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Byron Janis- Legendary Concerto Recordings Import, Box set

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, Box set, June 1, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

Œuvres de Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, Schumann, Tchaïkovski, Liszt, Moussorgski / Byron Janis, piano - Antal Dorati - Orchestre Philharmonique de Moscou - Kirill Kondrashin, direction - Orchestre Symphonique de la Radio de Moscou - G. Rozhdestvensky, dir....

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Piano Concerto No. 2
  2. Piano Concerto No. 3
  3. Prelude in E Flat, Op. 23, No. 6
  4. Prelude in C Sharp minor, Op. 3, No. 2

Disc: 2

  1. Piano Concerto No. 1
  2. Piano Concerto No. 3

Disc: 3

  1. Piano Concerto
  2. Arabeske in C Major, Op. 18
  3. Piano Concerto No. 1 in B Flat minor, Op. 23

Disc: 4

  1. Piano Concerto No. 1
  2. Piano Concerto No. 2
  3. Pictures at An Exhibition


Product Details

  • Performer: Byron Janis
  • Conductor: Antal Dorati, Kirill Kondrashin, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Herbert Menges
  • Composer: Serge Rachmaninov, Sergei Prokofiev, Robert Schumann, Pyotr I. Tchaikovsky, Franz Liszt, et al.
  • Audio CD (June 1, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Import, Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Brilliant Classics
  • ASIN: B003LMHW2I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,184 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

I must take issue with Mr Lapidus on three points: (1) he himself describes these recordings variously as "extremely brilliant" and "staggeringly great," yet gives a 1 star rating to the release, and in the process is suggesting the casual scanner of recordings that they are bad--rather like the person who gives one star to a product, because there was a problem with delivery. (2) Copyright laws expire for a reason: I wonder if Mr Lapidus take a similar dim view of laws which permit drug companies to produce generic versions of older drugs which have lost patent protection. But (3) and most important, Mr Lapidus is simply wrong in claiming that Brilliant Records has robbed (his word) the original copyright owners. Upon reading his review I contacted Brilliant Records, and was informed by their Mr. Pieter van Winkel that "These recordings are not out of copyright. We licensed them from Universal in a fully legal way, paying Universal a royalty per CD sold."
Thus Mr. Lapidus review is wrong with respect to the facts, and misleading to those who assume stars are awarded on the basis of the merit of the product, not on extraneous ethical considerations.
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This 4 disc set is all the evidence necessary to prove Byron Janis deserves his place as one of the finest American pianists of the past century, alongside Kapell, Katchen, Fleisher, Graffman and (perhaps to a lesser extent) Perahia. He was probably more famous than the aforementioned, due in large part to his marriage to the daughter of Gary Cooper (Maria). His "golden boy" image set aside, Janis had the chops to back up the virtuoso reputation. A pupil of two polar opposites, Adele Marcus the classicist and Vladimir Horowitz the romantic, Janis took the best both had to offer and blend it into something special. Many have referred to Janis as a Horowitz clone, but I find his playing more similar to Rachmaninov, as evidenced by his playing on this set. Unlike most pianists of the last few decades, excepting Argerich and Hough, Janis takes the concertos at an astoundingly fleet tempo, very reminiscent of the composer's own recordings. I just wish the 4th (I shamefully admit that I don't know if he ever recorded it) was included on disc 2 instead of the Prokofiev 3rd (not one of my favorite composers). I actually prefer these recordings with Dorati and Kondrashin better than his famous ones with Reiner and Munch on Mercury. In a very crowded field of excellent recordings of two old war horses (Tchaikovsky & Schumann), these recordings stand up nicely. The Liszt is also very good, but not quite equal to Richter (BBC). Last, but not least, Janis' performance of Mussorgy's Pictures stands just behind Richter and Kapell as my three favorite versions of that piece. All in all, another great release from Brilliant Classics (the folks who brought us some fine box sets from Richter, Oistrakh, Gilels, etc. in their Historic Russian Archives series). I found no issue with the sound at all.Read more ›
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I wanted to purchase the Sony/BMG set of the Janis recordings for RCA (Byron Janis: The Complete Rca Collection, but it's a little rich for my budget (although I found a new copy of the his Living Stereo 'Rachamaniov" concertos for under $1.50! Rachmaniov: Piano Concerto 1 & 3 What marvelous performances and great remastered sound). In any event, I stumbled across this Brillant Box that includes his famous Mercury concerto recordings for a little bit more than the price of a single Mercury CD. For any admirer of Janis, great piano playing (these recordings have been praised and recommended for over 50 years now, and are still the gold standard for most of this repertorie), or brillant recordings that barely reveal their age, don't pass up this box. HIGH RECOMMENDED!
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Byron Janis's silvery tone and delicacy of touch (he had a remarkably nuanced range of dynamics) make him an exemplary interpreter of Chopin, a composer for whom Janis has a special fondness. This excellent four-CD compilation of concerto (mostly) recordings originally made for the Decca label in the 1960s points up a curious anomaly in Janis's career: he didn't record either of the Chopin concertos.

Janis's predilection for the music of Chopin would seem to be a disadvantage in the Rachmaninov blockbusters that comprise Disc One, and to a degree it is. The sensitivity and restraint that complement Chopin tend to dampen some of the impact of the Rachs. Janis's focus on clarity and lyricism yields some lovely passages. The adagio in the Piano Concerto No. 2 couldn't be more meltingly tender. At other times, however, Janis seems simply to be nimbly working through the score. Antal Dorati smartly conducts the London Symphony Orchestra in the Piano Concerto No. 3 to smashing effect, and the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra in the Piano Concerto No. 2 to less effect. The fire and tension that were often commented on in performances by Janis in this era, and Janis's perception of himself as a "copy of Horowitz", don't quite come through in these recordings. Horowitz himself could generate more crackling heat (see below). This may be a case of the difference between performing for an audience and the cooler atmosphere of a recording session.

The selections on Disc Two benefit from Janis's polished approach. The Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 1 isn't heard all that often, so any performance of that work is of interest. Janis's captivating range of tone and sense of structure lend distinction to what can be a problematic score. This performance of the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No.
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