26 April 2010

Märkische Allgemeine, Review by Ann Brünink

“[…] the absolute highpoint of this season’s 7th symphony concert.”

[…] And so the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 19, was the absolute highpoint of this season’s 7th symphony concert. Responsible for a significant portion of this was the Israeli pianist Amir Katz (b. 1973).

Together with the wonderful Symphonic Orchestra, he succeeded in making the brilliance inherent in this concerto resound and spark. As a prelude to the first movement, “Allegro con brio,” the orchestra plays tutti passages that are taken up again by the violins, lending the movement a grand lightness reminiscent of Mozart. Only rather late does Katz begin with a very lyrical passage, which he plays with such contemplation as if he were inventing each note anew. The tall, lanky pianist nearly crawls into the grand piano, so intently does he concentrate on his playing. With his light, crystal clear touch, Katz is able to depict the most varied of moods. He can play sounds so quietly they seem to float. And, with an entirely pure tone, he can let them swell thunderously. This empathetic cooperation between orchestra and pianist is also maintained in the second movement. Towards the end of the Adagio, a magnificent dialogue develops between pianist and strings, transporting the listeners into a limbo of well-being. Heavenly!

The third movement, “Rondo. Molto allegro,” begins with a happy hoopla in the piano. Boisterously the pianist and orchestra pass the ‘cuckoo motive’ back and forth like balls. The concerto ends just as unburdened and optimistically as the 25-year-old Beethoven may have been when he premiered the work in 1795 upon his very first public appearance in Vienna. There is enthusiastic applause in the Brandenburg Theater as well, where the audience cheers this wonderful achievement. Amir Katz shows his thanks for the applause with a nocturne by Frédéric Chopin. […]

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