Julius Katchen ∙ Piano Recitals 1946-1965 ∙ 2CD


Julius Katchen was one of two musically gifted children in a family of musicians. His sister, Rita Katchen Hillman, was an accomplished pianist as well as violinist, who served as concertmaster of the New Jersey students orchestra and the Oberlin Conservatory orchestra. Growing up in an environment steeped in musical tradition, young Julius developed a passion for the piano. Displaying extraordinary musical aptitude from a tender age, he received training from his maternal grandmother. After the conclusion of World War II, Katchen was granted a graduate scholarship as an exchange fellow, enabling him to pursue a year of study at the University of Paris. Recognizing the better prospects for concert engagements and artistic growth, Katchen decided to establish his career in Europe. Tragically, Julius Katchen succumbed to cancer and passed away in 1969, at the peak of his brilliant career, at the age of 42. Throughout his 31-year career, Katchen showcased his prodigious talent on six continents, performing in 42 countries and collaborating with 122 symphony orchestras. This double album encompasses the earliest French radio recordings of Katchen from 1946. In addition, the album includes notable performances of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in A-flat Major, Op. 26, Gershwin’s Three Préludes, and Schubert’s Piano Sonata in B-flat Major, D 960. These three compositions, previously unrecorded in Katchen’s commercial discography, represent a significant and valuable contribution to his musical legacy.

Meloclassic expresses its gratitude to Claire Bouchendhomme and Bruno Monsaingeon for their valuable assistance in curating this CD set. We extend a special appreciation to the Rita Katchen Hillman Family for providing rare photographs that are included in this release.

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JULIUS KATCHEN Piano Recitals 1946-1965

CD 1

BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No 12 in A-flat Major, Op 26
Recorded · 27 May 1964 · Stuttgart · Villa K · SDR · Radio Studio Recording

SCHUBERT: Piano Sonata in B-flat Major, D 960
Recorded · 6 August 1960 ∙ Prades ∙ Église Saint Pierre ∙ RTF ∙ Live Recording

GERSHWIN: Three Préludes
Recorded · 28 October 1951 · Hamburg · Studio · NDR · Radio Studio Recording

BACH/HESS: Chorale Prélude in G Major ‘Jesu Joy, Of Man’
MOZART: Allegro from Piano Sonata in C Major, KV 545
CHOPIN: Polonaise in A-flat Major, Op 53

Recorded · 20 November 1946 · Paris · Studio d’Essai · RDF · Radio Studio Recording

CD 2

BACH: Partita No 2 in C Minor, BWV 826
BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No 30 in E Major, Op 109
SCHUMANN: Études Symphoniques, Op 13
CHOPIN: Ballade No 3 in A-flat Major, Op 47

Recorded · 25 September 1965 · Ludwigsburg · Schloss · SDR · Live Recording

MENDELSSOHN: Rondo capriccioso in E Major, Op 14
MENDELSSOHN: Prelude and Fugue No 1 in E Minor, Op 35

Recorded · 28 October 1951 · Hamburg · Studio · NDR · Radio Studio Recording

Article number: MC 1061
UPC barcode: 791154050835
Release date: 1 April 2022
Booklet: 12 Pages
Total timing: 71:09 CD1 ∙ 75:17 CD2
From the Original Masters ∙ © 2021 Meloclassic

July 2022 ∙ British Gramophone ∙ Rob Cowan ∙ Julius Katchen ∙ Piano Recitals 1946-1965
The gifted American left us numerous recordings, principally for Decca, though some live tapes survive, including the ‘Piano Recitals 1946-1965’ that appear on another recent Meloclassic double-pack. Disc 1 opens, with a deeply considered account of Beethoven’s Op 26 Sonata. Op 109 is equally memorable, especially the rhapsodic first movement. Schubert’s B flat Sonata features a first movement not dissimilar to Horowitz’s at Carnegie Hall prior to his sabbatical, but come the Andante sostenuto and you can barely breathe: such intensity! The same set also includes a fiery live account of Schumann’s Études Symphoniques as well as memorable readings of Bach’s Second Partita and various shorter works.
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July 2022 ∙ MusicWeb International ∙ Rob Challinor ∙ Julius Katchen Piano Recitals ∙ 1946-1965
Katchen recitals span two decades of superior music making. The recitals here were given in Paris, Hamburg, Prades, Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg, from the earliest to the most recent, and expand known reportorial strengths. The booklet notes enhance the fine transfers. These succinct but communicative series of recitals show Katchen at his considerable best.
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