Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Piano Concerto No.20 in D minor, K466 (1785) [32:35]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37 (1803) [36:45]
Mindru Katz (piano)
Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra/Gary Bertini (Mozart) Mendi Rodan (Beethoven)
rec. January 1977 (Mozart) and January 1970 (Beethoven), Jerusalem
CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD 163 [69:24]
Mindru Katz (1925-78) has been the subject of a number of releases from Cembal d’Amour, each one reinforcing his distinction as a thinking musician whose early death on stage during a recital in Istanbul was a grievous loss to the musical community.
As in a number of cases in the series, the tapes for this disc have been supplied by his widow Zoara Katz, and these two major concerto statements were both taken from concerts given in Jerusalem in the 1970s.
The earlier of the two is the Beethoven C minor with conductor Mendi Rodan directing the Jerusalem Symphony in January 1970. This is a valuable document for Katz admirers preserving, as it does, a performance of resilient Beethovenian qualities such as Katz displayed in all his other surviving recordings of the composer’s music. Of these the most internationally known is probably the Emperor with Barbirolli, which has been reissued at least twice on CD. The C minor however is no less laudable for the well moulded orchestral introduction, and in particular for Katz’s balanced chording, the clarity of his descending runs, the mobility of his left hand accenting and the considerable power of his right. His trills are tight and rounded, and he unleashes a powerful cadenza. He is a sensitive spinner of the slow movement, with Rodan ensuring good ensemble, and a vital purveyor of the Rondo finale. He’s crisp but not curt, and energetic without becoming breathless. He never shows off.
The Mozart Concerto No.20 in D minor, K466, was taped in January 1977. Gary Bertini conducts this time. There’s a bit of tape hiss in this performance but it’s of little consequence. The performance is again stylish and stylistically apt. Katz seems to have possessed a most notable quality of suiting his tonal and expressive qualities deftly to the music in hand. He remains indubitably himself, but manages to imbue every performance with its own sense of individuality. Given that his repertoire ran from Bach to Khachaturian this is no bad thing. But equally he remains a highly communicative and sensitive artist in all he does. One other Mozart concerto performance exists in this series (CD142) but I’m not otherwise aware that Katz recorded very much Mozart, which makes this latest concert example that much more important.
The tapes have been prepared and presented with care. Katz was something of a forgotten man before Cembal d’Amour’s devotion ensured that, happily, this is very much not now the case.
Katz’s early death on stage was a grievous loss to the musical community.
Masterwork Index: Beethoven Concerto 3 ~~ Mozart Concerto 20