Beethoven was Wilhelm Furtwängler’s guiding musical force. In his interpretations of the symphonies, the conductor generates irresistible dramatic momentum – and a constant sense of imaginative freshness – through the interrelationship of form, harmony, texture, rhythm and tempo. These recordings, all made in the late 1940s and early 1950s, in the Musikverein in Vienna and at concerts in London, Bayreuth and Stockholm, were newly remastered in 2010, bringing their sound more alive than ever before.
One of the great cycles. Of the hundred or so available recorded cycles (out of about one hundred and fifteen or so), this rates as one of the best. In better sound than either the DG stereo cycle and the live King International cycle, Kempff's style is more poetic and less intense and fiery than others. Whatever Kempff may give away in terms of speed, power, and precision, he makes up for in other ways
60 CD box set. Selection of Ludwig Van Beethoven works recorded by David Zinman & Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (Symphonies), Yefim Bronfman, David Zinman & tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (Piano concertos), Pinchas Zuckerman & Marc Neikrug (Violin Sonatas), Anner Bylsma & Jon Van Immerseel (Cello Sonatas), Seraphin Trio (Piano Trios), Alexander String Quartet (String Quartets), Yukio Yokoyama, Robert Casadesus, Justus Frantz, Vladimir Horowitz, Gerhard Oppitz & Charles Rosen (Piano Sonatas), Eugene Ormandy & Philadelphia Orchestra (Christ On The Mount Of Olives), Wolfdieter Maurer & Tokyo Oratorio Society (Mass in C Major), David Zinman & Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (Missa Solemnis) and many other great artists.
Five Piano Concertos and the Piano Sonata No. 32, opus 111, recorded in stereo in 1962 and 1964, respectively, by Wilhelm Kempff [1895-1991] and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Ferdinand Leitner [1912-96]. The sonata, the composer’s last, is certainly more than a mere filler, from the opening hesitancy of the ‘Allegro con brio ed appassionato’ to the extended closing section of the second movement.
These live performances were recorded for broadcast during WWII in Germany, and while the sound is not up to modern standards it is surprisingly good for its time. The microphones in the concert hall were wired to a small, windowless control room, where they were primatively "mixed" and the signal sent via telegraph wire to the radio transmitter studio, where it was recorded on early Magnetophone tape recorders. The tapes were captured by the Soviets after the liberation of Berlin and transported to Moscow, where they languished for many years. Some performances were released by the Soviets, but the tapes were eventually returned to Germany and reprocessed in the 1980's.
In the 1950s these recordings would have given a very up-to-date impression, I imagine; the playing is extremely clean there's never a hint of sentimental violin slides or over-use of the sustaining pedal. But nearly half a century later, perhaps we're more conscious of the old-world virtues Schneiderhan's beautiful legato bowing and gentle vibrato, Kempff's full, unforced tone, and a flexible approach from both artists, with finely graded ritardandos and subtle variations of tempo.
This important set contains the sixteen Beethoven sonatas that Wilhelm Kempff recorded for Grammophon in Germany between 1940 and 1943. Several are reissued here for the first time since their original release on 78rpm discs and none are currently available elsewhere. The sound is excellent for the period and all reveal the young Kempff at his best, in performances that compliment his later thoughts. The release is the companion of two previous APR releases of early Kempff Beethoven recordings the late sonatas (APR6018) and piano concertos 1, 3, 4 & 5 (APR6019), both of which received excellent reviews and were amongst APRs best sellers.
Conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler already enjoyed a worldwide legendary standing during his lifetime - he was considered the German conductor and performances were greeted with rapturous applause. Today, more than 50 years after his death, Wilhelm Furtwangler is still an icon and his work has become an integral part ofthe music scene.