"Among the very best records he has made" - Gramophone
Brilliant Mendelssohn and Grieg from Katin sound stunningly good
Recording producer: James Walker; Recording engineer: James Brown
Recorded 9-10 February, 1956, Kingsway Hall, London
GRIEG Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16 [notes / score]
London Philharmonic Orchestra
conducted by Colin Davis
Recording producer: Erik Smith; Recording engineers: Kenneth Wilkinson, Alan Reeve
Recorded 2nd October, 1959, Kingsway Hall, London
Transfers from Decca LPs ECS627 & SPA170
Peter Katin, piano
FLAC downloads include full scores of each work
"Peter Katin's accounts of the two Mendelssohn concertos have always struck me as among the very best records he has made. They have a striking freshness to command them and in the slow movement of the G minor Concerto for example, just the right amount of poetic feeling. His refinement of tone colour excites admiration and his playing is distinguished by consistently good taste and judgement. The finale has sparkle and spontaneity though Mr Katin never allows his virtuosity to overstep the bounds of the period. These are in short very natural performances, well proportioned and polished, with the LSO under Anthony Collins providing admirable support. Both readings have stood the test of time well and the recording still sounds very good indeed with firm fresh-sounding piano tone truthful throughout its range and a well-focussed orchestral tone. The balance is good and the stereo quality is successful. Recommended."
Gramophone, December 1971
Notes on the transfers:
This is the third and final release in Pristine Audio's short series of stereo orchestral recordings made by the pianist Peter Katin for Decca and its subsidiaries in the mid-to-late 1950s, and features recordings from both his first and final stereo sessions at this time - there were no Decca recordings at all by Katin during the 1960s, and it was not until 1970 that he returned to the studio with Decca's engineers to make an LP of music by William Walton, with the composer conducting, for Lyrita.
In both of the present recordings I have adopted a very minimal approach to the remastering - to put it plainly, these Decca recordings were so good to begin with that I felt there was little that full XR remastering could manage to in any way improve them beyond lifting a slight veil at the top end.. I also used an undetectable second or two of convolution reverb to "assist" a rather clunky edit at the very end of the Grieg. Other than this my main duties were to eliminate any clicks from two superb pressings, reduce tape hiss levels slightly, and eliminate occasional very low frequency environmental rumble quite possibly caused by distant passing Underground trains being picked up by Decca's microphones during the recording sessions.
Biographical notes from PeterKatin.com
Born in London, Peter Katin's musical talent was evident at the age of four, and he was admitted to the senior department of the Royal Academy of Music when he was twelve, four years before the official age of entry. The success of his Wigmore Hall début in 1948 started him on a career that has taken him throughout the world (he was the first British artist to give a post-war solo tour of the then USSR), and in those earlier years he was greatly influenced by his meetings with Clifford Curzon, Claudio Arrau and Myra Hess, who gave him much advice for which he has always been deeply grateful.
His early successes seemed centred round the classical composers; he was greatly in demand for Mozart concerto performances in particular and he also developed a rare talent for chamber music. However, a performance of Rachmaninov's D minor Concerto in 1953 changed his image almost overnight, and hailed as a virtuoso of the first order he was constantly in demand for the most taxing of romantic concertos until the late sixties, but by that time he decided that he needed to make a more in-depth study of the composers who had almost escaped him when he was immersed in the big major works.
The first composer in this specialised study was Chopin, and since that time he has become regarded as one of the finest interpreters of this composer's music. He was sufficiently encouraged to make similar studies of Schubert, Schumann, Debussy and Liszt, and as a result has given a number of one-composer recitals. His repertoire now is very flexible and he is happy about performing concertos by Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms in one week, while keeping a very wide variety of styles in his recital programmes.
His constant encouragement of the preserving of individuality in young artists has been one factor in the conferral during 1994 of an Honorary Doctorate by De Montfort University, and as a teacher, he has had highly successful years at the Royal Academy of Music, The University of Western Ontario, the Royal College of Music and Thames Valley University.
He has now almost forty recordings, more than at any other time in his career, which have been received with critical superlatives. These include the complete Chopin Nocturnes and Impromptus, Grieg Lyric Pieces, Chopin Waltzes and Polonaises and the Rachmaninov Preludes. A live performance of a recital including the Liszt Sonata was released to a rave review in Classic CD. His interest in period pianos has resulted in three such recordings, as well as an all-Chopin programme on his own Collard & Collard 1836, and another on a Broadwood grand that was used by Chopin on the occasion of his last visit to London.
Peter Katin gave an anniversary recital at Wigmore Hall on 13 December 1998, exactly fifty years from the date of his début, celebrated his seventieth birthday in November 2000, and his seventy-fifth birthday in 2005. His acclaimed recording of the complete Mozart sonatas were reissued by Altara Music in July 2008, and a new CD of four Haydn sonatas await release; a Chopin recital (originally for Olympia) from Somm Recordings has been very favourably received. Peter Katin has supported several charities in the past, and he has given no less than fourteen recitals which have raised vital funds for the Chernobyl Children's Project (UK).
Notes from http://www.peterkatin.com
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