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Art of Julius Katchen 3: Brahms / Schumann Import


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Audio CD, Import, January 12, 2004
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Monteux, Kertesz
  • Composer: Brahms
  • Audio CD (January 12, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Decca Import
  • ASIN: B00006GE72
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #518,402 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15: 1. Maestoso
2. Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15: 2. Adagio
3. Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15: 3. Rondo. Allegro non troppo
4. Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54: 1. Allegro affettuoso
5. Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54: 2. Intermezzo. Andantino grazioso -
6. Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54: 3. Allegro vivace
Disc: 2
1. Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83: 1. Allegro non troppo
2. Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83: 2. Allegro appassionato
3. Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83: 3. Andante
4. Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83: 4. Allegretto grazioso
5. Fantasie (Obolen auf Beethovens Monument) for piano in C major, Op. 17: 1. Durchaus fantastisch und leidenschaftlich vorzutragen
6. Fantasie (Obolen auf Beethovens Monument) for piano in C major, Op. 17: 3. Langsam getragen. Durchweg seise zu halten

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michael Brad Richman HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 15, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Julius Katchen was one of the world's best Brahms interpreters. His 6-CD boxed set of the Complete Works for Solo Piano on London/Decca is without peer. And when it came to the Concertos, the results were equally magical. This 2-CD Double Decca Import title is Volume 3 of the Art of Julius Katchen series. The Brahms First on CD 1, with Pierre Monteux and the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Brahms Second on CD 2, with Janos Ferencsik conducting the same orchestra, are brilliant performances made during the golden age of stereo. Each disc is rounded out by a Schumann piano work -- the Piano Concerto with Istvan Kertesz and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra on the first, and the Fantasie, Op. 17 on the second. Many of Katchen's vintage performances have been available sporadically stateside, but these Australian imports are the best way to get all of his glorious Concerto recordings.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael Brad Richman HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 24, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The risk you run when buying import classical CDs is that they will eventually get released domestically at a much lower price. Well, such is the case here for yours truly. My review below is still accurate in terms of musical content, so instead of editing it (and losing my helpful votes) just note that this title is no longer an Australian import. Enjoy the savings!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sir Butternut Longsword VINE VOICE on May 1, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I was introduced to Katchen through his Brahms set, which was, and remains the best overall set and value if you want the piano works complete. Katchen, for those who dont know, died tragically young, yet still left behind quite a recorded legacy-which brings us to this second of eight volumes[16 cd's] of mostly excellent interpretations and virtuosity.
To start with, these brahms concerto's are excellent. I do, however, prefer Gilels, or Freire, or Arrau. But these are not bad by any means, it just happens that they are not the best. The Schumann, Katchen's schumann is full bodied and hot-blooded[his Carnaval on Volume 8] is stunning, as is this Fant op 17. The schumann is one of my favourite concerto's[ironically after the brahms] and this version is very good, though again, not the overall best. I would strongly recommend this to those who want all three for a reasonable price and these are musts for those who are fans of this tragic artist.
As a pianist, I admire his ability to handle even the most hectic rep with clarity and ability to manhandle even the most demonic challenges. He is also, as his Brahms set reveals, a very beautiful player when need be with a lyrical and a tone that is never overly sentimental. It is a shame that his career and life were cut so short-he would have been one of the best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By foosayer on July 2, 2010
Format: Audio CD
This 2-disc set contains three of my go-to performances involving my favorite Brahms interpreter, Julius Katchen.

Though his specialty may be smaller works for solo piano, Katchen has a big technique in his arsenal that permits him to bang with the best, a prerequisite for success with Brahms' First. The Katchen/Monteux Brahms remains my favorite version. Monteux's reading and the recording are full-blown and up close, appropriate for the young Brahms. I have a couple of issues. A firmer rein on the orchestra might have provided more suitable accompaniment for Katchen's delicate introspection in some passages. The mix apparently couldn't fix the problem. Also, the sound quality in this recording is slightly muddy, heavy and indistinct in the bass. But the beauty of Katchen's playing, the richness of the London strings, and Monteux's energy make up for much.

In the Brahms' Second, London provides the close-up listening experience that I prefer. Ferencsik provides a large range of expression. The energetic passages are singing and jaunty, the slower passages quite restrained. The understatement of the orchestra in the inner movements took a little getting used to. Katchen is providing most of the appassionata at the opening of the Allegro, and Heath's cello in the Andante, while sweetly played, seems too classically inspired. But I have come to appreciate this viewpoint, and it is in the Andante where Katchen provides the big payoff for me in this recording. The finale is satisfyingly energetic and completes an overall enjoyable experience. The recorded sound, despite an audible rumble, is good enough not to mar enjoyment. The piano is forward enough that the listener doesn't have to strain to hear it.

The Schumann Concerto is a highly listenable bonus.
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Format: Audio CD
I was primarily interested here in the two Brahms concertos, given Katchen's fame as a Brahms player. The English had a special liking for Katchen, and Decca has kept many of his recordings in the catalog, on and off again, for forty years. I should show my hand in advance: I have never been a particular fan and don't collect Katchen's performances. In this case I found, as I usually do, a big technique combined with a rather settled temperament and no great insight into either work. To take the Concerto #2 since it was of the most interest to me, Katchen resembles Emanuel Ax in his straightforward reading; te tone is big, as is the approach. But to me this huge, heroic work demands the kind of passionate attack one hears from Richter, Pollini, Serkin, and Fleisher, and when an interpretation becomes transcendent, there's a great conductor in total synch with the soloist, as with Barenboim and Barbirolli. Katchen was unfortunate to be paired with the pedestrian Ferencsik, who takes no special interest in the proceedings.

In Concerto #1 the conductor is the much better Pierre Monteux with the LSO, and one immediately hears the difference in the gripping introduction that Monteux evokes, memorable for having so much power and musicalaity without becoming ponderous, always a temptation in this overweening work. The young Brahms was trying desperately to sound great, but since in reality he was great, there's no need for conductors to belabor the point. Monteux doesn't, and I would rank his melifluous orchestral work with Szell's for Curzon and Fleisher or Barbirolli's for Barenboim.
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