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Mindru Katz plays Concert Favourites

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Arietta and Variations in A Major, (Hoboken XVII:2) (1765) [10:22]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
32 Variations in C minor, (Wo 080) [10:05]
Sonata in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2 Moonlight (1801) [16:33]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1898)
Intermezzo in B-flat minor, Op. 117, No. 2 (1892) [6:04]
Rhapsody in G minor, Op. 79, No. 2 (1879) [6:35]
Rhapsody in E-flat Major, Op. 119, No. 4 (1892) [5:30]
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Mephisto Waltz No. 1 after Lenau’s Faust S514 (1859-60) [11:18]

Mindru Katz (piano)

rec. 1960s by Pye Records

CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD136 [66:29]


Experience Classicsonline

With every succeeding Katz release from Cembal d’amour one’s sense of his importance as an artist grows. It’s not that he was neglected exactly, rather that he seems in retrospect to have been known more for what he wasn’t than for what he was. The Khachaturian Concerto recording may have had something to do with the impression of him as an extrovert colourist. That was however a function of a work that he played conspicuously well. What he was, to put it simply, was an artist of great artistry and eloquence.


These performances are derived from Pye recordings made in London in the 1960s. They show Katz in the central repertoire and sounding fully at home. There is a trio of Brahms recordings. The Rhapsody in G minor in particular is an embodiment of his stature. The gradations of touch and tone, the powerful pointing of the left hand, the rhythmic acuity, the control of time and suspense – these are all qualities that ensure the magnificence of this performance. Drama and poetry are held in perfect equipoise, whilst Katz still ensures that the universal verities of architectural surety are followed. He neither breaks up the piece paragraphally as so many are wont to do, but neither dos he rush, the other besetting sin of this performance. It’s a terrifically impressive performance. The E flat Rhapsody re-established these qualities and one I’ve not yet mentioned – the teak-dark tone Katz evokes. Here he brings out the music’s terpsichorean profile with power and radiant refinement, the two qualities yet again held in fine balance, qualities once more that are fully at the service of the music.  The final Brahms item is the B flat minor Intermezzo Op.117 No.2, a feast of delicacy and sustained legato phrasing, and where once more the gradations of tone are seemingly infinite.


I’ve concentrated on this trio of performances for one simple reason; they’re wonderful. This however is no less applicable of the recital as a whole. Haydn and Beethoven occupy an important place here. The former’s Arietta and variations has warmth and clarity, a fully rounded tone, and as always with Katz just the right colours and textures. His sense of brio is manifest here, as he responds to Haydn’s brio in kind – rhythms are alert, and tonal balance is optimum. The Beethoven variations are elegant and commanding, variously eloquent or quick-witted. Then there is the Moonlight sonata. Cembal d’amour has issued a DVD which contains the performance Katz gave of this sonata in Istanbul in 1978 a few hours before he died (see review). I called his performance there one of rare sensitivity and insight and so it was with this earlier performance – controlled, eloquent, not ponderous and profoundly satisfying. The Mephisto Waltz that ends the recital shows us the virtuoso Katz at his best, an exciting and suitably vibrant performance. Incidentally neither this nor the Moonlight have been previously released.


Those who have been following this series will know what to expect. Newcomers might like to hitch a ride to this much-missed master in this latest example of his great musicianship.


Jonathan Woolf  





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