I was introduced to Katchen through his Brahms set, which was, and remains the best overall set and value if you want the piano works complete. Katchen, for those who dont know, died tragically young, yet still left behind quite a recorded legacy-which brings us to this second of eight volumes[16 cd's] of mostly excellent interpretations and virtuosity.
To start with, these brahms concerto's are excellent. I do, however, prefer Gilels, or Freire, or Arrau. But these are not bad by any means, it just happens that they are not the best. The Schumann, Katchen's schumann is full bodied and hot-blooded[his Carnaval on Volume 8] is stunning, as is this Fant op 17. The schumann is one of my favourite concerto's[ironically after the brahms] and this version is very good, though again, not the overall best. I would strongly recommend this to those who want all three for a reasonable price and these are musts for those who are fans of this tragic artist.
As a pianist, I admire his ability to handle even the most hectic rep with clarity and ability to manhandle even the most demonic challenges. He is also, as his Brahms set reveals, a very beautiful player when need be with a lyrical and a tone that is never overly sentimental. It is a shame that his career and life were cut so short-he would have been one of the best.