Composer: Sergei Prokofiev, Serge Rachmaninov, Robert Schumann, Felix  Mendelssohn, Octavio Pinto
Performer: Byron Janis
Orchestra: Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Kiril Kondrashin, Harold Lawrence
Number of Discs: 1
Format: APE (image+cue)
Size: 319 MB
Prokofiev’s Third was one of the concertos that appeared in the Richard Dreyfuss movie “The Competition,” and Byron Janis’s performance is generally considered to be more than competition-worthy. In fact, many consider it the best ever, also a function of Kirill Kondrashin’s inspired accompaniments. Janis’s performance is a bit slower than usual, not because he lacks energy or technique, but rather because he actually takes the time to play all of those notes and make something musically satisfying out of them. It’s a very personal interpretation, carried through with blazing conviction; and the coupling, Rachmaninoff’s early First Concerto, is equally stunning. –David Hurwitz
01. Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No.3 in C, Op.26 – 1. Andante – Allegro
02. Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No.3 in C, Op.26 – 2. Tema con variazione
03. Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No.3 in C, Op.26 – 3. Allegro ma non troppo
04. Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.1 in F sharp minor, Op.1 – 1. Vivace
05. Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.1 in F sharp minor, Op.1 – 2. Andante
06. Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.1 in F sharp minor, Op.1 – 3. Allegro vivace
07. Prokofiev: Toccata, Op.11
08. Schumann: Piano Sonata No.3 in F minor, Op.14 – “Concerto without Orchestra” – 3. Quasi variazioni (Variations on a Theme by Clara Wieck)
09. Mendelssohn: Lieder ohne Worte, Op.62 – No. 1 Andante espressivo in G
10. Pinto: Three Scenes from Childhood – 1. Run, Run
11. Pinto: Three Scenes from Childhood – 2. March
12. Pinto: Three Scenes from Childhood – 3. Hobby-Horse
The best Prokofiev third piano concerto available.
This is in my opinion the best version of the Prokofiev’s third piano concerto available and is alone the reason to purchase this disc.
Both the Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev concertos were recorded in Bolshoi Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow on June of 1962. The recording was made 3-4 weeks after the historical concert on May 13, 1962 in which after being invited by the soviet government, Janis agreed to play with the Moscow Philharmonic under the great Kyril Kondrashin in a special concert in which he would play three “different” piano concertos back to back.
That night, Byron Janis played the Rachmaninoff’s first piano concerto, the Schumann concerto and closed with a spectacular account of Prokofiev’s third. The story tells that the audience went absolutely crazy and clapped, shouted and praised Janis for over 20 minutes without stopping. After such a response, Janis and Kondrashin decided to play as an encore the third movement of Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto (this is not included in the disc). That night was an unforgettable musical event.
Madame Lina Prokofiev, Prokofiev’s widow, who was present in the concert hall that nigh was moved to tears after listening Janis play her late husband’s third piano concerto and stated that she was deeply moved by the inspired interpretation.
The recorded sound is pretty good and the interpretation is unparalleled.
The Rachmaninoff first is on the same league with excellent piano playing and phenomenal orchestral support. The disc is generously filled with an excellent recital with piano pieces by Robert Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn, Octavio Pinto and Prokofiev’s Toccata.
Altogether this is a fantastic disc and no music collector should be without it.