P1149. JULIUS KATCHEN: Brahms Works for Solo Piano. (Germany) 6-London Stereo/Mono 455 247, recorded, 1962-65. Boxed Set, w.Brochure. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 028945524726
“The American pianist Julius Katchen made his name in the early 1950's and died in 1969, but although he's generally thought of as a distinguished figure from the last generation, it's salutary to realize that he would probably be performing today if his career had not ended when he was only 42. Even so, his legacy of recordings reminds us of his gifts and the breadth of his repertory, and the present Brahms cycle has distinction. Poetry is to be found in good measure in Katchen's playing of the Four Ballades, Op 10. These pieces belie the composer's youth in their deep introspection, though the pianist takes a brisk view of the Andante con moto tempo in #4. But the great f minor Sonata is spacious and thoughtful as well as leonine, and this is a noble performance, well recorded in 1966. The shorter pieces are finely done also. Katchen is in his element in the Two Rhapsodies of Op 79, balancing the stormy and lyrical qualities to perfection. The playing, however, is masterly, with tragedy, twilight mystery and storm and stress fully playing their part.
Only the first 10 of the 21 Hungarian Dances exist in the composer's own (very difficult) version for piano solo, and in the others, written for piano duet, Katchen is joined by Jean-Pierre Marty; there's plenty of fire here and much to enjoy. Altogether, this Brahms set is a fine memorial to Katchen and a worthy issue.”
- Gramophone Classical Music Guide
"Julius Katchen was one of the most prodigiously gifted pianists of his generation….His technique was so amazing that friend and colleague Ned Rorem thought it superior to Horowitz.”
- Allen Linkowski, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Sept./Oct., 1999
“Julius Katchen (1926-1969), who died tragically early of leukaemia, represented, alongside Leon Fleisher, Gary Graffman and William Kapell, the generation of the so-called OYAPs (Outstanding Young American Pianists) who from 1940 onwards established themselves as strong and enduring competition to the European pianists who had dominated American concert stages until that point. Katchen had been born into a Russian-Jewish family of immigrants in the state of New Jersey and made his début aged only 10 with Mozart’s d minor Concerto. In the following year he was invited by Eugene Ormandy to take part in a concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra as the youngest ever soloist in the history of that orchestra. A year after that, he gave his solo début in New York. In 1946 Katchen moved to Paris, becoming one of the most active American musical ambassadors in Europe. His extensive discography, at whose centre are the complete piano works of Brahms, shows him to be a sophisticated virtuoso of the new type, for whom pianistic brilliance was no raison d’être as such, but instead served a deep intellectual and emotional penetration of the music.”
- Ned Ludd