Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Klavierstücke No.1 and 2, D946 [14:31 + 11:52]
‘Ländler Suite’
16 Ländler; Nos. 1-5, 10, 13, D366 [4:31]
12 Ländler; Nos. 3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11, D790 [4:55]
12 German Dances, Nos 1, 3, 4, D420 [2:14]
16 Ländler; No.1, D366 [0:43]
3 Lieder transcribed by Franz Liszt
Ständchen [5:25]
Der Müller und der Bach [4:28]
Ave Maria [5:02]
Piano Sonata in B flat, D960 (1828) [40:19]
Cyprien KATSARIS (b.1951)
Spontaneous Improvisation on themes by Tchaikovsky and Wagner [5:23]
Alessandro MARCELLO (1699-1747)
Adagio from Oboe Concerto in D minor Op.1, transcribed by Johann Sebastian Bach and arranged by Cyprien Katsaris [4:48]
Cyprien Katsaris (piano)
rec. 3 July 1993, live at Schubertiade Festival, Konservatorium Feldkirch, Austria
PIANO 21 P21 042-A [57:51 + 55:36]

Unlike some Katsaris discs on his own Piano 21 label that I have seen or reviewed, this one comes from a single recital given at the Schubertiade Festival, held at the Konservatorium Feldkirch, on 3 July 1993. Naturally the vast bulk of the concert was given over to the music of that composer.
The programme is a typically eclectic one, mixing a major sonata with a series of Ländler and transcriptions. He begins with the two D946 Klavierstücke, which are dispatched with grace and perception and a genuine lyrical commitment. These are both quite biggish works, and take nearly half an hour in total, which is presumably why he chooses to unfurl a cascading series of Ländler from various sets - D366 and D790 - along with some of the German Dances, D420. He selects seven of D366, six from D790, and only a quarter from the 12 German Dances. Being Katsaris, he then reprises the first of D366 as a kind of mini-encore for this set. In the same way that the two Klavierstücke required a certain stamina at the beginning of a recital, so too does so extensive a sequence of dances. It’s a tribute both to his selection and musicianship - crisp rhythm, winning wit - that there is never a feeling of sameness. The three Liszt transcribed songs are amongst the most famous and susceptible to Katsaris’s singing legato phrasing and his technical excellence.
Katsaris has recorded Schubert’s B flat major sonata commercially, but I suspect he would choose to be remembered for this live performance rather than that rather plain Teldec one. It’s more alive, more rhythmically inflected and more communicative. After the sonata comes the first of the real encores. This is Katsaris’s own spontaneous improvisation on themes from Tchaikovsky and Wagner, a piece of nineteenth century braggadocio of considerable skill and, fortunately, compression. His barnstorming propensities are put to great use here. The recital ends with his take on Bach’s take on the slow movement of Marcello’s Oboe Concerto. It’s nicely done, but I must admit my own preference for Earl Wild’s altogether less florid arrangement and, indeed, performance.
Still, this two-disc set will be another mandatory acquisition for Katsaris collectors, whose hero has been captured in good sound.
Jonathan Woolf

Another mandatory acquisition for Katsaris collectors.