PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major; RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 1; PROKOFIEV: Toccata; SCHUMANN: Clara Wieck Variations; MENDELSSOHN: Song without words; PINTO: Three Scenes from Childhood – Byron Janis, piano/Kiril Kondrashin – Mercury 3-ch.

by | Jun 30, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major; RACHMANINOFF: Piano
Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor; PROKOFIEV: Toccata; SCHUMANN:
Variations on a Theme by Clara Wieck; MENDELSSOHN: Song without words;
PINTO: Three Scenes from Childhood – Byron Janis, piano/Moscow
Philharmonic Orchestra/Kiril Kondrashin (in the 2 concertos) – Mercury
Living Presence 3-channel SACD 475 6607, 68:56 ****:

Another Mercury Moscow recording in three channel form – as well of
course two-channel SACD and two-channel standard CD.  Janis was
chosen as the soloist for these recordings instead of a Russian pianist
because of his very successful concert tour of the Soviet Union on the
exchange program in l960.  He gave a series of concerts with
Kondrashin when in Moscow for these recording sessions.  The
Prokofiev concerto is a lovely work with many lyrical passages in
contrast to the composer’s patented ascerbic and witty musical
statements.  Janis really burns with the final movement of the
super-Romantic Rachmaninoff concerto.  Janis’ encores are a varied
lot, ending with one which really caught my ear – the three brief
Brazilian piano pieces from childhood by Pinto – I had played these in
my childhood and forgotten them. The center channel places the piano
solidly in front of the orchestra and fills in the center section of
the orchestra as well.  We’re hearing much more of the piano than
we would ever hear at a live concert (unless we were seated in the
center of the front row) but that’s the way nearly all concert
recordings are made after all.

– John Sunier

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