MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2023
Approaching 60,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Sonata No.17 in D minor, Op.31 No.2 Tempest (1802) [23:58]
Piano Sonata No.29 in B flat major, Op.106 Hammerklavier (1816-18) [45:51]
Mindru Katz (piano)
rec. April 1971, live (Tempest) and December 1972, live (Hammerklavier), Jerusalem
CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD169 [69:50]

Fresh from immersion in Minru Katz’s performance of Chopin, I’ve now turned to a brace of Beethoven sonata performances given in the early 1970s in Jerusalem. Many tapes have survived and have been restored to a high standard by Cembal d’amour and some, I suspect, were not in the best condition before that restoration process began. All I can say is that they sound to be in excellent shape.
Katz was not one given to flashy generalisations in music. Even when, for a time, he seems to have been type-cast in certain circles for his Khachaturian Concerto, this was just one side of his musical self. I recall Adrian Boult’s astonishment when after a strenuous concerto recording Katz quietly began to play Bach. Not a soul in the orchestra left his seat. Katz was not Janus-faced, he was simply a most flexible stylist. In these Beethoven performances, he reveals again his probing musicianship untainted by the need for the motoric or for the brazen. The Tempest (April 1971) receives a performance that never loses the spine of the argument whilst always acknowledging the work’s bipartite nature. Katz evinces a pellucid quality in the first movement in which the music’s narrative is respected throughout; intensity through anticipation. He doesn’t do so through tempo manipulation. For Katz rhythmic tension is the key, not speed in itself and his tempi are unexceptional in this respect. The measured breadth of the slow movement and the enviable volatility of the finale are functions of Katz’s control. They lead to a decisive crisis, and the applause, though cut short, is well merited.
In a sense these are qualities that underline the profound and huge challenges of the Hammerklavier, in a performance given in December 1972, six years before Katz’s untimely death. The sonata is more forwardly recorded than the Tempest which allows detail to register with even greater immediacy. The technical challenges are unremitting but Katz is equal to them and, as importantly, the sense of titanic drama that he generates is allied to a powerful mechanical control. It’s not fanciful to wish that he had been asked to record more of his Beethoven sonatas on disc than was actually the case. At a time, now, when complete cycles are arriving thick and fast from the most unlikely quarters, it would be a valuable function of the restorer’s art to assemble as many of Katz’s sonata traversals as possible.
In the meantime we have these two to be going on with and they are distinguished examples of Katz’s powerful but selfless art.
Jonathan Woolf

Masterwork Index: Piano sonata 17 ~~  Piano sonata 29