objectivity and
Read more stellar orchestral framework, courtesy of Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony. However, the Mercury remake stands out for Kondrashin's more pronounced yet organically conceived tempo contrasts. These in turn galvanize Janis' stylish bravura to greater heights, even when the orchestra is not playing (the first-movement cadenza, for example, yields nothing to Richter nor even to the composer's own jaw-dropping virtuosity).

The solo selections impress no less. Janis plays the Prokofiev Toccata like music rather than the empty-headed showpiece too many pianists make it out to be, while the Schumann and Mendelssohn works offer a wide degree of nuance within Janis' circumscribed color palette. If any disc can bring audiophiles and pianophiles together, this is it.

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 3 in C major, Op. 26 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Byron Janis (Piano)
Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917-1921; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/1962 
Venue:  Bolshoi Hall, Tchaikovsky Cons., Moscow 
Length: 26 Minutes 49 Secs. 
2.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Byron Janis (Piano)
Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891/1917; Russia 
Date of Recording: 06/13/1962 
Venue:  Bolshoi Hall, Tchaikovsky Cons., Moscow 
Length: 24 Minutes 51 Secs. 
3.
Toccata for Piano in D minor, Op. 11 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Byron Janis (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912; Russia 
Date of Recording: 06/1962 
Venue:  Bolshoi Hall, Tchaikovsky Cons., Moscow 
Length: 4 Minutes 6 Secs. 
4.
Sonata for Piano no 3 in F minor, Op. 14 "Concert sans orchestre": 4th movement, Quasi variazioni by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Byron Janis (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835-1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/24/1964 
Venue:  Fine Recording, New York City 
Length: 7 Minutes 16 Secs. 
5.
Songs without words, vol 5, Op. 62: no 1, Andante espressivo in G major "May Breezes" by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Byron Janis (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1962 
Venue:  Bolshoi Hall, Tchaikovsky Cons., Moscow 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 
6.
Scenas infantis by Octavio Pinto
Performer:  Byron Janis (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Brazil 
Date of Recording: 06/1962 
Venue:  Bolshoi Hall, Tchaikovsky Cons., Moscow 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Too Much Janis To Digest On One CD's Listening ! January 25, 2013 By Barbara  Freeman (Lloyd Harbor, NY) See All My Reviews "Having the Prokofiev at last available on CD is great listening. But who wants to then be subjected to the Rachmaninov right after this.? One has to savor and reflect on Janis's masterful playing of the Prokoviev for the rest of the day. With the old LP, when the work ended, that was it! I never bothered to turn the LP over for the Rachmaninov. Why bother with it?" Report Abuse
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