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Cyprien Katsaris Archives, Vol. 8: Schubert

Schubert / Katsaris / Marcello
Release Date: 01/10/2011 
Label:  Piano 21   Catalog #: 42   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Recorded SoundFranz SchubertFranz LisztSpoken Word,   ... 
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 53 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



LISZT Hungarian Rhapsodies: Nos. 2, 3, 5, 7. Elegies: Nos. 1, 2. Liebestraum No. 3. Klavierstücke: Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Trauervorspiel und Trauermarsch. Unstern! Nuages gris. La Lugubre gondola Nos. 1, 2. R.W.—Venezia. Am Grabe Richard Wagners. Piano Sonata in b. Piano Concerto No. 2 1 Cyprien Read more Katsaris (pn); 1 Arild Remmereit (cond); 1 Deutches SO Berlin PIANO 21 014-N (2 CDs: 137:51)


SCHUBERT Klavierstücke, D 946: Nos. 1, 2. Ländler, D 366: Nos. 1 (2 versions); 2–5, 10, 13. Ländler, D 790: Nos. 3, 4, 7, 8, 11. Deutsche Tänze, D 420: Nos. 1, 3, 4. Piano Sonata in B?, D 960. SCHUBERT-LISZT Ständchen. Der Müller und der Bach. Ave Maria & Cyprien Katsaris (pn) PIANO 21 P21 042A (2 CDs: 103:27) Live: 7/3/93


& KATSARIS Improvisation on Themes of Tchaikovsky and Wagner. BACH Concerto in d, BWV 974: Adagio


“When I heard that recording, I was afraid to play the piece again—I will not play it again”: That’s how the mature Cyprien Katsaris, in an interview with me last year, described his reaction on rehearing this scorching live performance of the Liszt Sonata, taped when he was a youngster of 22 (see Fanfare 34:5). At the time, I wondered just how hyperbolic he was being. Now that I’ve had a chance to hear the performance—which concludes his two-CD Liszt sampler—I can easily understand why he feels that way. Granted, by the stopwatch (always unreliable, but especially so in a long work with dozens of tempo changes), this 29-minute reading is fairly centrist in overall timing. But it certainly doesn’t feel centrist. Rather, the overall effect is vertiginous—passages of almost terrifying impetus made even more ferocious by the extremity with which Katsaris plays many of the slower passages (try, for instance, the way he puts on the brakes as he approaches his arrival at measure 532, or the way he stretches the fermata before the Grandioso theme at measure 600). Yet for all the brinksmanship, for all the improvisatory bravura, there’s never a sense of approximation. Katsaris’s somewhat dry tone keeps the textures clear and his unerring control of articulation and accent keeps them active, with the result that the music consistently sounds both detailed and eventful. And in part because he has such a good sense of the music’s emotional architecture (including a sure understanding of the dramatic purpose of the recitatives), the music has a consistent sense of direction. This reading may not have the intellectual acuity of Steven Hough’s or the volcanic integrity of Ernst Levy’s or the depth of Richter’s many recordings. But for sheer adrenaline, the young Katsaris is a match for Simon Barere, and for sheer imagination, he’s got him beat.


The performance is doubly effective because it comes at the end of a recital that generally offers a rather different vision of both Liszt and Katsaris. Granted, once past the deceptively pensive opening, the high-speed performance of the Second Concerto is similarly searing—especially in the brilliant cascades in the final pages. Here, too, Katsaris ups the emotional ante with his careful articulation, which gives an unusually detailed profile to the musical gestures. And here too he manages to heighten things further with his extreme contrast (try the luxury of the Allegro moderato ). Granted, too, no one is likely to accuse him of underplaying the second Hungarian Rhapsody. But most of the rest of the performances—as befits the repertoire—are notable less for their razzle-dazzle than for their acute understanding of Liszt’s subtler rhetoric.


Thus, it’s not simply that Katsaris captures (even heightens) the strangeness of the radical late scores. More than that, the recording stands out because he manages to do so without turning the music abstract or damping its remaining romantic tendencies. Thus, he fully conveys the obsessive qualities of La Lugubre Gondola I —but he does so without losing the music’s sense of motion. Similarly, there’s no attempt to normalize La Lugubre Gondola II —but there’s no loss of the passionate desperation at its core. Listen to the marvelous tonal effects (including the artful pedaling) in Am Grabe or to the tremendous control of dynamics in the opening pages of the Trauervorspiel or to the disorienting contradictions of the Second Elegy (gloriously passionate, utterly bereft): Rarely has so strong a case been made for the emotional (as opposed to the experimental) qualities of these scores.


One caveat: As Patrick Rucker rightly pointed out in his knowledgeable review in Fanfare 35:4 (less enthusiastic than mine), this is not a collection for textual purists. The most startling deviation from the written score comes at the end of Trauervorspiel und Trauermarsch . Not only does Katsaris add a sonic halo to Liszt’s stark original, but he also throws in a striking effect: Just as the final sustained wash of sound seems to be dying away, it suddenly builds a crescendo. Can a piano really crescendo on a sustained sound? It certainly sounds as if there has been some electronic intervention, but in a series of e-mails Katsaris told me that it was a purely acoustical phenomenon created by the pedals. In any case, while it’s not quite what Liszt wrote, it does (at least to my ears) fit the mood of the music.


The sound varies according to the sources, but it’s generally good, and the studio performances—all of which are new—are a lot better than that. In the Second Concerto, the orchestra provides unusually rich and colorful support.


Schubert demands a rather different approach—and on this recital from 1993, he gets it. These are, on the whole, brightly illuminated performances, dryish in tone and often impulsive (although never rushed) in tempo. Thus, while the sonata is surely one of Schubert’s grander creations, there’s none of Horowitz’s intensity; indeed, Katsaris nearly whispers the third movement, and he offers a generally sunlit account of the finale. Yet for all the clarity, there’s no lack of melodic beauty (listen to the flexible melodic curls of the second of the Klavierstücke ), of timbral sensitivity ( Ständchen is exquisite), or (especially in his collection of Ländler and dances) of succulence and wit. Katsaris’s own fantasy on themes by Tchaikovsky (mainly Swan Lake ) and Wagner ( Tannhäuser , although Lohengrin might have been more fitting) is a delightful first encore—but the eloquent reading of the Bach, with its utter purity and peace, brings the recital to an even higher plane. Not quite as ear-catching as the Liszt recital, perhaps, but well worth owning even so.


FANFARE: Peter J. Rabinowitz
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Works on This Recording

1.
Applause by Recorded Sound
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 0 Minutes 15 Secs. 
2.
Pieces (3) for Piano, D 946: no 1 in E flat minor by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 14 Minutes 31 Secs. 
3.
Pieces (3) for Piano, D 946: no 2 in E flat major by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 11 Minutes 52 Secs. 
4.
German Dances (12) for Piano, D 790/Op. 171: no 1 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 1 Minutes 1 Secs. 
5.
German Dances (12) for Piano, D 790/Op. 171: no 2 in A major by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 0 Minutes 34 Secs. 
6.
German Dances (12) for Piano, D 790/Op. 171: no 3 in D major by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 0 Minutes 39 Secs. 
7.
German Dances (12) for Piano, D 790/Op. 171: no 4 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 0 Minutes 34 Secs. 
8.
German Dances (12) for Piano, D 790/Op. 171: no 5 in B minor by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 0 Minutes 35 Secs. 
9.
German Dances (12) for Piano, D 790/Op. 171: no 13 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816-1824 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 0 Minutes 37 Secs. 
10.
German Dances (12) for Piano, D 790/Op. 171: no 10 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 0 Minutes 30 Secs. 
11.
German Dances (12) for Piano, D 790/Op. 171: no 10 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 0 Minutes 32 Secs. 
12.
German Dances (12) for Piano, D 790/Op. 171: no 8 in A flat minor by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 1 Minutes 21 Secs. 
13.
German Dances (12) for Piano, D 790/Op. 171: no 7 in A flat major by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 1 Minutes 5 Secs. 
14.
German Dances (12) for Piano, D 790/Op. 171: no 11 in A flat major by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 05/1823; Germany 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 0 Minutes 45 Secs. 
15.
German Dances (12) for Piano, D 790/Op. 171: no 3 in D major by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 0 Minutes 37 Secs. 
16.
German Dances (12) for Piano, D 790/Op. 171: no 4 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 0 Minutes 35 Secs. 
17.
German Dances (12) for Piano, D 420: no 1 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?05/1816; Germany 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 0 Minutes 47 Secs. 
18.
German Dances (12) for Piano, D 420: no 3 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?05/1816; Germany 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 0 Minutes 43 Secs. 
19.
German Dances (12) for Piano, D 420: no 4 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?05/1816; Germany 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 0 Minutes 44 Secs. 
20.
German Dances (12) for Piano, D 790/Op. 171: Excerpt(s) by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 1 Minutes 7 Secs. 
21.
Schwanengesang (Schubert), S 560: no 7, Ständchen "Leise flehen" by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838-1839; Geneva, Switzerland 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 5 Minutes 25 Secs. 
22.
Der Müller und der Bach (Schubert) for Piano, S 565 no 2 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846; Hungary 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 28 Secs. 
23.
Ellens Gesang (Schubert) "Ave Maria" for Piano, S 558 no 12 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1838; France 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 5 Minutes 2 Secs. 
24.
Sonata for Piano in B flat major, D 960 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 39 Minutes 40 Secs. 
25.
Introduction by Cyprien Katsaris by Spoken Word
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris ()
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 0 Minutes 16 Secs. 
26.
Improvisation for piano on themes of Tchaikovsky & Wagner by Cyprien Katsaris
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 5 Minutes 23 Secs. 
27.
Concerto for Oboe in D minor: 2nd movement, Adagio by Alessandro Marcello
Performer:  Cyprien Katsaris (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1717; Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/03/1993 
Venue:  Live  Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 58 Secs. 

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