Friday, July 10, 2015

Wilhelm Kempff - Complete 1950s solo recordings

DG follow their earlier five-disc set of Kempff’s complete 1950s concerto recordings with a further five-CD set of his Brahms and Schumann solo recordings from the same period. Once more, Kempff’s artistry and idiosyncrasy forbid comparison with other pianists. True, it’s often easy to quibble over this or that detail, over ideas that flow from an essentially improvisatory skill. Kempff’s performances were sometimes compromised by patches of rhythmic inertia, an oddly temperate way with a composer’s more extreme dramatic moments and an often teasing caprice. His playing could be strangely perfunctory or exquisitely intimate, thrilling in its immediacy or disconcerting in its seeming nonchalence. Unlike the majority of his colleagues (notably Schnabel and Myra Hess), Kempff loved recording, feeling liberated rather than constricted by the medium. You never knew what to expect and neither, I suspect, did he.
Many of these performances have haunted me down the years. Kempff’s introspection in Brahms’s Second Rhapsody reduces the heroics of its outer sections to mere foils to a whispering, scarcely credible pianissimo at its centre. A lover of stealth rather than storm, he finds his truest voice in the halting, near minimalist progressions of the Fifth Capriccio from Op. 116, an eerie wraith-like utterance. Again, you might well question a pianist who views Brahms’s energico marking for Op. 118, n° 2 so placidly, but few will resist his way with the glowing heart of this Ballade.
In n° 6, an epic in miniature if ever there was one, nothing is over-loaded, earnest or solemn : the music glides seraphically free of all impediment. Kempff finds a true grazioso in the piquant Intermezzo n° 3 from Op. 119 and in the Ballade Op. 10 n° 2 his coda is of a rapt stillness and poetry. In large-scale works, such as the F minor Sonata and Handel Variations, he clarifies any potential opacity with a pin-point definition and vivacity – a reminder that, in his own words, he preferred understatement to overblown rhetoric, clarity to a ‘fat’ sound. The results can sometimes seem wayward, even eccentric, yet they are invariably compelling and never less than fascinating. The fierce declamation of Op. 76 n° 5 is oddly stilted but his pointillist detail in the Op. 4 E-Flat minor Scherzo is unforgettable, particularly when set within his instantly recognisable crystalline sound world.
Turning to Schumann, here is a teasing Papillons, light as air, almost throwaway. Hear Kempff’s pattering vivace, the imitation of sautillé bowing, in the "third Etude" from the Etudes Symphoniques, the intimacy and finesse of his bewegter in n° 4 from Kreisleriana or his way with the Fantasie’s finale and you hear the very essence of his prismatic artistry. Such playing remains light-years away from all known schools or traditions of pianism, from France (Marguerite Long found herself chastened and bemused by his Fauré), Russia or, indeed, Germany (anything less Teutonic than Kempff’s mercurial grace is hard to imagine).
As a bonus there are three popular Beethoven sonatas (the opening of the Moonlight taken at a fast-flowing Andante yet remaining limpid and serene, the reverse of superficial) and six encores all bearing witness to a profound yet lightly- worn musicianship. The recordings have come up superbly and, overall, these performances are beyond price.
Bryce Morrison

Source : http://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/wilhelm-kempff-complete-1950s-solo-recordings

Wilhelm Kempff
Complete 1950s solo recordings

Tracks

Cd. 1

Robert Schumann
(1810-1856)

1. Papillons, Op. 2  12:17
Introduzione. Moderato
I. [without indication] - II. Prestissimo - III. [without indication] -
IV. Presto - V. Grazioso - VI. [without indication] - VII. Semplice -
VIII. [without indication] - IX. Prestissimo - X. Vivo -
XI. [without indication] - XII. Finale

Symphonic Etudes, p. 13
2 Thema. Andante  1:15
3 Etude I. Un poco più vivo  1:02
4 Etude II  3:27
5 Etude III. Vivace  1:19
6 Etude IV 1:02
7 Etde V. Vivacissimo  1:16
8 Etude VI. Agitato  0:58
9 Etude VII. Allegro molto  1:17
10 Etude VIII. Andante  1:17
11 Etude IV. Presto possibile  0:41
12 Etude X. Allegro  1:19
13 Etude XI. Con espressione  2:26
14 Etude XII. Finale. Allegro brillante  6:10

Kreisleriana, Op. 16
Fantasies
15 I. Äußert bewegt  2:29
16 II. Sehr innig nicht zu rasch - Intermezzo I. Sehr lebhaft -  7:00
Intermezzo II. Etwas bewegter - Langsamer (erstes Tempo)
17. III. Sehr aufgeregt  3:25
18 IV. Sehr langsam  3:41
19 V. Sehr lebhaft  3:04
20 VI. Sehr langsam  4:11
21 VII. Sehr rasch  2:17
22 VIII. Schnell und spielend  3:01

23 Arabeske, Op. 18  6:10
Leicht und zart - Minore I. Etwas langsamer -
Minore II. Etwas langsamer - Zum Schluß (Coda). Langsam

Recorded at Beethovensaal, Hanover ; January 16/17, 1956 [# 2-14] ; May 3, 1956 [# 15-22] ; at West Hampstead, Decca Studios, November 5, 1951 [# 1 & 23]

*


Cd. 2

Robert Schumann
(1810-1856)

Fantasie un C Major, Op. 17
4 I. Durchaus phantastisch und leidenschaftlich vorzutragen -  11:30
Im Legendenton - Tempo primo
5 II. Mäßig. Durchaus energisch - Etwas langsamer -  6:15
Viel bewegter
6 III. Langsam gertragen. Durchweg leise zu halten  10:22
Etwas bewegter

Johannes Brahms
(1833-1897)

Four Ballades, Op. 10
4 N° 1 in D minor. Andante  4:04
(after the Scottish Border ballad '"Edward" in Johann Gottfried
Herder's anthology "Stimmen der Völker"
5 N° 2 in D major. Andante - Allegro non troppo  6:30
6 N° 3 in B minor. Intermezzo. Allegro  4:00
7 N° 4 in B major. Andante con moto  8:19

8 Variations and Fugue on a theme by Handel in B-Flat major, Op. 24  24:29
Aria · Variation 1 · Variation 2 · Variation 3 · Variation 4 (Risoluto) · Variation 5 (Espressivo)
Variation 6 · Variation 7 (Con vivacità) · Variation 8 · Variation 9 (Poco sostenuto) · Variation 10
Variation 11 · Variation 12 · Variation 13 (Largamente, ma non più) · Variation 14 · Variation 15 · Variation 16 Variation 17 (Più mosso) · Variation 18 · Variation 19 (Leggiero e vivace) · Variation 20 · Variation 21 · Variation 22 · Variation 23 (Vivace e staccato) · Variation 24 · Variation 25 · Fuga

Recorded at Beethovensaal, Hanover ; January 3, 1957 [# 8] ; January 4 & 5, 1957 [# 1-3] ; at West Hampstead, Decca Studios ; November 23 & 26, 1953 [# 4-7]

*


Cd. 3

Johannes Brahms
(1833-1897)

Piano Sonata n° 3 in F minor, Op. 5
1 I. Allegro maestoso  9:01
2 II. Andante : Andante espressivo - Poco più lento - Andante molto Adagio  10:21
Der Abend dämmert, das Mondlicht scheint / Da sind swei Herzen
in Liebe verent / Und halten sich selig imfangen. (Sternau)
3 III. Scherzo. Allegro energico - Trio  4:52
4 IV. Intermezzo (Rückblick). Andante molto  3:02
5 V. Finale. Allegro moderato ma rubato - Più mosso - Presto - Tempo I  7:23

6 Scherzo in E-Flat minor, Op. 4  8:57
Rasch und feurig (Presto con fuoco) - Trio I - Trio II. Molto espressivo
Più mosso - Più sostenuto

Piano Pieces, Op. 76
7 Capriccio in F-Sharp minor. Un poco agitato  3:04
8 Capriccio in B minor. Allegretto non troppo  3:33
9 Intermezzo in A-Flat major. Grazioso  2:34
10 Intermezzo in B-Flat major. Allegretto grazioso  2:32
11 Capriccio in C-Sharp minor. Agitato, ma non troppo presto  3:23
12 Intermezzo in A major. Andante con moto  3:40
13 Intermezzo in A minor. Moderato semplice  3:02
14 Capriccio in C major. Grazioso ed un poco vivace  3:38

Rhapsodies, Op. 79
4 N° 1 in B minor (Agitato)  9:31

Recorded at Beethovensaal, Hanover ; March 3/4, 1958 [# 1-6] ; at West Hampstead, Decca Studios ; November 23 & 26, 1953 [# 7-4] ; & November 1953 [# 15]

*


Cd. 4

Johannes Brahms
(1833-1897)

Rhapsodies, Op. 79
N° 2 in G minor (Molto passionato, ma non troppo allegro)  7:28

Fantasias, Op. 116
1 Capriccio in D minor. Presto energico  2:48
2 Intermezzo in A minor. Andante)  3:09
3 Capriccio in G minor. Allegro passionato  3:01
4 Inytermezzo in E major. Adagio  4:07
5 Intermezzo in E minor. Andante con grazia  3:09
6 Intermezzo in E major. Andantino teneramente  2:41
7 Capriccio in D minor. Allegro agitato  2:33

Intermezzi, Op. 117
8 N° 1 in E-Flat major. Andante moderato  5:04
9 N° 2 in B-Flat minor. Andante npon troppo e con molto espressione  4:18
10 N° 3 in C-Sharp minor. Andante con molto  5:04

Piano Pieces, Op. 118
11 Intermezzo in A minor. Allegro non assai  2:07
12 Intermezzo in A major. Andante teneramente  4:29
13 Ballade in G minor. Allegro energico  3:58
14 Intermezzo in F minor. Allegretto un poco agitato  2:50
15 Romanze in F major. Andante  3:46
16 Intermezzo in E-Flat minor. Andante, largo e mesto  4:50

Piano Pieces, Op. 119
17 Intermezzo in B minor. Adagio  3:37
18 Intermezzo in E minor. Andantino un poco agitato  5:02
19 Intermezzo in C major. Gazioso e giocoso  1:47
20 Rhapsody in E-Flat major. Allegro risoluto  5:17

Recorded at West Hampstead, Decca Studios ; November 1953 [# 1] ; November 23 & 26, 1953 [# 2-8, 18-21] ; October 1950 [# 9-11] ; & March 23/24, 1950 [# 12-17]

*


Cd. 5

Ludwig van Beethoven
(1770-1827)

Piano Sonata n° 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27 n° 2
"Moonlight"
1 I. Adagio sostenuto - attacca  5:46
2 II. Allegeto - attacca  2:20
3 III. Presto agitato  5:36

Piano Sonata n° 8 in C Minor, Op. 13
"Pathétique"
4 I. Grave - Allegro di molto e con brio  7:23
5 II. Adagio cantabile  5:15
6 III. Rondo. Allegro  4:24

Piano Sonata n° 23 in F Minor, Op 57
"Appassionata"
7 I. Allegro assai  9:46
8 II. Adante con moto - attacca  5:57
9 III. Allegro, ma non troppo - Presto  8:42

10 Bagatelle "Fur Elise" in A Minor, WoO 59  3:24
Poco moto
11 Bagatelle in C Mior, WoO 52  4:22
Presto

Johann Sebastian Bach
(1685-1750)

12 Siciliano in G Minor (from Flute Sonata in E-Flat Major  4:16
BWV 1031, 2nd mvt.)
(transcr. by Wilhelm Kempff)

François Couperin
(1668-1733)

13 Le Carillon de Cythère  4:50
(from Troisième livre de pièces de clavecin, 14e Ordre)

Jean-Philippe Rameau
(1683-1764)

14 Le Rappel des oiseaux  3:25
(from Pièces de clavessin avec une méthode pour la
méchanique des doigts)
(arr. by Wilhelm Kempff)

George Frideric Handel
(1685-1759)

15 The Harmonious Blacksmith. Air - Variations 1-5
(from Suites de pièces pour le clavecin (1st collect.), N° 5
in E Major, HWV 430

Recorded at Beethovensaal, Hanover ; May 16/18, 1960 [# 1-9] ; at West Hampstead, Decca Studios ; March 30/31, 1953 [# 12] ; May 23, 1955 [# 10, 11 13-15]

3 comments:

Melanchthon said...

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cd. 2
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cd. 4
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cd. 5
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artwork
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wouter said...

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Anonymous said...

Can you reupload the artwork?
Thank You!