These are marvelous concertos that deserve your attention. For those hearing it for the first time, the (very) youthful concerto for piano and strings will be a revelation. It dates from the same period as Mendelsson's amazing string symphonies, and the orchestral accompaniment is much more than just an accompaniment. It contains excellent string writing, with considerable counterpoint and fine interplay between soloist and strings. The early concerto shows unequivocally Mendelsson's debt to Hummel, and could easily pass for one of Hummel's own concertos, albeit with more substance and less dazzle in the passagework. The music will stick in your mind, unlike many of the lesser works of the period, and it wears extremely well. (Some of Weber's influence is also present, as in the "athletic" piano writing in places, and the tremolando/parlando section of the middle movement, which foreshadows similar writing in the middle movement of Chopin's second concerto.) The other two concertos, more mature works, are great fun, and are well known. They do a fine job of contrasting the virtuosic with the lyrical, and have moments of great beauty as well as dazzling digital wizardry. Clearly, they were designed to entertain and to please, especially the first concerto. Now to the performance itself. Katsaris clearly can play very fast. Unfortunately, that seems to be his major virtue. These performances are basically glittering, but unfeeling: an excercise in virtuosity that does little justice to the quality of these compositions. Having seen Serkin perform the two mature concertos live and experienced his great joy playing these, and having grown up with his recording with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Ormandy, I strongly recommend that recording in spite of its slightly bright sound. Serkin combines energy, virtuosity, and melting lyricism in one enjoyable package. He seems to be saying, "Look how much I love these and how much fun I'm having!", whereas Katsaris seems to be saying, "Look how fast I can play!". Serkin's performance of the second mvmt of the second concerto is almost a full two minutes longer than Katsaris, and is much the better for it. This gorgeous mvmt now has some substance, rather than coming across as a brief trifle. As far as good recordings of the piano/strings concerto, the old recording by Rena Kyriakou stands out, if you can find it. It has great detail and a forward presence, and a good piano sound to complement her fine and persuasive performance. Unfortunately, this re-release of the original Turnabout issue (on the Tuxedo label) has the caveat that while the concerto is in good stereo, the accompanying shorter pieces for piano and orchestra are in mono, even though they were in early stereo on the original LP. Brautigam's performance on Bis suffers from the same addiction to velocity as Katsaris', although his playing has more poetry. His performances of #1 and #2 are OK, but not outstanding. The chamber orchestra that partners with him has the unfortunate mannerism of clipping off the last note of phrases, which if you are familiar with the music, becomes rather annoying. I expect that Benjamin Frith might record the piano/string concerto for Naxos at some point, but I have found his playing to be rather bland on other releases.