Notes and Editorial Reviews
It’s fortunate that Cembal d’Amour has access to Zoara Katz,
because it’s via her that we can now hear a slew of live broadcast
material made by Mindru Katz (1925-1978). This fills to a degree
the lamentable gap left by Katz’s too-early death.
Here we have two warhorse concertos. The Liszt was taped in
Jerusalem, with that city’s Symphony Orchestra conducted by
Harold Byrns in 1961. Katz mines considerable poetry from the
opening Adagio sostenuto assai and it’s an index of the
way in which he means to carry on; poetry allied to digital
clarity, careful preparation for ensuing sections, ensemble
rapport and a full sense of characterisation. His chording can
be taut but marvellously even, and in terms of phraseology,
he perfectly captures the ‘agitato’ quality of the Allegro section
before relaxing with poetry and finesse into the Andante passage.
The Marziale passages call upon Katz’s bravura instincts,
which duly realise the dynamism of the writing but note how
assuredly he prepares for the penultimate rubato flecked page.
The finale is dispatched with authority and control. Is the
applause part of the concert? It sounds as if it’s been tacked
on at some point.
The companion work could hardly be more of a warhorse than the
Tchaikovsky, which was recorded in Gothenburg with that city’s
resident orchestra directed by Sergiu Comissiona in 1969. The
broadcast quality is much boxier here, though the recording
was made nearly a decade later than the Liszt. This dimness
is a passing concern because it dampens colour, dynamics and
the orchestral recession means that the full array of textures,
colours and responses are not being heard. What we do hear however
is a rather marvellous performance. Once again, whilst Katz
could do bravura – and does – he is as concerned with the poetry
of the piece and crucially its architectural properties, all
too often glossed over by pianists determined to have a good
virtuosic time of it. Unbalancing this work was never going
to happen with Katz, and attention, which can sometimes flag
after the big first movement, remains constant, embracing the
liquid elegance of the slow movement as much as the confident
brio of the finale.
Those who have followed Katz thus far in the posthumous sequence
devoted to him, will wish to proceed further with this release.
-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International Read less
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Piano no 2 in A major, S 125 by Franz Liszt
Mindru Katz (Piano)
Written: 1839/1861; Weimar, Germany
Date of Recording: 1961
Venue: Jerusalem, Israel
Length: 4 Minutes 8 Secs.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Mindru Katz (Piano)
Date of Recording: 01/10/1969
Venue: Gothenburg, Sweden
Length: 33 Minutes 31 Secs.
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