15 October 2013

Leipziger Vollkszeitung, Review by Tatjana Böhme-Mehner

Amir Katz Plays Beethoven’s Sonatas

Amir Katz plays three of Beethoven’s sonatas Wednesday evening before unleashing a firework display of encores. Sonatas Opus 90, 101 and 106. No more and no less. What the exceptional Israeli artist makes out of this exceptional, to a large extent well-nigh unapproachable music drives his audience in the Mendelssohn Hall of the Gewandhaus to storms of enthusiasm. It is the naturalness, the tranquility, the even temper with which he makes these sonatas speak. It is the clarity with which he explores the complex and conflicting structures of the music, which can indeed be described as unwieldy.

Charmingly, he makes far more than an attractive introductory piece out of Opus 90 – dramaturgically intelligent and strikingly consistent, this Beethoven appears so fresh and new that even listeners who have heard it literally 100 times have a new experience – without any appearance of contrivance.

Katz is known for his complete recordings of great piano literature, and this evening shows that great things can be expected from his Beethoven cycle. Of course, the towering, grand Hammerklavier is the secret highlight of this evening, even if more easily listenable works by Chopin, Liszt and Schumann played as encores with ingratiating ease almost feel like a coup de libération.

Katz is capable of all of this – authentically and captivatingly, with virtuosity and freshness. No wish is left unfulfilled. The fact that this man obviously has a remarkable number of fans speaks for itself. One does not hear such a Beethoven every day, not even here.

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