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Mussorgsky: Pictures From An Exhibition; Ravel, Balakirev / Freddy Kempf

Release Date: 05/27/2008 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1580   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Modest MussorgskyMaurice RavelMily Balakirev
Performer:  Freddy Kempf
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Kempf storms back with a daunting programme powerfully played

After a perhaps necessary break (some of his earlier recordings suggested a case of “too much too soon”) Freddy Kempf returns to the studio armed with a formidable programme formidably played. In the Mussorgsky his immense energy and facility allows him an unusual degree of freedom with a brisk opening Promenade followed by an unleashing of his virtuoso credentials in “Gnomus”. He takes a uniformly forte view of “Bydlo” (though his final fading of the vision is masterly). And so, too, is his enviable verve in both “Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks” and “Limoges”. “Baba Yaga” is boldly
Read more characterised, and there is a dramatic splash of colour, a sudden pedal haze at 1'12" in “The Great Gate of Kiev”.

In Ravel’s Gaspard every teeming complexity is resolved with the coolest of mind and hands. You may query a lack of rhetoric or broadening at the climax of “Ondine” (it is marked un peu plus lent) and a less than fully sympathetic way with the many piano and pianissimo markings in “Scarbo”. Yet this is among the finer recordings of this much-recorded masterpiece. In Balakirev’s Islamey Kempf relishes everything the composer throws at him. This is “live” virtuosity with a vengeance, with absolutely no hint of a safety net, of playing within studio confines. A superb, brilliant-toned Steinway has been captured in admirable sound, and this recital is among the finest of Freddy Kempf’s offerings to date.

-- Bryce Morrison, Gramophone [9/2008]
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Works on This Recording

Pictures at an Exhibition for Piano by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Freddy Kempf (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Russia 
Gaspard de la nuit by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Freddy Kempf (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1908; France 
Oriental Fantasy for Piano, Op. 18 "Islamey" by Mily Balakirev
Performer:  Freddy Kempf (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869/1902; Russia 

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