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.
Pianist Byron Janis’ tightly-knit, virtuoso, emotional yet controlled interpretation of Liszt’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 may well remind some listeners of the expressive art of his teacher Vladimir Horowitz.
“The greatest artist of his generation.”
Liszt’s Piano Concertos occupy a special position in the genre for several reasons. Firstly they mirror the amazing keyboard virtuosity of the composer, and secondly they point the way to modern music through their daring harmonies and free treatment of traditional compositional forms. Any pianist who tackles the mighty E flat major Concerto, which was premiered by Liszt himself under the baton of Berlioz in 1855, soon realizes that he has taken on a mammoth task. Instead of an over-dimensional, weighty performance, Byron Janis and the Moscow Philharmonic present a compact reading of this tightly-knit composition. Janis, a pupil of Horowitz, displays his bravura in the appropriate places, but also knows how to use his technical prowess perfected in his early years to produce finely-chiseled keyboard poetry, freeing the work from its often-cited bulkiness. This is particularly effective in the intoxicating Finale, where the pianist’s brilliance amalgamates with triumphal orchestral playing.
In the Second Concerto, too, it is clear that great care has been taken with the score. Beginning with the elegiac entry, via the pulsating Agitato up to the expressive melodic playing, Byron Janis and Gennadi Rozhdestvensky fill this visionary symphonic poem with wonderful timbral colouring which is brought to a climax in the sparkling Finale. When music from the New German School sounds like it does here by means of Russian hands, then it certainly deserves a place in the Speakers Corner Russian Edition.
“Almost unsurpassable brilliance.”
-Daily Mail, London
- 180g Virgin Vinyl
- High Quality Pressing
- Pure Analogue Audiophile Mastering
ID: Speakers Corner Records – SR90329, Mercury Living Presence – SR90329, Mercury – SR90329