Between a Hellish Trip and Light Melancholy
Tense concentrate reigns in the concert hall. Almost five and half hours ago the concert had begun, and still the music-hungry audience has not had enough of the drug by the name of Chopin. The guests in the festival hall of the Ingolstadt theater clap and shout “bravo,” not even thinking to leave the room. They want encores. And the Israeli pianist Amir Katz gives them what they want: three more Chopin character pieces sound forth, two waltzes (in E-flat major, Op. 18, and C minor, Op. 64, No. 2) and the “Octave Etude,” whereupon the audience finally falls silent. Why this enthusiasm? Because of the genius music of Frédéric Chopin? Because of the new concept of the Night of Music? Or simply because Amir Katz played piano so brilliantly? Probably a bit of everything. The Israeli presumably caused more amazement than any other soloist this evening […] Amir Katz: a virtuoso swathed in existentialist black who stormed purposefully and hurriedly to the grand piano and straightaway, without stopping once, thundered the twelve Etudes, Op. 10, into the concert hall as if they were a single coherent work. Katz performed this pianistic hellish trip straightforwardly, with seriousness and intense concentration, and above all with technical perfection as only really eminent pianists are capable […]
[…] and so we heard here the darker nocturnal side of the romantic. Katz stressed the rumbling bass notes in the score, allowing the piano to thunder, and was capable of riveting dramatics. But that was not all he could do: in the third etude he let the songlike theme sing with abandon. In the Piano Concerto No. 1, Katz was convincing […] with the refinement of his touch, with the dramaturgically adept build-up of tension, and time and again with surprising moments, such as at the end of the final movement when he played the theme in the recapitulation pianissimo like an echo. Katz is a great pianist who we can only hope will perform again soon in Ingolstadt.