Cembal d’Amour delves deeper into the archives of Mindru Katz
performances with this extensive tribute derived from undisclosed
locations. It’s devoted to Chopin, whom Katz plays with especial
grandeur and nobility, and it reinforces the fact that his early
death represented a great loss to the musical world.
The Sonata receives
a reading of great purposeful clarity. Katz is alert as to the
detail as much as the sweep of the narrative. So the opening
is taken at a good tempo, whilst the scherzo, if slightly under
characterized when set against some other august players is
nevertheless zestfully done. The slow movement is however imbued
with a spirit of noble restraint and elevated authority – no
outsize gestures deflect from the sense of concentration imparted.
The rest of the
programme amplifies these approaches. The E major Etude is extremely
slow in Katz’s hands but he has his reasons and manages to ensure
a sustained melodic line throughout; note also the finely articulated
and dancing B section, the strongly projected writing and the
tightly argued contrary motion octave passage. The C sharp minor
by contrast is animated - and splendidly successful. The E flat
minor Etude Op.10 No.6 carries with it a certain tristesse in
this reading whilst the C minor is a passionate and stormy petrel.
The Fourth Ballade
is measured in tempo but warmly textured and bass orientated
in sound colour. The companion A flat major Ballade [No.3] again
eschews motoric barnstorming in favour of more clement and lateral
Track eleven is
devoted to Katz talking – about his dreams, about Chopin and
other topics. What a fascinating talker he is, his voice rather
patrician. He talks of the sub-conscious solving technical problems
and more besides. He talks of touch and the Funeral March
sonata. It offers a warm insight into the man and to the mixture
of intellect and controlled eloquence that ran through his playing.
So further recommendation
is rather superfluous. If you know Katz as a proponent of the
flashier repertoire do not on any account neglect to investigate
this - and other – examples of his penetrating musicianship.