Masculine and Unsentimental
He seems to conceive of Mendelssohn not by way of Mozart but via Schubert – his very own home domain. As with his masterful interpretations of the last Viennese classicist, the Israeli pianist Amir Katz now charges Felix Mendelssohn’s supposedly simple Romantic piano melodies with their fill of dramatics without ever risking hyperbole. Despite all clarity and subtle contouring, his interpretive account is a decidedly masculine, unsentimental one. This greatly benefits the Songs without Words, which came to the service of salon music, dominated mostly women, in the nineteenth century. That the self-avowed Callas fan Katz never loses sight of the general cantabile character of the Mendelssohn miniatures almost goes without saying, but it still commands admiration. Performed on a newer, fresh-sounding Steinway, Katz’s complete recording represents one of the most significant contributions to Mendelssohn’s 200th birthday.