Liszt : Piano Concertos
Liszt : Piano concertos Nos. 1 & 2
Byron Janis, Kyril Kondrashin conducting the Moscow Philarmonic Orchestra (1962)
Mercury Living Presence SR 90329
Speakers Corner Records : LP 180 gram
Brand New and Sealed Record
Contents & Details
Franz Liszt (1811-1886) :
A - Concerto No. 1 in E Flat Major (1849)
B - Concerto No. 2 in A Major (1857)
Franz Liszt composed his Piano Concerto No. 1 over a 19-year period; the main themes date from 1830, while the final version is dated 1849. He wrote drafts for his Piano Concerto No. 2 in 1839; he then put away the manuscript for a decade. When he returned to the concerto, he revised and scrutinized it repeatedly. The Second Piano Concerto premiered in January 1857.
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 realises 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-chiselled 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 our Russian Edition.
Recorded in June 1962 in Bolshoi Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Moscow, by C.R. Fine and Robert Eberenz.
The "golden age" of recordings was from 1955 to 1965, at the beginning of the LP and the stereo era, where pure vacuum tube amplification helped produce recordings demonstrating unparalleled fidelity and warmth, lifelike presence and illumination.
This Speakers Corner LP was remastered using pure analogue components only, from the original analogue studio tapes through to the cutting head, and was pressed with virgin vinyl at Pallas. More information under http://www.pure-analogue.com