- Stunning sound for this classic Byron Janis Mercury album, with a Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side one mated with an outstanding Double Plus (A++) side two
- The piano is huge and weighty, the strings rich and highly resolving, and the overall presentation is powerful, balanced, dynamic and exciting like few other piano concerto recordings we have ever had the pleasure to audition
- Not only is this the consistently best sounding copy we have had to offer in years, but we are happy to report that the vinyl is reasonably quiet for a vintage Mercury stereo pressing
- If you have the system to play a record as big and powerful as this Mercury from 1961, we cannot recommend it any more highly
- There are about 150 orchestral recordings we’ve awarded the honor of offering the Best Performances with the Highest Quality Sound, and this record certainly deserve a place on that list.
Not only is the sound amazing — yes, it’s on the TAS Super Disc list, and for good reason: a copy as good as this one really is a Super Disc — but this copy has another vitally important characteristic that most copies of the record do not: no Inner Groove Distortion.
We can’t begin to count the times we have had to return (or toss) a copy of these famous Byron Janis records because the piano breakup for the last inch or so of the record was just unbearable. That’s a sound no serious listener could possibly tolerate, yet I would venture to guess that a great many Mercury Piano Concerto recordings suffer from this kind of groove damage.
Enough about those typically bad copies, let’s talk about how good this one is!
This is a reasonably quiet early Mercury Plum label stereo pressing of one of Byron Janis’s most famous performances (along with the Rachmaninoff 1st. It’s a longtime member of the TAS Super Disc list).
The sound is rich and natural, with lovely transparency and virtually no smear to the strings, horns or piano. What an amazing recording! What an amazing piece of music.
The recording is explosively dynamic and on this copy, the sound was positively jumping out of the speakers. In addition, the brass and strings are full-bodied, with practically no stridency, an unusual feat the Mercury engineers seem to have accomplished while in Russia.
Big, rich sound can sometimes present problems for piano recordings. You want to hear the percussive qualities of the instrument, but few copies pull off that trick without sounding thin. This one showed us a piano that was both clear and full-bodied.
With huge amounts of hall space, weight and energy, this is DEMO DISC QUALITY SOUND by any standard. Once the needle has dropped you will quickly forget about the sound (and all the money you paid to get it!) and simply find yourself in the presence of some of the greatest musicians of their generation, captured on the greatest analog recordings of all time.