Julius Katchen

Beethoven: The Piano Concertos; Choral Fantasy; Diabelli Variations

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

After any major war, civilization changes. And that includes music. Think of the difference between the music of the pre-French Revolutionary War -- Mozart -- and of post-French Revolutionary War -- Rossini -- or the difference between the music of the pre-Great European War -- Mahler -- and of the post-Great European War -- Stravinsky. And so it was before and after the Second World War: think of the pre-war pianists -- Hoffmann, say, or Cortot -- and the postwar pianists -- Leon Fleisher in America or Julius Katchen in England. Out were less than polished technique and ruminative interpretations, and in were super-virtuoso technique and streamlined interpretations. Take for example this four-disc collection of Julius Katchen's recordings of Beethoven's piano concertos, Choral Fantasy, Diabelli Variations, and Opus 111 Piano Sonata. Katchen's technique is flawless, his tone is brilliant, his rhythms are clipped, his tempos are fast, and, compared with pre-war performances, inflexible. For some, Katchen's touch may be too staccato, his virtuosity may be too facile -- as if such a thing were possible -- and his interpretations may be too objective. For others, his lucidity and intensity may be just the thing to correct what might be characterized as the sloppy sentimentality of the pre-war era. But whichever side one takes, listening to these clear, warm, and only slightly faded Decca recordings taped in the '50s and '60s with Piero Gamba leading the London Symphony Orchestra will be a bracing, perhaps even exhilarating, experience.

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Variations (33) on a waltz by Diabelli, for piano in C major ("Diabelli Variations"), Op. 120
1
0:50 Amazon
2
1:16
3
0:44 Amazon
4
1:12 Amazon
5
1:03 Amazon
6
0:50 Amazon
7
1:23 Amazon
8
0:57 Amazon
9
1:11 Amazon
10
1:29 Amazon
11
0:33 Amazon
12
0:50 Amazon
13
0:46
14
0:51 Amazon
15
4:35
16
0:34 Amazon
17
0:56 Amazon
18
0:58
19
1:30
20
0:42
21
1:45
22
1:11
23
0:46
24
0:50
25
1:49
26
0:46
27
0:46
28
0:54
29
0:47
30
1:08
31
1:39
32
4:54
33
2:47
34
3:18
35
5:10
Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111
36
8:41
37
16:43
blue highlight denotes track pick