"Perhaps she doesn't hurtle down the autobahn on a Harley Davidson, nearly drown in a teeming green tropical river, or escape a murderer by hanging from a balcony railing at the Watergate Hotel. She may not engage in picaresque adventures and sexual dalliance amid Broadway bohemians and proper Bostonians. She may not risk her life or her marriage like her characters Leslie Frost, violinist and spy, or Eva Hathaway, neglected young wife and swinger. But Janice Weber knows what it is to lead a double life. Author of five novels, including two Frost the Fiddler thrillers and “The Secret Life of Eva Hathaway,” Ms. Weber is also a concert pianist of cliffhanging panache and daredevil brilliance."|
Ellen Pfeifer, The Wall Street Journal (9/4/2003)
"Sometimes – not very often, but sometimes – musical events that don't seem to promise much end up delivering a good deal, after all. Take the piano recital scheduled for 5:45 PM Saturday at Carnegie Recital Hall by somebody named Lily von Ballmoos. Miss von Ballmoos's flyer arrived with absolutely no information as to who she was, and 5:45 is hardly the most auspicious of hours. Miss von Ballmoos looked to be still in her teens and was clearly unused to the whole business of giving recitals. Yet the minute she began to play, it was clear that she is a potentially major talent. ... She ended her recital with Strauss-Godowsky's devilish Künstlerleben, in which the magnitude of her confidence almost undermined the excitement. It was an impressive recital, and a name to remember in more ways than one."
John Rockwell, New York Times (5/16/1977)
"Perhaps the salon concerts popular in the Romantic era aren't dead after all. Between the first and second works on her program at the Goethe Institute on Thursday evening, the pianist Janice Weber took note of the institute's intimate, attractive, acoustically vibrant concert room and told her audience that “if conditions were ideal, you'd be drinking brandy and smoking cigars, and so would I.” She might have had a point, but in the absence of those accessories, the music she offered – to say nothing of the balance of power and poetry she brought to it – was certainly sufficient."
Allan Kozinn, New York Times (1/8/2005)
"Pianist Janice Weber came to the National Gallery armed with an awesome dexterity, unshakeable concentration, and a delightful way with a rubato...to play Granados' Goyescas effectively requires a certain degree of abandon and a truly expansive imagination. It also requires extraordinary technical facility. Weber had all of this in abundance."
Joan Reinthaler, Washington Post (6/15/1981)
"Maximum virtuosity with minimum gesture is a particular Weber talent...no bravura gestures divert attention from the music Weber creates. She is a musician's musician - and a listener's musician."
David Spengler, Bergen (NJ) Record (12/12/1977)
"The hype was valid. Janice Weber is the genuine article, an American superwoman, a Shirley Conran of the keyboard. A smart business operator she may be, a successful writer of sexy novels she undoubtedly is, but somewhere along the line she has found time to become a sensational pianist, specialising in the virtuoso repertory of the last century. ... Here was a profoundly serious, unflamboyant artist, totally committed to the composer of her choice."
Christopher Grier, London Evening Standard (9/6/1989)
"Weber's large tone and extrovert style of performance produced some mammoth textures during the dizzying frenetic sections of this demanding work, such as the highly caffeinated cadenza during the delirious final movement [of the Shostakovich First Concerto]. Yet she was equally convincing in producing the simplistic clarity of texture required in the widely spaced sections toward the end of the first movement."
David Abrams, Syracuse Herald Tribune (1/13/2001)
"Janice Weber would be one of our most interesting pianists even if she weren't also one of our liveliest novelists. Her programs are full of music that it is fun to hear, and that no one else would play (and that few could). She boasts a fabulous, instinctive, natural technique of the kind you can perfect but never acquire if you don't have it already. ... Best of all, Weber's playing has personality, the way her novels have a voice; fabulous as the fingers are, you are always listening to someone's ideas, profound feelings and cascading laughter.
Richard Dyer, Boston Globe (4/26/1993)
"Liszt simplified these pieces into the still ferociously difficult Transcendental Etudes (1852) for fear that no one else could play them. There may now be several fire-eating piano virtuosos who can execute the original notes, but few can liberate the prophetic music they contain as masterfully as Janice Weber does here."
Michael Walsh, Time (9/3/1990)
"The ghosts of Paderewski, Hofmann and Horowitz must have been hovering over the Church of the Redeemer Sunday evening during Janice Weber's concert. If so, they may not have been altogether pleased at what they heard, for a mere slip of a young woman challenged them at their own game – virtuoso pianism – and did very nicely, thank you. ... Seldom, if ever, have I heard anyone as totally in control of the notoriously difficult 1838 version of this music as she was. Weber then delivered a demonic version of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12, defying the laws of physics and probability by playing astounding torrents of notes with accuracy, wit, and consummate musicianship."
Richard Storm, Sarasota Herald Tribune (3/15/2000)
"Her performance of the Eight Preludes of Swiss composer Frank Martin was musically extraordinary and showed rare depth and understanding of music that is too little known. Although more than 40 years old, Martin's Preludes still sound exceptionally fresh and, in Weber's hands, tremendously persuasive. From the sustained strength of the first piece, Grave, through the beautifully conceived and executed Tranquillo, Weber's grasp of the musical language outshone even her technique, which is high praise on a program as challenging as hers. Beethoven's “Moonlight” Sonata should not go without mention. The all-too-familiar first movement was fresh and riveting in Weber's hands, and once again, her technical control and thoughtful musical conception made much more of the music than the hackneyed hum-along it often is."
Ken Krehbiel, Washington Post (11/7/1991)
"Janice Weber, a pianist from Boston, gave a remarkable demonstration of her powers in the Old First Church Friday while reviving interest in a kind of piano music that has long been shunted aside. Her super-fluid mastery of the instrument was outstanding for its own sake, but what she accomplished musically, first with Beethoven and then with virtuosic music by virtuosos, put her in a class by herself."
Robert Commanday, San Francisco Chronicle (5/18/1992)
"Her performances were exemplary, presenting the broad outlines of the music in bold relief, filling in the details with care and devotion, playing with an enthusiasm for the music that could not be faulted. Her pianistic and musical talents and intelligence are of a very high order."
Jacob Siskind, The Ottawa Citizen (9/17/87)
"Even so dauntless a Liszt specialist as the late Louis Kentner described the 1838 version of his twelve Transcendental Etudes as ‘frighteningly difficult...verging on the unplayable,' and like all pianists kept to the easier, but hardly easy, final revision of 1851. To the surprise and delight of her audience (Longy School, 19 May), a virtually unknown pianist, Janice Weber, a gifted young woman who, we are told, has also produced several novels, presented these in technically impeccable and musically most persuasive form. Merely to play the notes after her hair-raising performance of Charles Ives's multi-layered and physically taxing First Sonata would in itself have been an extraordinary accomplishment. But Weber is also a musician of rare sensitivity and taste. Her recording of Liszt's studies in the 1838 version is eagerly awaited."
Howard Schott, London Musical Times (August 1988)
"To sit down and play Busoni's difficult “Carmen Fantasy” as a program opener is to court disaster, unless you are very sure of yourself. Janice Weber has every right to be audacious – she has tremendous facility, allowing her to toss off outrageous difficulties with apparent nonchalance. Her uncommonly stimulating program offered ample evidence that, in addition to being an excellent pianist, she is a musician of taste and wide-ranging interests."
Eugene Gaub, The Buffalo News (10/31/1991)
"Weber had programmed an evening of bogglingly complex and difficult music, alternating with downright impossible music. The sheer weight of the notes alone would have reduced an ordinary pianist to gibbering hysterics. Not to say that nailing notes is Weber's object. She just can. Her revelatory reading of Charles Ives's vast, audacious Sonata No. 1 drew upon her keen intellect, her spatial and affective senses, and her rich imagination. Crystal-clear counterpoint, deep harmonic and formal understanding walked hand in hand with open-hearted romantic outpouring, each informing the other."
Susan Larson, Boston Globe (11/23/1998)
"The New York pianist Janice Weber made her British debut with a stupendously heroic programme delivered to a stupendously underpopulated hall. Never mind: Miss Weber infused Ives's First Sonata and Liszt's Transcendental Studies with a spirit and imagination which will surely attract larger crowds when she returns to London."
Richard Morrison, The Times (8 July 1988)
"Boston pianist Janice Weber made her local debut one of heroic statement at Old First Church Sunday afternoon. ... As Weber conquered Liszt, she also conquered the audience, which was unaccountably tiny, given the significance of the occasion. Her performance of the Etudes was indeed transcendent. Weber came to town and left without much notice, but it's doubtful that the thirty or so people who heard this stunning recital will ever be able, or want, to forget it."
Marilyn Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle (7 June 1988)
"It was gratifying to hear Weber in a standard concerto. She's usually on call when the work is difficult and unfamiliar and the notice is short – she first came to local attention when she coolly stepped into a thorny Concertino by George Perle at the Tanglewood Music Center back in the 1980s. In the “Emperor,” she was typically fast, feisty, fearless, and fun. She romped through the finale with panache and rhythmic abandon. There was no shortage of sensitivity either, particularly in the “glockenspiel” passages in the first movement, voiced and pedaled with imagination, and in the quiet detail of the slow movement."
Richard Dyer, Boston Globe (11/25/2002)
"Weber, a mighty technician whose trademarks have been among the biggest finger-busters of the repertoire, has made a career with the unusual, the marathon and the premiere. It is not every day that you encounter Abram Chasins' Fantasy on “Schwanda der Dudelsackpfeiffer” or Leo Ornstein's Fourth Sonata on recital programs, and Weber's audience was given an unusually wide spectrum from which to assess her considerable talents. Her playing is big in style and gesture, both dramatic and poetic, obviously reveling in the tremendous effects of the virtuoso stuff as well as the daintier details of the “Moonlight” Sonata. She does equal justice to the flaming romanticism of Ornstein and the more exacting standard of Beethoven."
Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times (5/18/1992)
"In songs by Richard Hundley and William Bolcom, Weber and [Christopher] Nomura were wonderful. Nomura's characterization of these gentle and humorous American songs employed just the right amount of theatricality and showmanship. But first and foremost, it was his singing and Weber's subtle support and deft playing that made this music connect."
Michael Manning, Boston Globe (10/17/95)
"Weber, Rhonda Rider, and David Kim returned to perform St. Saens's turgid five-movement calamity, the Piano Trio in E Minor, Op. 92. When the composer runs out of ideas, usually early in each movement, he makes the pianist execute meaningless rapid-fire tours of the keyboard, passages that would defeat anyone but the masterful Weber. The string players got stuck with saying the same phrase back and forth ad infinitum in the slow movement, until you wanted to scream. The swirling waltz movement came off best, especially in the trio when the note-clogged texture clears out and you can hear yourself think. Then it was back to mud wrestling in the finale. Life is too short to ever hear, or play, this thing again."
Susan Larson, Boston Globe (11/11/1997)
"One characteristic that seems to apply uniformly to [the Boston Conservatory Chamber Ensemble's] members is that technical matters never intrude into their performances. This is not to say that they're technically unchallenged, only unpreoccupied, unencumbered. This really pays off in a piece like John Corigliano's Sonata for Violin and Piano, a youthful opus brimming with virtuosic derring-do. David Kim and pianist Janice Weber played it marvelously."
Michael Manning, Boston Globe (2/22/1996)
"Sunday afternoon the Boston Conservatory Chamber Players began its fourth season with an interesting program, handsomely played. The most unusual work was the Elgar Piano Quintet, a piece more often heard in its native land than here. ... The performance was very high powered both technically and emotionally; the players were Lynn Chang and David Kim, violinists, Edward Gazouleas, viola, Andres Diaz, cello, and the wonderful Janice Weber, making the most of an ungratefully written piano part."
Richard Dyer, Boston Globe 9/28/1993)
"The Ives Quartet is a stealth group, at least in the South Bay, where its remarkable concerts have been flying under the radar of chamber music enthusiasts. Its Friday night concert at San Jose's Le Petit Trianon was sensational. ... But the concert's real jewel was its West Coast premiere of Leo Ornstein's Quintet for Piano and Strings, Op. 92 – written in 1927 and ravishingly performed Friday with guest pianist Janice Weber."
Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury News (1/30/2006)
"With pianist Janice Weber, violinist Victor Romanul gave a stunning performance of Webern's “Four Pieces, Op. 7,” exploiting shades of pianissimo with refined technical control that few violinists have. As satisfying was his performance with Weber and cellist Ronald Feldman in Eduard Steuermann's reduction of Arnold Schoenberg's only “popular” work, “Verklaerte Nacht.”
Michael Manning, Boston Globe (3/22/2000)
"Janice Weber (who is also a wickedly witty novelist) excels in forgotten powerhouse music of a different era. Her album of Rachmaninov transcriptions (IMP Classics) is one of the most sheerly enjoyable and exuberant piano recitals around. These are intended to be virtuoso pieces, and Weber obviously has a field day with her bold, broad, and bravura playing. Two Webers (overdubbed) are even better than one in Rachmaninov's two-piano version (with trumpet!) of his Italian Polka. But she can also give herself over to warmth and tenderness (as in the Tchaikovsky Lullaby, Rachmaninov's very last score). There's a fascinating variety here. The original composers range from Bach and Mendelssohn to Liszt (imagine a Rachmaninov cadenza for Liszt's Second Hungarian Rhapsody – as if Liszt alone weren't hard enough), Kreisler, and Rachmaninov himself. Weber educates us as much in late 19th-century taste as in Rachmaninov's genius for invention."
Lloyd Schwartz, The Boston Phoenix (October 1994)
"These etudes must be one of the most daunting pianistic assault courses in the entire keyboard repertoire and are certainly not for those lacking the utmost in both technique and nerve. Yet Weber takes them in her stride - not exactly nonchalantly, perhaps, but certainly not as if they present her with the slightest difficulty. I think if you can play the 1838 “Transcendentals” at all, you cannot very well help demonstrating fairly obviously the technical prowess required for the task. What seems to me remarkable about Weber is that she not only accomplishes this with sovereign command, but also plays with great poetry and artistry."
Keith Fagan, Journal of the American Liszt Society (12/89)
"The Straussian transcriptions, fantasies and metamorphoses are refreshingly straightforward in their appeal, though again of horrifying complexity for the executant. Godowsky's three ‘symphonic metamorphoses,' as he called them, are the most difficult and the most ambitious musically. Untold riches are drawn out of Strauss's pretty, innocent tunes, which often seem on the verge of being irretrievably lost in a pianistic labyrinth. Miss Weber is at her most persuasive here; her playing superb throughout. "
Max Harrison, Musical Opinion London (Jan 1990)
"What really got me thinking about Ornstein was a release put out by the Lydian String Quartet and pianist Janice Weber in 1997 (New World Records 805090-2), comprising his Piano Quintet and his String Quartet No. 3. I loved this recording from the first hearing, and for nearly five years now it has been sitting on my stack of “must review” CDs waiting for its moment. The 1927 Piano Quintet is spectacular and monumental – three movements lasting forty minutes – yet it's practically unknown. It was one of the last pieces Ornstein performed in public, apparently in 1933 with the Stradivari String Quartet. I can't imagine that he did any better by it than does Janice Weber on this recording. She plays with immense panache, with absolute technical grasp of what is obviously a bear of a piece, with unwavering attention to the quicksilver demands of the work as it evolves. The same kudos extend to the Lydian String Quartet, whose top-drawer interpretation weds technique and imagination in perfect equilibrium."
James M. Keller, Chamber Music (August 2002)
"Most pianists recording this repertoire go through the usual canon of Rachmaninov's transcriptions of pieces by himself and other composers. Janice Weber can be depended on for something more adventurous, and striking the result is. Unlike most of the CDs appearing to mark – cash in on – the 50th anniversary of his death, this record tells us things we did not know before. There are fleeting bows to convention in Flight of the Bumble Bee and the Midsummer Night's Dream Scherzo – the latter in a mercurial performance taken, even allowing for the Allegro vivace marking, at a hair-raising pace. But we get transcriptions of as well as by Rachmaninov. ... A piece here dubbed Romance turns out to be Siloti's transcription of Rachmaninov's Op 8 No 2 Heine setting, and this, like the composer's own piano solo versions of two further songs, Lilacs and Daisies, is done perfectly by Janice Weber. Likewise Kreisler's Liebesleid – repeatedly misspelt “Liebeslied” by IMP – Liebesfreude and the Polka de V R are delivered with just the right measure of capriciousness."
Max Harrison, Musical Opinion (May 1994)
"Each player shines in the extended solo passages. More than that, the unison in VI is breathtaking. By avoiding any vibrato, the sounds of clarinet, strings, and piano mesh into one perfect whole. It's brilliant. The players explore the stillness of the piece to great effect. Tempos are “inexorable” (to use the composer's word) when necessary, but the stillness goes beyond tempo choices. In music without a consistent time signature there is a danger of sounding aimless. Not here. The performers manage to make the music sound like it is unfolding rather than wandering."
American Record Guide (Jan/Feb 2005)
"Janice Weber's new IMP release includes some real rarities, including a Siloti arrangement of a Rachmaninoff Prelude, the wild cadenza Rachmaninoff wrote for Liszt's Second Hungarian Rhapsody, and two transcriptions from the opera “Aleko.” Weber plays everything with tremendous panache and color – you can't believe your ears in some tracks, like “The Flight of the Bumblebee” or the “Scherzo” from Mendelssohn's “Midsummer Night's Dream.” Speed, brilliance and accuracy she boasts in plenty; sometimes Rachmaninoff calls for the exercise of virtuosity in creating singing legato (“Lilacs”), in the supple interplay of rhythms (Kreisler's “Leibesleid” and “Liebesfreud”) and Weber has them, too."
Richard Dyer, Boston Globe (9/16/1993)
"With a seeming imperviousness to hair-raising technical difficulties and with amazing bravura she presents half-a-dozen virtuosic musings – in some of the best-recorded piano tone I have heard. Very noteworthy are the delicacy and charm she brings to O schöner Mai, her scintillating filigree and springy rhythm in Frühlingsstimmen – she also knows how to catch the Viennese waltz lilt - and her graceful rubato in Künstlerleben."
Gramophone (January 1990)
This is a first all-Ornstein CD, and it's a knockout. The Lydian String Quartet with pianist Janice Weber charge in with a volcanic energy that sounds like an orchestra rather than a chamber group, and their intensity never lets up. In the fast music, they have all the barbaric splendor one could ask for; in the slow music, such as the spine-tingling II and final fade-out in the Quintet, they play with great tenderness. The recording sound is big and bold. This is the most revelatory CD to come my way this year."
American Record Guide (September 1997)