P01225. JULIUS KATCHEN: Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin, Brahms & Liszt. (Germany) 2-Audite 23.419, Live Performances, 1962-64, Berlin. Specially priced. - 4022143214195
“This anthology of Julius Katchen’s complete solo recordings, made during two recording blocks in 1962 and 1964, expands Katchen’s discography by as many as six first releases: Beethoven’s Rondo. Op.129 ‘Rage Over a Lost Penny’, Chopin’s A-flat major Ballade, the two famous Nocturnes Op.9.1 and Op.27.2, the late Berceuse, and finally Liszt’s Piano Sonata in b minor, one of the pillars of 19th century piano music. Katchen’s energetic and virtuosic reading of the Liszt sonata ranks highly amongst the great recordings of this piece. However, his interpretations of the works by Chopin, Beethoven and the late Brahms, thanks to his natural combination of virtuosity, musicianship and sense of form, are also documents of magnificently timeless piano-playing.
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