NEW YORK, April 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- RCA Red Seal celebrates the legendary pianist Byron Janis' 85th Birthday with the release of The Complete RCA Collection available on April 16th, 2013. The box set brings together his entire discography on RCA for the first time with no fewer than seven "first on CD" releases. Newly remastered from original sources, the recordings are presented in facsimile sleeves and labels corresponding to the original LP releases. Many recordings make their first appearance on CD, including a previously unpublished version of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. An enclosed booklet offers an essay by Richard Dyer based upon his interviews with Janis, numerous unpublished vintage photographs and full discographical information.
Included in this box set as a bonus DVD is a critically acclaimed documentary The Byron Janis Story, produced by the Emmy award-winning filmmaker Peter Rosen. In the film, Janis recounts the story of his ground breaking concerts, which opened the Cultural Exchange with the Soviet Union in 1960 during the Cold War's hayday. He also speaks of his discovery of multiple important Chopin manuscripts, his recent evolution as a composer, and his courage facing serious physical challenges. A bonus CD with early recordings completes the documentation of an extraordinary career.
Born on March 24th 1928, Janis' prodigious keyboard gifts led him to study in New York with Josef and Rosina Lhevinne and Adele Marcus. At sixteen, he became Vladimir Horowitz's first pupil. By his 20th birthday, Janis had a resoundingly successful South American tour, a triumphant Carnegie Hall recital debut, and at 19 became the youngest artist ever signed by RCA Victor. The body of recorded work that Janis set down for the label between 1947 and 1959 further established Janis' stature and provided a foundation to a long extraordinary and unique multi-faceted career. At the age of 11 a serious injury to his little finger which left it permanently numb was kept a secret. His doctors were confounded that he was able to continue performing. Then in 1973 he developed psoriatic arthritis in both hands and wrists, once more, utterly confounding his doctors by still performing and maintaining his world class career, again keeping his condition secret. In 1985, that secret became public knowledge when it was revealed by Nancy Reagan after his performance, at a White House luncheon. She also announced that Janis would become a major spokesman for the Arthritis Foundation.
The Complete RCA Collection offers both Janis' fans and piano mavens an unprecedented opportunity to reconnect and explore this inspiring musician's virtuosic prime, from his early and assured Beethoven sonatas and incisively idiomatic Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue to the febrile intensity and lyrical repose of his timeless Schumann, Rachmaninoff, Liszt and Strauss orchestral collaborations and the effortless account of the difficult Schulz-Evler/Strauss Blue Danube that the pianist set down in one unedited take.
Sony Masterworks comprises Masterworks Broadway, Masterworks, Okeh, Portrait, RCA Red Seal and Sony Classical imprints. For email updates and information please visit www.SonyMasterworks.com.
- Beethoven - Sonata No. 17 in D Minor, Op. 31, No. 2 "Tempest" - Schubert - Impromptu in E-flat, Op. 90, No. 2 D. 899
- Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue - Grofe - Grand Canyon Suite (selections)
- Beethoven - "Waldstein" Sonata, Op. 53 - Sonata in E, Op. 109
- Byron Janis plays Chopin - Sonata No. 2 - Impromptu No. 1 - Nocturne No. 8 - Etude No. 5 - Mazurka No. 45 - Scherzo No. 3
- Byron Janis plays Blue Danube and other Favorites - Brahms: Waltzes - Chopin: Waltzes, Ballade No. 1 - Etude No. 8 - Liszt: Liebestraum No. 3 - Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6
- Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 1 - Strauss - Burlesque - Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Reiner
- Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 3 - Boston Symphony Orchestra - Charles Munch
- Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition - Liszt - Paraphrases on "Rigoletto"
- Liszt - Totentanz
Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 1 - Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Fritz Reiner
- Schumann - Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54
Liszt - Totentanz - Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Fritz Reiner
- Bach/Liszt - Prelude and Fugue in A Minor (November 24, 1947),
Chopin - Etude in E, Op. 10, No. 3 - Etude in F, Op. 25, No. 3 - Etude in G-flat, Op. 10, No. 5 "Black Keys"
About Byron Janis
Byron Janis is one of the world's greatest concert pianists. The first pianist to study with the great Vladimir Horowitz, Janis made his orchestral debut with Toscanini's NBC Symphony Orchestra at age 15. He began his career as a concert pianist in 1944. In 1960, the United States Department of State chose him to open the first cultural exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union. At that time, The New York Times reported that "if music could replace international politics, Byron Janis could consider himself an ambassador breaking down cold war barriers." Mr. Janis was invited back by the Soviet Union in 1962, where he had a triumphant seven-week tour. In 1978, he created an acclaimed program on the life of Frederic Chopin sponsored by French Television's Antenne 2 and Saga Productions. It has had many repeat showings in the United States and countries around the world. In 2008 Mr. Janis had the great honor of being written into the Congressional Record of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, honoring him as a musician a diplomat and an inspiration.
He has written an autobiography, Chopin and Beyond: My Extraordinary Life in Music and the Paranormal. A DVD, entitled The Byron Janis Story, directed by Peter Rosen, includes interviews with conductor Lorin Maazel and pianist Emanuel Ax, also chronicles his life and is currently airing across the United States on PBS.
SOURCE Sony Masterworks