Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

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Lance
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Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

Post by Lance » Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:59 pm

https://www.amazon.com/Maryla-Jonas-Sto ... ryla+Jonas

A bit of the Wikipedia blurb, as follows: "Maryla Jonas (May 31, 1911 – July 3, 1959), was a Polish-born classical pianist, who escaped Nazism to settle in Brazil and later the United States. Jonas was born in Warsaw, Poland, debuting her pianistic talent at the age of 9. In spite of Jonas's father's misgivings about a career in piano performance, Jonas studied with the Polish pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski, as [did fellow pupils: Witold Małcużyński and Halina Czerny-Stefańska], and made her debut with the Warsaw Philharmonic in 1920.onas's adult career started in 1926 with a tour of various European capitals starting in Germany. Her touring career proved successful and paved the way for a 13th-place finish in the second International Chopin Piano Competition in 1932. Alexander Uninsky took first prize in the same competition. In 1933 Jonas won the Beethoven prize of Vienna and following her victory established a successful European-based performance career." For those that don't recognize the name, at least you know a wee bit about her.

As a long-time collector of LPs (still have 'em, too!), pianist friends knew the very few recordings made by the Polish pianist for Columbia Records in the 78-rpm days, which were transferred eventually to the LP format. Her vinyl recordings have garnered ridiculously high prices. Sony Classical has now made everything right. Most people under 40 or 50 won't know her name unless they are aware of her recordings, as stated, are highly elusive.
Now we have a four-CD boxed set (unusually high priced by Amazon/America, much cheaper from the UK). Her Chopin is extraordinary - and aside from one more lengthier piece (Schumann's Kinderscenen complete), the rest is basically Chopin with one recording featuring miniatures by other composers, miniatures only in length but not in the manner in which she performed them. There are lessons abounding in listening to Jonas perform. Artur Rubinstein took an interest in her and was largely responsible for getting her on to her short-lived career.
In relistening to these newly remastered performances, one is immediately aware of a kind of pianism rarely heard today. If anything, she was a colourist supreme. When you hear this music she recorded, the 78-rpm format captured her sound and musical interpretations superbly well. While she had a very large tone from her Steinway pianos, she could bring it down to a whisper. If I had to say anything I've noticed, she does drop a note or two even in the recordings, and sometimes (rarely), her agogic accents are there as well.
Nevertheless, these are extraordinary recordings by a pianist who should have left us more and performed more (huge case of nerves in front of the public), and her serious illness also prevented her from expanding her horizons.

The set is appropriately entitled "The Maryla Jonas Story," with excellent commentary provided by Jed Distler, who obviously did his homework. Many questions are now answered about this incomparable pianist. Facsimile labels on the discs, original jackets on the four CDs with colour photos of the original covers and full discographical information. One important note here: a previously unreleased recording appears: Rameau's Menuets in g and G.

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Lance G. Hill
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jserraglio
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Re: Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

Post by jserraglio » Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:56 am

Thanks for the heads-up. I have heard several of her Chopin Columbias as digital LP rips and they are excellent.

maestrob
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Re: Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

Post by maestrob » Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:08 pm

Thank-you Lance, for the recommendation. It's on my want list, right next to Dame Myra Hess.

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Re: Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

Post by John F » Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:08 pm

Jonas's Columbia recordings, which were also on LPs, were not well thought of back in the '50s when I started buying my own records, so I've never heard them. In those years there was an abundance of fine Chopin players, Artur Rubinstein for starters, so Jonas seemed excess to requirements. But now you've got me interested. :)
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Re: Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

Post by Lance » Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:28 pm

Is there a new Myra Hess CD or set I missed somewhere along the way?
maestrob wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:08 pm
Thank-you Lance, for the recommendation. It's on my want list, right next to Dame Myra Hess.
Lance G. Hill
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Re: Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

Post by Lance » Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:30 pm

Great! I think you will be mostly impressed with her pianism. No question, like many great artists we don't hear much about, she is a cult figure in music - and in my opinion - for a very good reason.
John F wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:08 pm
Jonas's Columbia recordings, which were also on LPs, were not well thought of back in the '50s when I started buying my own records, so I've never heard them. In those years there was an abundance of fine Chopin players, Artur Rubinstein for starters, so Jonas seemed excess to requirements. But now you've got me interested. :)
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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Re: Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

Post by Holden Fourth » Sat Aug 19, 2017 4:47 am

The set is on Spotify. One piece immediately stood out - the Berceuse. It's a very hard piece to play without it sounding rushed but if you play it as slow as it should be then you run the risk of losing any forward momentum. This is the second best recording I've ever heard of this work. First prize goes to Solomon which is probably the best recording of any Chopin work I've ever heard.

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Re: Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

Post by maestrob » Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:51 am

Lance wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:28 pm
Is there a new Myra Hess CD or set I missed somewhere along the way?
maestrob wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:08 pm
Thank-you Lance, for the recommendation. It's on my want list, right next to Dame Myra Hess.
Hi, Lance! You probably have this: it was issued in 2013.....

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Re: Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

Post by Lance » Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:54 pm

Yes, I have it. I wouldn't miss ANYTHING done by Myra Hess. Some years ago, I think 1993, Music & Arts issued a four-CD set [779 sold as 3 CDs] of live performances by Myra Hess - mostly concertos of Beethoven (3/4), w/E. Kurtz and Boult (1953-1952), Mozart 12 & 27 w/Scholz (1956), Brahms 2 w/NYP-B. Walter (1951), Mozart 21 w/NYP-Stokowski. Included was the 1960 Edinburgh 14th Festival performances featuring Hess and Isaac Stern in Brahms Violin Sonata #2; Schubert Sonatina #1, and Beethoven's Violin Sonata #10. There are technical flaws throughout these performances, which are duly noted in the booklet. STILL, it's Myra Hess who should have made many more commercial recordings than she did. I think this set may be out of print now ... garnering high prices from Amazon and eBay. These performances greatly enhance the Hess discography.

M&A also issued catalogue No. 275 of live performances of Mozart's piano concertos 14 and 20 with the NYP under Bruno Walter (1954 & 1956 respectively), another must-have.

Incidentally, my APR (Appian) discs include nearly everything they have produced thus far. There are many precious gems in their catalogue by artists of great historical interest. The remasterings are outstanding.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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Re: Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

Post by jserraglio » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:22 am

Significant price discrepancy: Amazon.com vs. Amazon.co.uk!

Amazon UK: $29.28, shipping included to N. America
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07 ... GW18YAAE1O

Amazon USA: $46.99 (+ $3.99 s & h for those w/o prime) = $50.98
https://www.amazon.com/Maryla-Jonas-Sto ... 072KY1H9B/

maestrob
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Re: Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

Post by maestrob » Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:03 am

Yes, but there are five third party sellers who are offering the set for $21.XX plus $3.99 shipping here in the U.S.

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Re: Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

Post by jserraglio » Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:12 am

maestrob wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:03 am
Yes, but there are five third party sellers who are offering the set for $21.XX plus $3.99 shipping here in the U.S.
Thanks, didnt notice them guys!

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Re: Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

Post by jserraglio » Sun Aug 27, 2017 4:58 pm

I see that Presto Classical (UK) is offering the Maryla Jonas set for $17 + (if I got it right) $3.80 shipping.

http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Sony/88985391782

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Re: Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

Post by Lance » Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:33 pm

I've been listening to much of Jonas on these four CDs. I must say, my heart and ears were captured by absolutely stunning playing and projection of tone. It is only a pity that more of her work, especially in major piano works, was not recorded. The artist displays a quality of tone and musical sensitivity that is rare today. Those old Columbia 78s captured a gorgeous Steinway piano, even and singing to both ends of the keyboard. Yes, I note a note "dropped" here and there, but it is not enough to discourage anyone from hearing this woman who's life was plagued with tragedies (World War II, illness, nervousness when playing, etc.) The music, however, wins out under her hands. Totally recommended.

I do wonder one thing ... is anyone aware of any LIVE material she may have recorded during her days of concertizing?
Lance G. Hill
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Re: Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

Post by jserraglio » Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:34 pm

I've never heard of any live recordings. This discog doesn't seem to list any that I could find:

http://nettheim.com/jonas/jonas-discography.html

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Re: Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

Post by Lance » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:21 pm

Thank you for checking. I'm sure somewhere in recitals given live during her career, recordings must have been made, even on primitive equipment of the period. Thank you for trying to find something. Much appreciated.
jserraglio wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:34 pm
I've never heard of any live recordings. This discog doesn't seem to list any that I could find:

http://nettheim.com/jonas/jonas-discography.html
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

Post by jserraglio » Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:58 am

Lance wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:21 pm
I'm sure somewhere in recitals given live during her career, recordings must have been made, even on primitive equipment of the period.
Lance, I posted your inquiry about Maryla Jonas's live recordings on another board and received replies from 3 knowledgeable collectors.
The new Sony set contains all her recordings. There is no live recordings, unfortunately, or at least none have been issued. Carnegie Hall do record a lot of concerts both by NYPO and the solo recitals but many are still sleeping in the archives. There might be some by her but I am afraid they would not be issued in the near future.
In his wonderful article about Jonas (http://www.musicweb-international.com/c ... gotten.htm), Christopher Howell quotes a source that states that before the war, "She took part in Chopin concerts transmitted by Polish Radio." I wonder if any of those survive. And were there no broadcast recitals during her brief but notable American career? The transfers in the new box sound terrific to me, btw. Anyone disagree?
I imagine live recordings of her do exist, just either they have not been found yet, or those who have them haven't come forward. Considering that people are still finding recordings of just about every dead pianist, major or not, I wouldn't think that live recordings of Jonas don't exist.

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Re: Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

Post by CharmNewton » Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:51 pm

An online search of the Carnegie Hall archives list 11 entries for Ms. Jonas, with her appearance with the New York Philharmonic of 10/13/1946 being broadcast.

Possibly any recordings of the 8 solo recitals that she gave there are in the possession of her family.

John

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Re: Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

Post by jserraglio » Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:01 pm

CharmNewton wrote:
Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:51 pm
An online search of the Carnegie Hall archives list 11 entries for Ms. Jonas, with her appearance with the New York Philharmonic of 10/13/1946 being broadcast.
Possibly any recordings of the 8 solo recitals that she gave there are in the possession of her family.
John
Thanks! Had no idea these recitals could be traced. I'll pass the info along to those on another board who may have access to the broadcast.

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Re: Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

Post by Lance » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:14 pm

Thank you, one and all, for looking into the Maryla Jonas live recordings situation for me. It could be that, given the interest in the new Sony reissue of her commercial recordings, someone, somewhere, might further investigate. How I would love to have those live recitals, and any orchestral collaborations she might have done, in the USA or in her native Poland. No doubt, during WWII, a lot of this historical material was destroyed. Continue to keep me apprised if you ever find out anything more.
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CharmNewton
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Re: Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

Post by CharmNewton » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:38 pm

Given how much live material there is for Vladimir Horowitz (and some others), it seems recorded recitals weren't uncommon back then. Perhaps Horowitz wanted his recitals recorded. Carnegie Hall had an in-house recording setup, as it was that system that was used to record Richter's recitals in 1960. Perhaps it was up to the artist to have recordings made and perhaps they also paid to have them made.

The Carnegie Hall archives mentioned a project started 5 years ago to digitize all their holdings, of which recordings are only a part.

John

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Re: Maryla Jonas, pianist - incredible!

Post by jserraglio » Mon Sep 11, 2017 5:38 am

CharmNewton wrote:
Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:38 pm
Given how much live material there is for Vladimir Horowitz (and some others), it seems recorded recitals weren't uncommon back then. Perhaps Horowitz wanted his recitals recorded. Carnegie Hall had an in-house recording setup, as it was that system that was used to record Richter's recitals in 1960. Perhaps it was up to the artist to have recordings made and perhaps they also paid to have them made.

The Carnegie Hall archives mentioned a project started 5 years ago to digitize all their holdings, of which recordings are only a part.John
Horowitz's so-called "Yale recordings" (1945-50 C.H. recitals which VH paid an engineer to record for him) have recently been released into the blogosphere. I read that Andrew Rose at Pristine Audio was sent a copy and intends to do a Pristine Audio release of them at some point.

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