‘When he is at his best he plays more beautifully than any of us’ wrote Alfred Brendel on the pianism of Wilhelm Kempff.
Eloquence is proud to announce a mini-edition devoted to some of the rarer recordings of Wilhelm Kempff, born in 1895 at Jüterbog, the son of a church organist. By 1916, Kempff was firmly established as a soloist in Europe following many appearances with the Berlin Philharmonic under Nikisch, and as a teacher (he became director of the Musikhochschule, Stuttgart, in 1924). In the 1930s, he gained a reputation in Beethoven’s sonatas, which he took around the world. Curiously, he did not appear in London until 1951, nor America until 1964. Apart from a period with Decca in the 1950s, Kempff was a Deutsche Grammophon artist for over 60 years, beginning in 1920. He continued to perform well into his 80s, and gave his final concert in 1981. From 1957, he had given annual courses at his home in Positano, Italy, where he died in 1991. Jeremy Nicholas contributes the notes for all these releases.
All of Kempff’s post-war recordings of Mozart are here presented on two 2CDs sets. The first comprises five piano concertos, while the second brings together three piano concertos, two sonatas and two Fantasias. The naturalness, expressive freedom, freshness and spontaneity of the music-making will always be treasured.
Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, KV 488
Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, KV 491
Piano Concerto No. 8 in C major ‘Lützow’, KV 246
Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, KV 467
Piano Concerto No. 22 in E flat major, KV 482
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Wilhelm Kempff, piano
Recording Producers: Otto Gerdes (Piano Concerto No. 8); Hans Ritter (Piano Concertos Nos. 23 & 24); Dr Rudolf Werner (Piano Concertos Nos. 21 & 22)
Recording Engineers: Werner Wolf (Piano Concerto No. 8); Walter Alfred Wettler (Piano Concertos Nos. 23 & 24); Heinz Wildhagen, Jobst Eberhardt (Piano Concertos Nos. 21 & 22)
Recording Locations: UFA-Tonstudio, Berlin, Germany, January 1962 (Piano Concerto No. 8); Kulturraum, Bamberg, Germany, April 1960 (Piano Concertos Nos. 23 & 24); Herkulessaal, Munich, Germany, 20–23 May 1977 (Piano Concertos Nos. 21 & 22)
‘almost anything played by this keyboard titan is worth hearing’ International Piano
‘poetry in almost every phrase’ Gramophone