Liszt: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

Liszt: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

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by Byron Janis
     
 

It's not always sufficiently appreciated that beginning around 1960, more than a decade before so-called ping pong diplomacy opened doors between the U.S. and Communist China, there was an effort to promote the same goals involving exchanges of classical musicians between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. For the Russians, performances like those here must have had the…  See more details below

Overview

It's not always sufficiently appreciated that beginning around 1960, more than a decade before so-called ping pong diplomacy opened doors between the U.S. and Communist China, there was an effort to promote the same goals involving exchanges of classical musicians between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. For the Russians, performances like those here must have had the flavor of a prodigal son's return, for piano performance, especially, in the U.S. was deeply shaped by Russian traditions. The bulk of this fine reissue was recorded in 1962 at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, and full credit is due to the engineers who have encountered these performances along the way (this compilation dates from 1990 and was reissued in 2011 by the Newton Classics label in the Netherlands); what must have been just fair Soviet sound has been given its best face. Pianist Byron Janis absolutely tears into the two Liszt concertos, with tortured slow movements in which one can almost imagine the great crowd-pleaser himself on-stage, and fast rhythmic music that seems to scale impossible new peaks of intensity as it proceeds. The special standout is the performance of the "Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major, S. 125," with the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra under Gennady Rozhdestvensky, who feeds off of Janis' pushed tempos and gives the effective illusion that the orchestra is just a step behind in the race, about to catch up. The short piano pieces by Liszt, Schumann, de Falla, and David Guion, recorded at the same session and one a year earlier in New York, testify to Janis' gifts in more intimate but still technically compelling recital repertoire, and all in all this recording remains a fine keepsake of what many consider American classical music's golden age.

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Product Details

Release Date:
04/26/2011
Label:
Newton Classics
UPC:
8718247710584
catalogNumber:
8802058
Rank:
182471

Tracks

  1. Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, S. 124 (LW H4)  - Franz Liszt  - Byron Janis  - Kirill Kondrashin  -  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra  - Jan Martin Wilschut
  2. Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major, S. 125 (LW H6)  - Franz Liszt  - Byron Janis  - Gennady Rozhdestvensky  - Jan Martin Wilschut  -  Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra
  3. Hungarian Rhapsody, for piano No. 6 in D flat major, S. 244/6 (LW A132/6)  - Franz Liszt  - Byron Janis  - Jan Martin Wilschut
  4. Valse oubliée, for piano No. 1, S. 215/1 (LW A311/1)  - Franz Liszt  - Byron Janis  - Jan Martin Wilschut
  5. Romance for piano in F sharp major (Einfach), Op. 28/2  - Robert Schumann  - Byron Janis  - Jan Martin Wilschut
  6. Novellette for piano in F major, Op. 21/1  - Robert Schumann  - Byron Janis  - Jan Martin Wilschut
  7. El Sombrero de tres picos, suite from the ballet for piano: The Miller's Dance  - Manuel de Falla  - Byron Janis  - Jan Martin Wilschut
  8. Sonetto del Petrarca No. 104 (Pace non trovo; I) for piano (Tre sonetti No. 1), S. 158/1  - Franz Liszt  - Byron Janis  - Jan Martin Wilschut
  9. The Harmonica Player, for piano  - David Guion  - Byron Janis  - Jan Martin Wilschut

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Liszt: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
KlingonOpera More than 1 year ago
In these recordings from the early 1960's Byron Janis shows that he is a force to be reckoned with, playing Liszt Piano Conertos No. 1 & 2, with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra and Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra respectively, with aplomb and character. Piano Concerto No. 1 is just a bold showpiece, with all of the emphasis in just the right places, and no sign of how insanely difficult it is to play. Piano Concerto No. 2 is similarly impressive, with texture and depth of feeling from both the soloist and orchestra that grabs the listener by the ears and makes him forget about everything else except the music coming out of the speakers. It's *that* good. The remainder of the disc consists of various show pieces from Liszt, Schumann, de Falla, and Guion. Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 is loaded with sass and joie de vivre, while the Valse oubliee No. 1 is delicate and playful - Mr. Janis has a delightful touch. Schumann's Romanza Op. 28, No. 2 in F sharp is played with just the right amount of pensiveness and longing, while his Novellette Op. 21, No. 1 in F is simply charming - this one just feels right. As for de Falla's "The Miller's Dance", it sounds much easier to play than it is, and Mr. Janis makes it seem effortless. Liszt's Sonetto 104 del Petrarca is just flat out gorgeous, and David Guion's "The Harmonica Player" is jaunty and enjoyable from start to finish. It is difficult to believe that Byron Janis did not have the full use of his left pinky due to a childhood accident, because his technique and sensitivity are astonishing. Buy this disc! You won't be sorry!!!