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Byron Janis: The Complete RCA Collection Box set, CD+DVD

4.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (11 Mar. 2013)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 12
  • Format: Box set, CD+DVD
  • Label: Sony Music Classical
  • ASIN: B00AK3X3DI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 141,198 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. I. Largo - Allegro
  2. II. Adagio
  3. III. Allegretto
  4. Impromptu No. 2 in E-Flat Major, D. 899 (Op. 90): Allegro

Disc: 2

  1. Rhapsody in Blue - Hugo Winterhalter & His Orchestra
  2. II. Painted Desert
  3. III. On the Trail
  4. V. Cloudburst

Disc: 3

  1. Allegro con brio
  2. Introduzione: Adagio molto
  3. Rondo: Allegretto moderato
  4. I. Vivace, ma non troppo
  5. II. Prestissimo
  6. III. Andante molto cantabile ed espressivo

Disc: 4

  1. I. Grave - Doppio movimento
  2. II. Scherzo
  3. III. Marche funebre - Lento
  4. IV. Presto
  5. Impromptu No. 1 in A-Flat, Op. 29
  6. Etude No. 5 in G-Flat, Op. 10
  7. Mazurka No. 4, Op.67
  8. Scherzo No. 3 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 39

Disc: 5

  1. On The Beautiful Blue Danube Waltz, Op. 314
  2. Waltz in A-Flat Major, Op. 39/15
  3. Waltz in B Major, Op. 39/1: Tempo giusto
  4. Waltz in E Major, Op. 39/2: Dolce
  5. Waltz in C-Sharp Major, Op. 39/6: Vivace
  6. Valse brillante, in A Minor, No. 2 from Waltzes Op. 34
  7. Waltz No. 14 in E Minor, Op. posth.
  8. Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 23
  9. Étude No. 8 in F Major from 12 Études, Op. 10
  10. Liebestraum No. 3 in A-Flat
  11. Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 in D-Flat

Disc: 6

  1. I. Vivace - Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  2. II. Andante cantabile - Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  3. III. Allegro vivace - Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  4. Burleske for Piano and Orchestra in D Minor - Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Disc: 7

  1. Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 30 - Boston Symphony Orchestra

Disc: 8

  1. Promenade
  2. Gnomus
  3. Promenade
  4. Il vecchio castello
  5. Promenade
  6. Tuileries
  7. Bydlo
  8. Promenade
  9. Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks
  10. Samuel Goldenberg & Schmuÿle
  11. Limoges marché
  12. Catacombae (Sepulcrum romanum)
  13. Con mortuis in lingua mortua
  14. The Hut on Fowl's Legs (Baba-Yaga)
  15. The Great Gate of Kiev
  16. Preludio: Allegro - Andante from Rigoletto (Instrumental)

Disc: 9

  1. Totentanz, S. 126, R. 457: Danse macabre - Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  2. I. Vivace - Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  3. II. Andante cantabile - Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  4. III. Allegro vivace - Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Disc: 10

  1. I. Allegro affettuoso - Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  2. II. Intermezzo - Andantino grazioso - Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  3. III. Allegro vivace - Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  4. Totentanz, S. 126, R. 457: Danse macabre - Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Disc: 11

  1. Prelude: Moderato
  2. Fugue: Allegretto moderato
  3. Étude No. 3 in E Major from 12 Études, Op. 10
  4. Étude No. 3 in F Major from 12 Études, Op. 25
  5. Étude No. 5 in G-Flat Major "Black Keys" from 12 Études, Op. 10

Disc: 12

  1. The Byron Janis Story

Product Description

Product Description

Byron Janis is not only one of the 20th-century’s outstanding artists but he is recognized as one of America’s greatest pianists of all time. The Byron Janis Collection brings together his entire discography on RCA--no fewer than seven ‘first on CD’ releases, previously unreleased recordings of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition as well as works by Liszt – with each LP newly re-mastered and including facsimile sleeves and labels.
The enclosed booklet contains an essay by Richard Dyer based on an interview with the pianist, many previously unpublished photos and full discographical notes. A DVD with the The Byron Janis Story, produced by Peter Rosen, as well as a bonus CD with early recordings complete this documentation of an extraordinary career.
The Byron Janis Story DVD recounts the musician's miraculous, unusual and inspiring life. Janis overcame every challenge--a tragic childhood accident, five hand surgeries, severe bursitis and debilitating arthritis--and serves as an inspiration for those who have triumphed over adversity. In his own words, the legend talks about his boyhood trauma; his tutelage under the strong-willed Vladimir Horowitz; his debut in 1948 at New York City's Carnegie Hall; his cultural exchange in 1960 with the Soviet Union; his appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show and his 1984 performance at the White House, in which he revealed his battle with arthritis to the public for the first time. It also features interviews with conductor Lorin Maazel, actress Marian Seldes, pianist Emanuel Ax, and Byron's second wife, Maria (Gary Cooper's daughter) and his son, Stefan.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Byron Janis was already a superb pianist when at the age of 16 he began studying under Vladimir Horowitz, a relationship which lasted 10 years. These recordings, faithfully restored and digitally remastered, capture this keyboard giant at the peak of his powers: His Chopin (in particular the Ballade in G minor & 2nd Piano Sonata)and Rachmaninoff are played effortlessly, as if the piano is an extension of his arms and hands.Always there is strict attention to the inner melodies which are given a perpetually singing line. Each work is played with a remarkable fluency and subtlety. The Beethoven (in particular the beautiful "Tempest" Sonata #17 and the great "Waldstein" Sonata #21) and Schubert, are given classical performances with plenty of feeling but never to the point of sentimentality.His Liszt Totentanz and 6th Hungarian Rhapsody combine transcendental virtuosity with a keen sense of musicianship.Never does Byron Janis display virtuosity for the sake of virtuosity.His Rachmaninoff Concertos 1, 2 & 3 will never be surpassed, with countless expressive insights and transcendental technique that is always at the service of the composer.Many of these performances evoke memories not of Horowitz but of Benno Moiseiwitsch, who Rachmaninoff considered to be a better interpreter of his works than himself.Byron Janis is therefore a real 19th century keyboard giant living in the 20th century. This complete set of his RCA recordings is a must have for any connoisseur of great piano playing.
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The purpose of this review is to call attention to a valuable service that a major record company has provided to American pianists.
Before the year 2013 is over, Sony will have issued bargain-priced Complete Collections devoted to FIVE significant American pianists.
Sony is crypt-keeper for the recorded legacies of American Columbia (Fleisher, Graffman) and RCA (Kapell, Cliburn, Janis, early Graffman).

1) William Kapell: Complete Recordings 1944 - 1953 11 CDs
2) Van Cliburn: Van Cliburn - Complete Album Collection 28 CDs + 1 DVD
3) Leon Fleisher: Leon Fleisher Complete Album Collection [Box Set, Limited Edition] 23 CDs
4) Gary Graffman: Gary Graffman - The Complete Album Collection [Box Set] 24 CDs
5) Byron Janis: The box under consideration, 11 CDs + 1 DVD.

An Original Jacket collection.
Vladimir Horowitz talent-scouted the young Byron Janis to be his student.
Janis' greatest recordings were made for Mercury (now Universal) after he left RCA in 1959.
Nevertheless, his RCA period (1947-1959) is worth looking into, especially the concerto recordings with Fritz Reiner and Charles Munch.
In the 1970s, his career was cut short by arthritis.
This is documented in the DVD included with the Sony box.
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As noted by other reviewers, Janis has a wonderful discography for RCA which has been under-represented on CD.

But this release is strange! Sony have included all Janis' original albums, including one unreleased at the time, and his early 78s. In fact there are certain items that are repeated across disks. But there are also other non-album items that are missing (admittedly not part of his original discography, as far as I am aware), and which appeared on the first of the "Great Pianists" volumes dedicated to Janis. Most strangely, one track originally released on the "plays Chopin" album: the Nocturne op 27/2, is simply not there (and the notes acknowledge this). Why not? Was it really that bad?

So this is a mixed blessing. I assume that it is targeted at completists and specialists (like me). It lets them down, slightly but disappointingly.
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It's a belated review as this issue is now deleted by Sony, but some information on content may be useful. Janis's contributions to pianism are supreme and I can add nothing to the other commentaries here. I'm certainly delighted that they've been made available. However I would point out that unless you are dedicated to cds linked to 'original covers' sleeves and the original issue contents, the following is relevant:

1. CD9 is entirely redundant. Both items are included on other cds within the set.
2. Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite on CD2 contains no contribution from Janis. the remaining item - Rhapsody in Blue is 14 minutes. However, the GCS is not otherwise available so it's useful to have it I suppose.
3. The average playing time per cd is around 35 minutes. The entire collection minus the repetitions could therefore be condensed on 5-6 cds and this could be done sensitively. (It's a left field remark, but if you also purchased the RCA complete Reiner box you get most of the Janis concerto works there)

As another contributor has mentioned, a Janis Chopin item has been deliberately omitted and noted as such but without explanation. Two Liszt recordings Janis made with RCA are also not included - Consolation 5 in E & Sonetto 104 del Petrarca from 1957. These latter two were included on the Philips issue of Janis RCA recordings in the 'Great Pianists of the 20th Century' series (456 847-2). I have actually seen somewhere a listing of the contents of this Sony box with all three of those missing items listed so what happened, I wonder?
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