27 September 2007

Westfalenpost, Kreis Olpe, Review by Tobias Stahl

Mozart Interpreted with Great Feeling
Standing Ovation for Munich Pianist Amir Katz

With Amir Katz the Kunstverein Südsauerland once again presented a great pianist of international repute last Friday. Born in 1973 in Israel and today a resident of Munich, the artist proffered Mozartian pianism in all variations and nuances and took the extremely attentive audience along on a fabulous journey into the great composer’s musical world of thought and emotion.

The point of departure for this was the Piano Sonata in F major, K. 280, composed in 1774. Characterized by extreme contrasts in tempo and affect among movements, the work was a delight due to the persuasive, varied performance. The tonally differentiated treatment of the various movements and their themes was remarkable. The middle movement in particular, an F-minor Adagio in a siciliano rhythm, was appealing because of the soft, full tone coloring of the melody and the emotionally moving depth of performance. A strong emotional reaction stemming from the beauty of Mozart’s piano music was palpable in the audience after the Rondo in A minor, K. 511. Amir Katz gave a masterly interpretation of this late work which develops a characteristic effect through its enormous power of expression and continual tension between plaintive passages in minor and glittering dabs of major. By the second piece of the evening, pianist and Steinway had melted into one entity out of which Mozart’s music held the audience in suspense with almost uncanny intensity and ardor. The overall painful-melancholic character of the Rondo continued then in the Piano Sonata, K. 310, also in A minor – a work of great incisiveness and immense density of mood. Beautiful and moving were the play with orchestral tone colorings in the opening heroic-tragic Allegro maestoso, the magical lyricism of the Andante cantabile with the addendum – taken very seriously by the pianist – con espressione, as well as the suffusion of wildness and unrest in the final Presto.

In short: Amir Katz succeeded in providing a uniquely individual musical interpretation of a true masterwork – the applause guiding him into the intermission was thus in any case merited. As at the beginning, a sonata from 1774 provided the opening after the intermission: B-flat major, K. 281. Katz shined with breathtaking technique and delivered cheerful, playful Mozartian sounds with perfection before the artist bore the composer’s gloomy emotional world back into the audience with the Adagio in B minor, K. 540. Katz interpreted the stirring emotions in the music with great empathy and created glorious contrasts by shaping the lightening moods in major with musical sophistication. Playful ease coupled with technical brilliance as well as a very specific styling in dynamics and agogics were the guarantors of success in the concluding Piano Sonata in D major, K. 311 – long lasting applause from the audience. Overall Amir Katz gave a convincing performance with wonderfully profound interpretations of Mozart’s piano music which enchanted those present with its unmitigated beauty and expressive power. The enthusiastic listeners bade farewell to the artist after four encores with a standing ovation.

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