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#533642 - 03/06/03 03:34 PM Byron Janis?
kenney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/10/02
Posts: 107
Loc: Clifton, NJ
Just caught a recording on WQXR(I know...by now you should just assume that I am listening to that station). Anyway, the performance was Chopin's Waltz in E Flat, Op 18 "Grand Valse Brillante" AND the performer--Byron Janis. I have never heard of this guy. Darn, was he good. His range included feather touches balanced by knock-your-socks-off jabs. If anyone has any input I would greatly appreciate it. Take care.
10:00pm, Wednesdays, WQXR.com 96.3FM "Reflections from the keyboard..." If you don't like it, you don't like ice cream(Sinatra).

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#533643 - 03/06/03 04:10 PM Re: Byron Janis?
urbustmtriswa2hi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/03
Posts: 51
Loc: Pennsylvania
That is my favorite song on the piano! I can play it all through but I am trying to get it very good as you mentioned the guy doing. It is very hard to get just the right touch. I envy those who can. ;\)
What's the deal with cookies? Why not bakies?

#533644 - 03/06/03 04:28 PM Re: Byron Janis?
Renauda Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/02
Posts: 5066
I agree he "was" a great pianist known for his interpretation of Rach 2. It may be apochryphal but I was told that he actually broke strings while playing it in concert at Carnegie Hall in the 1960's. Sadly Janis was stricken with debilitating arthritis early in his career and was forced to abandon the concert stage. If I'm not mistaken though he continues to teach somewhere in the US. Correct me if I'm all wrong on this.
"The older the fiddle, the sweeter the music"~ Augustus McCrae

#533645 - 03/06/03 05:43 PM Re: Byron Janis?
Kreisler Offline

Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13825
Loc: Iowa City, IA
He's still around somewhere...not sure where. He was heralded as being one of the few who were "on par" with Horowitz (and many prefered Janis outright). Unfortunately, his career didn't take off because of the arthritis and (I've heard) difficulty in dealing with the pressures of performing and concert-artist life.
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


#533646 - 03/06/03 07:41 PM Re: Byron Janis?
Hank Drake Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 1695
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Along with William Kapell and Gary Graffman, Byron Janis was one of the supremely talented up & coming pianists of the 1940s. His performance of Rachmaninoff's Second Concerto (where he was accompanied by a 12 year old Lorin Maazel!) caught the attention of Vladimir Horowitz, who coached Janis in the late 1940s. Janis made quite a few recordings for RCA and Mercury (the Telarc of its day) including a stunning account of the Rachmaninoff Third Concerto. Some of his recordings from this period have been included as part of the Great Pianists of the 20th Cenury series on Phillips.

Like Leon Fleischer, Byron Janis' career was disrupted by physical problems. In Fleischer's case, it was tendonitis, which affected his hands. Janis sufferred from degenerative arthiritis which affected virtually his entire body. He has made a few recent recordings or non-strenuous repertoire which demonstrate his gift for phrasing, chord-weighting and delicacy.
Hank Drake

The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
George Szell

#533647 - 03/06/03 11:01 PM Re: Byron Janis?
RachFan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/03
Posts: 1360
Loc: Maine, U.S.
I was lucky enough to see Byron Janis perform the Rachmaninoff 2nd at Tanglewood back in the early 70s I believe. He was superb. By the way, he was a student of Horowitz for awhile. By the way, I also saw Gary Graffman play the Rachmaninoff 3rd there during those years. He played the Baldwin SD10 on that occasion, and what a great sound! His rendition has always been considered one of the best, and it certainly shined that night.


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