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Peter Katin Plays Chopin Piano Pieces

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Catalogue No: SOMMCD 085
Release Date: 04/01/2009
Number of Discs: 1
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With the demise of Olympia Peter Katin regained the rights to his recording, in 1987, of this wonderful Chopin disc and he has been particularly keen that SOMM should now license it exclusively from him. This is now ready and we are pleased to have it in our catalogue.

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.

“Peter Katin remains one of my favourite pianists, and his recording of the Rachmaninov Preludes shows him at his absolute best. Katin’s sound-world is utterly his own, and his variety of sonority is put to tremendous poetic effect in these readings, where the glittering edge of his cantabile is matched by playing of ardent commitment in the more vigorous Preludes”.
John Kersey, International Piano, 2004.

“The large and appreciative audience that attended Peter Katin’s recital at Wigmore Hall on 14 February was rewarded with the distinguished musicianship that has marked this artist as one of the finest British pianists of the last 60 years”.
Musical Opinion, April 2008.

“His recital identified the interpretative strengths which have endured in Katin’s playing. The key quality is not that it is old-fashioned but that it transcends fashion. There is always room for a pianist who, like him, understands the concepts of style, of taste, of discretion and musical character. In playing like this, the sensitivity and ability to distill the creative essence of a piece could have found no more persuasive expression”.
Geoffrey Norris, Daily Telegraph, 2004.

On This Recording

  1. Ballade No. 4: Ballade No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 52
  2. Mazurka No. 36: Mazurka No. 36 in A Minor, Op. 59, No. 1
  3. Mazurka No. 37: Mazurka No. 37 in A-Flat Major, Op. 59, No. 2
  4. Mazurka No. 38: Mazurka No. 38 in F-Sharp Minor, Op. 59, No. 3
  5. Piano Sonata No. 3: I. Allegro maestoso
  6. Piano Sonata No. 3: II. Scherzo: Molto vivace
  7. Piano Sonata No. 3: III. Largo
  8. Piano Sonata No. 3: IV. Finale: Presto, non tanto
  9. Barcarolle: Barcarolle in F-Sharp Major, Op. 60
  10. Polonaise No. 7: Polonaise No. 7 in A-Flat Major, Op. 61, “Polonaise-fantaisie”