Embarrassments of riches--too many pieces, too much sound, too many musical ideas and too heavy a pedal foot--marked Cyprien Katsaris' debut recital at Ambassador Auditorium, Pasadena, on Sunday night. To make matters more irritating, the Coughers Union seemed to have sent over a hacker's-dozen of their best noisemakers and distracters.
The Marseille-born pianist of Cypriot parentage overloaded this appearance. In minutes, his recital program was not too long; in musical content and decibels, it spilled over.
Katsaris' first half offered Schumann's "Scenes From Childhood," a viable opener consisting of 13 familiar and poetical miniatures, followed by a selection of 12 excerpts from Edvard Grieg's 10 albums of Lyric Pieces. By the time intermission arrived, the listener felt pelted with roses.
Nor was every musical missile pleasingly fragrant. Katsaris seems to be a very able and fluent young pianist (he was born in 1951), with a penchant for playing loud and fast most of the time and an undeveloped ear for nuance and variety of tone and texture. When he chooses to play softly, he often also chooses to distort the musical line--leaving it alone, keeping it simple and holding back are not his style.