Before anything else is said, it has to be admitted that the 1963 recording with Mstislav Rostropovich and Sviatoslav Richter is beyond all argument the greatest set of Beethoven's cello sonatas ever recorded. Nevertheless, for the single best recording of Beethoven's cello sonata, it should be this 1965 recording by Pierre Fournier and Wilhelm Kempff. Because while Rostropovich and Richter are the greater virtuosos, their virtuosity is also inevitably the prism through which Beethoven's music radiates and his music is colored by their virtuosity.
The thirty-five CDs that make up the present boxed set are designed to acquaint listeners with one of the most important pianists of the 20th century or, if they are already familiar with his work, to allow them to rediscover it anew. Wilhelm Kempff (1895-1991) was the final representative of the great tradition of German pianists that also included Artur Schnabel (1882-1951) and Wilhelm Backhaus (1884-1969). Of the three, Kempff had by far the longest career - he gave his last public concert in 1982.
Wilhelm Kempff (1895–1991), one of the great piano masters, receives an exceptional tribute from the label with which he was most closely associated. This is a beautiful, limited-edition 35-CD box of Kempff’s complete solo repertoire on DG and Decca Classics. It includes the stereo Beethoven sonata cycle, the Schubert sonata cycle, generous anthologies of Bach, Brahms, Liszt, Schubert, and Schumann – plus Chopin and Baroque. There are many rarities, not readily available at present.
Deutsche Grammophon proudly presents the most authoritative Schubert project ever made, featuring all the masterpieces in timeless recordings plus many rare gems that manifest Schuberts genius.
This first edition comprehensively covers Schuberts vast orchestral, chamber and piano output, containing all the masterworks in definitive recordings by legendary artists: Abbado (symphonies), Kempff (piano sonatas), Melos Quartett (string quartets & string quintet the latter with Rostropovich), Pires (piano works), Gidon Kremer (violin works) Beaux Arts Trio (trios).
Menuhin and Kempff seem in just about total agreement about how to play these sonatas: with enough attack to project their dramatic moments in a domestic context, and with enough repose to show their lyrical moments in the very best of lights.
The box set Great Piano Concertos has been produced to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Naxos and draws on their extensive catalogue of concerto recordings. The recording quality varies from the older 1980’s recordings but there are some good things to enjoy in the 10 CD set particularly Idil Biret playing the two Chopin piano concerts with the Slovak State Philharmonic under Rubert Stankovsky. The two Liszt concertos with Eldar Nebolsin and the RLPO under Petrenko are also very enjoyable as is Jenő Jando playing the Grieg and Schumann concertos with the Budapest Symphony under András Ligeti.