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.
Here on five CDs are Wilhelm Kempff’s complete Decca and DG concerto recordings dating from the 1950s. Most mercurial of musical geniuses, Kempff’s playing created an instantly recognisable aura and ambience, making comparison with other great pianists of the 20th century an exercise in irrelevance. For Alfred Brendel, Kempff was ‘like an Aeolian harp, ever ready to respond to whatever interesting wind blew his way’ and although there was clearly a ground plan behind his interpretations they were marked by an improvisatory charm and pulse that gave a rare individuality to virtually all his performances. Outwardly benign (some considered him cosy, or gemütlich) his playing brimmed over with a colour and nuance worn with an enviable ease and lightness. Unlike so many of his colleagues (Schnabel and Myra Hess, for example) Kempff adored recording and was more than happy to present this or that jewel-like facet of a score for his listener’s endless fascination and delight.