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Prokofiev, Khachaturian / Katz, Boult, London Po


Release Date: 05/15/2000 
Label:  Cembal D'amour   Catalog #: 109   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Sergei ProkofievAram Khachaturian
Performer:  Mindru Katz
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: n/a 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Mindru Katz (1925-78) is not a name familiar to most piano buffs. It ought to be. Romanian-born, Katz studied with Florica Musicescu, who also taught Dinu Lipatti. He emigrated to Israel in 1959 and enjoyed a respectable international career, though it was never on a scale commensurate with his prodigious talents. Katz left a pitifully small recorded legacy before his onstage death during an Istanbul recital. With this disc, most of which was licensed from EMI, Cembal d'amour liberates some of Katz's finest recordings from the vaults, giving us the opportunity to savor the work of an outstanding artist.


The Prokofiev Concerto No. 1, so often just a virtuoso display vehicle, is brilliantly played with precise
Read more articulation at blistering tempos. Even more impressive is the way Katz invests the slow movement and quiet passages with poetry, revealing a luscious tone, masterly legato, and a sonic depth that extends to the piano's repeated top notes, which in other hands often sound like clangerous plonks. Martha Argerich's acclaimed EMI recording with Charles Dutoit offers dazzling pianism, but it's undercut both by laid-back conducting that softens the barbaric aspects of the piece, and by EMI's back-of-the-hall engineering. Here, the 1958 stereo sound may be dated but it's close-up and immediate. And if Boult's orchestra lacks the polish of Dutoit's Montreal band, the conductor's interpretation is more idiomatic.


That Boult was a first-class exponent of Russian music is proved again in his first-rate accompaniment to the Khachaturian Concerto. The touchstone here is William Kapell's extraordinary 1946 account with Serge Koussevitsky and the Boston Symphony, superbly transferred in RCA's William Kapell Edition. It's a more overtly virtuoso rendition than Katz's slightly more expansive version, which benefits hugely from his poetic insights and tonal beauty. But Katz also bristles with demonic energy where the music calls for it. The pluses should also include stereo sound, dated but impactful. A minus is the prominence of the flexatone in the slow movement; it sounds like a deranged whistler and is thankfully missing from the Kapell recording. The fillers are lovely works, gorgeously performed.


If this disc whets your appetite for more by this fine pianist, there's an excellent Barbirolli Society CD of the Beethoven "Emperor" Concerto with John Barbirolli, and a similarly delectable pairing of Brahms and Franck Violin Sonatas with Henryk Szeryng on Cembal d'amour. Best of all, the label plans to release private recordings of Katz in concert.
--Dan Davis, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Piano no 1 in D flat major, Op. 10 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Mindru Katz (Piano)
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911-1912; Russia 
2. Pieces (10) for Piano, Op. 12: no 7, Prelude in C major by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Mindru Katz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906-1913; Russia 
3. Tales of an Old Grandmother, Op. 31 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Mindru Katz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918; USA 
4. Concerto for Piano in D flat major by Aram Khachaturian
Performer:  Mindru Katz (Piano)
Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; USSR 
5. Toccata for Piano by Aram Khachaturian
Performer:  Mindru Katz (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932; USSR 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Great stuff May 27, 2012 By P. Bentham (Montreal, Quebec) See All My Reviews "This is a disc I recommend to all interested in Russian piano music." Report Abuse
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