Vinyl lovers like those from Speakers Corner can lament about how difficult it can be to dig up audio treasures and enhance them to make them as fresh and new. A good master tape and precise cutting is of prime importance, of course. But a collector’s heart will also miss a beat when taking a look at the original cover. Record dealers know this only too well and demand a high price for rare original recordings, as though they were dealing in gold. The rarer the recording, the more expensive it comes. In order to close the gap between the demand for coveted LPs and the potential for speculation with such productions, Speakers corner are re-releasing a number of first-class recordings by Mercury and Decca. All the titles appeared in their catalog but were sold out years ago.
It is an unwritten rule of concert life, signalized by the continuous applause of an enthusiastic audience, that no good soloist is allowed to leave the platform before he has given at least one encore. Whether the virtuoso pulls a contemplative, lyrical or thrilling piece out of his hat is entirely up to him or her to decide. But one thing is absolutely imperative: an encore must be short and popular.
Twelve such little gems, all of them different in their own way, have been chosen by Byron Janis for this coupling. They are all well-loved from the technically demanding Sixth Rhapsody and the frisky “Valse oubliée” by Liszt, to Schumann’s seemingly weightless Romance in F sharp major and his energetic Novelette with its cascades of chords. Byron Janis displays his deft finger technique in Prokofiev’s furious “Toccata”, while tender sentimentality pervades Mendelssohn’s “Lied ohne Worte”. Pinto’s three sparkling “Scenes from Childhood” are played with humor and nicely round off this musical pot-pourri.
ID: Mercury – SR 90305, Mercury Living Presence – SR 90305, Speakers Corner Records – SR 90305