13 October 2008

Westfälischen Rundschau Unna, Review by Martina Lode-Gerke

Piano Concert with Addictiveness: Amir Katz Awes
“Whoever has already heard pianist Amir Katz knows that when he plays, there is the danger of addiction.” Unna. Whoever has already heard pianist Amir Katz knows that when he plays, there is the danger of addiction.

By now it has been five years since he won the first prize at the Schubert Competition in Dortmund – with his partly mischievous, partly intoxicating playing, he cast a spell over the spectators back then at the finale and the concluding concert in the Konzerthaus. By now he seems more mature, the already brilliant technique even more naturally available, more confident. And all that without his playful wit and brilliance having suffered any losses.

Thus were the findings of the spectators in the Stadthalle on Sunday where the Israeli-born pianist performed at the invitation of the Musikverein. Naturally also with a work by Schubert, the so-called ‘Wanderer Fantasy’; the pianist sets up the first part powerfully, abstaining now and again – just as in one or two Songs without Words by Mendelssohn – from pure beauty of sound and giving precedence to passion. Added to this come a technical precision that recalls not only a Swiss clockwork, but that also remains without peer, along with an uncommon capacity for empathy which in the Songs without Words allows him to confer upon each individual piece its own fitting character. As in the Schubert Fantasy, the listener feels that every passage can and must sound exactly as it does and no differently.

That the young pianist is still up to mischief is evident also in Beethoven’s “Waldstein Sonata”; almost tender passages alternate in the third movement with impudent, almost impetuous ones without the interpreter having even endeavored to mask the differences. His playing is full of contrasts and therefore never boring. And: never once does any one passage seem illogical because of its difference to another. A glorious, wondrous evening. The second master concert on 23 November is the conclusion of the ‘Autumn of Cello.’

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