15 November 2007

Westfälische Rundschau, Gevelsberg, Review by Dagmar Zschiesche

Third Master Concert Left No Wish Unfulfilled
Amir Katz Awes

In the third Master Concert of the Gevelsberg Konzert Gesellschaft (Concert Society) the excellent piano playing of the young pianist Amir Katz (b. 1973) left a deep impression. Oftentimes the program choices say something about the musician of the evening. Whoever begins a concert like Amir Katz with the sensitive and profound B-minor Adagio of Mozart trusts not only the great soulful power of the work one hundred percent, but also simultaneously trusts the audience’s antenna and of course his own pianistic language. And that is a language that does not allow for any coddling or empty-hearted elegance. Every sound has meaning. With exceptionally accurate pianism and great concentration, Katz laid bare the personal and profound strain of the music. One hears more with the soul than with the ear. Even the ensuing A-minor Rondo (K. 511) traverses all occurrences that befall the theme full of calm, a sense of the whole, and great inspiration. The A-minor Piano Sonata (K. 310) begins decisively. Dense and immaculate, the sonata’s three movements develop with forceful inner logic. Everything occurs naturally. There is a self-evident intimacy between composition and interpreter.

Oppositions are developed immediately. Playful passages tighten to steeled energy, and the finale dances feverishly at the narrow edge over the major-minor abyss. Nothing has too much or too little weight, not even when Amir Katz plays Chopin in the second half: twelve Etudes, Op. 10. There is no indication whatsoever that he initially had to switch over his announced program completely to Mozart due to an injured left arm. He performs the twelve etudes with an increasingly playful joy. That parts are nearly unplayable never occurs to anyone. The second etude glides past lightly and delicately as if it were nothing. Katz belts out the famous, often so horribly abused third etude with bravado while the fourth pounces on it with its claws. Grand, playful wit flashes forth in no. 8 where the left hand takes so much pleasure. Amir Katz plays all etudes coherently, as a cycle, and the powerful conclusion, the so-called “Revolutionary Etude,” outshines the whole with its quintessence. From the momentum of the enthusiastic applause dance forth two large Chopin waltzes (Grande valse brillante Op. 18 and Op. 64, No. 2) as encores, and as if there were limitless energy and joy in playing, Katz offers the “Octave Etude” from Op. 25 as well.

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