As an interpreter of the piano music of Frédéric Chopin, Byron Janis has few equals and no superiors, and any compilation of his extraordinary performances is an important addition to any collection. This 2012 release on EMI Classics presents a fine selection of mazurkas, nocturnes, and waltzes that provide a reasonable introduction to Chopin's elegant and highly expressive style. Janis is captivating in his polished performances, and the nuances and colors that Chopin strove for are easily re-created in his refined playing. Yet this album is important for another reason, beyond the pianist's legendary abilities. In 1967, Janis discovered unknown versions of the Waltz in G flat major and the Grand Valse Brillante in E flat major, and six years later discovered alternate versions of the same pieces in the manuscript collection of Yale University. The Yale versions appear on CD for the first time here, and the ardent connoisseur of Chopiniana will surely want to own this disc to have these variants. However, the general listener will find the whole album worth owning, and EMI's excellent sound quality will attract anyone who enjoys exquisite piano music.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson