Franz Liszt

Sol Hurok

The Iron Curtain, U-2 and Gary Powers, and culture all came together for pianist Byron Janis in 1960 as a United States cultural ambassador to the Soviet Union. While the US enjoyed pianist Sviatoslav Ritcher performing concerts in America, Janis performed in Moscow and Leningrad in 1960. While it has often been thought that officials and citizens were "bugged" and recorded for espionage, it came as quite a surprise that a concert had been recorded without the artist's knowledge.

Fast forward 48 years, and that historic performance by Byron Janis is now released by the artist himself. WBAA's John Clare spoke to Janis about the concert.

Decca

British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor latest release, Homage, features musical tributes. Among these are Felix Mendelssohn and Cesar Franck looking back to Bach; Busoni transcribing Bach’s monumental Chaconne; Frederic Chopin reviving the traditional Barcarolle of Venetian gondoliers; and Franz Lizst’s tribute to Italian folksong, Venezia e Napoli. Finally in the digital release only, Maurice Ravel looks to the baroque for his Tombeau de Couperin.

WBAA's John Clare spoke to Grosvenor about Homage.

Shuman Associates

Kirill Gerstein is a multifaceted pianist who performs around the world. His critically acclaimed recording of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in the original version is delighting audiences. Now Kirill has recorded Franz Liszt's Transcendental Études. WBAA's John Clare spoke to Gerstein about this new Myrios recording.