Sun 23 Dec 2012
The concert last night at Mercaz Einav in Tel Aviv featured the Israeli pianist Amir Katz in the first out of two programs of Beethoven Sonatas (the second will take place in May 2013). The last and by far most famous piece in the program was Apassionata. Unfortunately I could not find Katz’s interpretation on the net, so I decided to write something about him, and then present four interpretations composing two full versions of the well know piece of glory in the world piano repertory.
Amir Katz was born in Haifa in 1973 and grew as a nurtured talent which turned into a fine pianist which seems to enjoy playing mostly the Romantic piano repertory – Schubert, Mendelssohn, Chopin – and lately Beethoven whose sonatas are the core of his performances programs this season. He has a beautiful presence, is very accurate and technical, what maybe surprised me was the apparent too strong reliance on technique and less on emotion, untypical for a Romantic piano specialist. The first two sonatas in the program sounded … well … very un-Beethoven, and even the Liszt piece at the ‘encore’ was very un-Liszt. Not bad, strong, well played, but lacking passion. It was only the Apassionata that seemed to unchain his emotional energy as well, and his version of the difficult, stormy, tumultuous piece was very good.
What I did find on Amir’s channel on youTube is another piece by Liszt ‘Paganini’s Etude nr. 2 in E flat major’- great interpretation, if that one was in the program last night together with Appassionata.
There is no need to write many words about Piano Sonata no. 23 by Beethoven. It was composed between 1804 and 1806, and named Appassionata after his death. It is one of the most vigorous and temperamental pieces of piano in the Romantic and world music, it demands virtuosity and deep resonance to render its whole beauty and complexity and it deserves its name.
Sviatoslaw Richter’s recording of the first movement is presented above.
Valentina Lisitsa plays the second movement in the recording above.
Above, Claudio Arau plays the final part.
Here is the full piece in the version of Daniel Barenboim