26 November 2007

WAZ, Unna, Review by Martina Lode-Gerke

Sparkling Runs and Symphonic Fullness of Sound

Sparkling Runs and Symphonic Fullness of Sound
With his not always entirely precise but very involved, playfully witty playing, the musician had, at that time, not only persuaded the jury, but had also won the hearts of the audience – during the finale they had already crowned the Israeli their absolute favorite after his brilliant and riveting performance of Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto.

Variations with Character

A reunion after four years: the playful wit has remained, the virtuosity, the technical brilliance have made a quantum leap. Last Sunday the pianist performed compositions of Mozart and Chopin in the Stadthalle at a concert of the Musikverein in Unna. With Mozart, Katz the poet took his seat on the piano bench: sparkling runs in the B-minor Adagio, K. 540, the tempo not all too broad, thereby keeping the musical style exciting.

Amir Katz very elegantly presented the ornamentations in the A-minor Rondo, K. 511, the sense of line clear, the variations full of character. Rather powerfully and yet with extremely lucid structure, the pianist began the initial movement of Mozart’s A-minor Piano Sonata, K. 310, unfurling symphonic fullness of sound in the finale. The songful, poetic playing, the playful wit that even lends the tone repetitions of the middle movement an air of mischief turns up again in Chopin’s Etudes, Op. 10. Of course these are not “practice pieces” in the sense of a piano manual; at best they are practice pieces for virtuosi who do not want to improve their technique but maintain and keep it. It was then that a virtuoso took his seat at the Bösendorfer in the second half of the program while the poet Katz stepped away from the limelight a bit; the second and fifth etudes tingle like champagne, the fourth positively touches a nerve, and the twelfth brings the whole to a powerful and brilliant conclusion.

Technical Brilliance and Musicality

It was a wonderful evening with a pianist capable of varying his touch like an organist adjusts the registers and stops of a great organ: with a technical brilliance that is never an end in itself but always accompanied by musicality, serving the idea of the composer.

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