These are intelligent and imaginative interpretations. I agree whole-heartedly with the two long positive reviews already here. I would only add two things. First, the performances highlight Katsaris' gift for bringing out the inner voices of a composition; the textures he produces are almost symphonic in their complexity and voicings (This is, of course, what has distinguished his recordings of piano versions of symphonic music). Also, the very fine quality of the recording is worth noting. His recording on Telarc of the Ballades and Scherzi is also worth hearing. In both recordings he makes Chopin sound startlingly modern. His Chopin may not be to all tastes or even to mine on some occasions, but these performances communicate.
Katsaris made brilliant recordings of Complete Chopin sonatas and Polonaises also by Sony (sadly out of print), but this recording of Chopin Preludes is one of the worst of his entire discography. His playing has verve and virtuosity, but has no depth or subtlety required for playing these highly poetic pieces. It sounds more like Prokofiev than Chopin at time! Only 3 stars for his quick fingers.
By no stretch of the imagination could Cyprien Katsaris ever be considered a conventional interpreter of Chopin. Quite the opposite. His "vision" is, well, different: off-center, controversial to be sure, but "skewed" in the most innovative, unique, emotionally penetrating, humbling, and technically astonishing ways conceivable. However, because Katsaris maintains such a distinctive "profile," a recording such as the Op. 28 Preludes, here, may be just a tad too "over-the-edge" for those listeners used to more middle-of-the-road pianists whose renditions get lost in the wallpaper or, at best, seek not to offend, not take chances, not garner--- heaven forbid!--- any type of criticism.
Personally, I would prefer the eccentric to the standard or, worse, the dull.
For me, the Katsaris performance of the Preludes was a revelation from the outset. No. Perhaps revelation is too weak a word. Listening to Katsaris play Chopin's twenty-four Preludes, Op. 28 was an epiphany...
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