25 September 2008

WAZ, Review by Rudolf Franz

A High-End “Audio Book”
Hörde. Amir Katz afforded the visitors to the first piano concert of the new season in the Hörde Bürgersaal a seldom heard listening experience: the complete Songs without Words of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy.

Both for the pianist as well as for the audience it proved to be a demanding program. At almost two hours of non-stop playing, the highest demands are made of the pianist’s concentration. With bravura Katz did this challenge justice. With a singing tone he lined up the 48 delicate melodies into individual, highly different, wonderful character pieces. Katz fanned out these musical pieces, divided into eight books, like the pages of a diary across the fittingly very softly voiced Steinway grand piano. A high-end “audio book.”

Many of the melodies are well known. They are presented time and again in piano concerts as stand-alone pieces or as encores. Only in their entirety, though, in the cyclic nature of the work, does the listener recognize the overall coherence. With Katz it was a pleasure to listen to an artist who dives so passionately into Mendelssohn’s world. With precisely carved melodic arcs he succeeded again and again in establishing the genius of simplicity. The Hörde auditorium showed its thanks to the audience favorite with a standing ovation.

Work appears as a double CD
A timely release for the 200th birthday of Mendelssohn Bartholdy in 2009, this entire work appears recorded by Katz as a double CD. After the grandiose performance in the Hörde Bürgersaal, this recording will surely find a special place among many classical music collections.

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