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Icon - Rudolf Kempe


Release Date: 09/14/2010 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 29557   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van BeethovenJohannes BrahmsFelix MendelssohnNikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,   ... 
Performer:  Paul TortelierTeresa Zylis-GaraSylvia GesztyGundula Janowitz,   ... 
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic OrchestraBerlin Philharmonic OrchestraRoyal Philharmonic Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 11 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This fine box offers some excellent performances spiced by light-hearted fun in the last two discs.

Sampling these eleven discs has been a real pleasure, whether in coming across old friends or making new acquaintances. It’s not been an unmitigated critical success, but one would hardly expect that, even in a box that has been filleted from Kempe’s commercial EMI discography to put his best face forward.

The recording dates range from 1956 to 1972 and the orchestras are various. The repertoire is standard, non-contentious, central European, Austro-Germanic (in the main). Examples of the more exploratory side of his concert-giving can easily be found in live encounters.

We start with some
Read more examples of his Munich Beethoven cycle – Nos.1, 3, 5 and 6. These are relaxed performances, affectionately contoured and stressing the cantabile element rather more than the viscous driving one. Some will find them too laid-back rhythmically, whilst others will welcome the unselfconscious unfolding of melodic lines. Certainly they are internally enviably well-balanced, though occasional smudges and imprecisions are noticeable. I’d label these easy-going, rather than exciting. I’m glad that we have his Berlin Brahms 3, which is outstanding, a truly structure-conscious and expressively finely judged performance - witness the semi shambles Furtwängler made of it. His Fourth with the RPO is not quite so successful, but it is an affirming, powerful reading nonetheless.

The fourth disc gives us some Mendelssohn and then majors on Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. The soloist, unmentioned in the booklet, was Alan Loveday who plays beautifully. This is a good performance all round though it’s not in the Kletzki or Beecham class, to cite two almost contemporaneous recordings of the work. I wasn’t especially taken by Dvo rák Nine, which seems rather bland. The other Czech items go quite well – the Schwanda the Bagpiper lollipop, the suite from The Bartered Bride and the Scherzo Capriccioso; all these are with the RPO whilst the New World was taped with the Berlin Phil.

Strauss next and that’s surely self-recommending. Don Quixote dates from Berlin in 1958 with Tortelier, Giusto Cappone and old-stager Siegfried Borries; it’s every bit as good as its reputation suggests. Later, in his Dresden sequence of Strauss recordings, we have Tod und Verklärung, Till, Don Juan, Ein Heldenleben and the Dance of the Seven Veils from Salome. Heldenleben features the orchestra’s concertmaster Peter Mirring in a stirring inscription. And we also get 1968 excerpts from Ariadne auf Naxos – about eleven minutes’ worth. This actually inaugurates a series of sequences from Wagner; Lohengrin and Meistersinger, and then the standard orchestral fare from Tristan and Parsifal. They are meant, presumably, to whet one’s appetite for the complete Ariadne, Lohengrin and Meistersinger, though as ever with selections of this kind one can’t help wondering if purely orchestral material might not have been a more just approach.

After a suite from Hänsel und Gretel we reach disc 10, entitled ‘Vienna Philharmonic on Holiday’ and that about sums up the sequence of intermezzi, waltzes, dances, ballet music, overtures and Schubert’s Rosamunde. The last disc is given over to the delectable Strauss family waltz recordings that he made with the same orchestra in 1958 and 1960.

Skimming the surface of a box such as this gives one an indication of the variety and elevated music-making it contains. Not everything is equally persuasive, but that’s to be expected. At his best Kempe’s directness and sense of colour and structure never fail to impress. This fine box offers some excellent performances spiced by light-hearted fun in the last two discs.

-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 in C major, Op. 21 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1972 
2.
Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 "Eroica" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1972 
3.
Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807-1808; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/1971 
4.
Symphony no 6 in F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1808; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1972 
5.
Symphony no 3 in F major, Op. 90 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/1960 
6.
Symphony no 4 in E minor, Op. 98 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884-1885; Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/1960 
7.
Midsummer Night's Dream Overture, in E major Op. 21 by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1826; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/1961 
8.
Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 61: Nocturne by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/1961 
9.
Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 61: Nocturne by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/1961 
10.
Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 61: Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/1961 
11.
Scheherazade, Op. 35 by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; Russia 
Date of Recording: 02/1967 
12.
Symphony no 9 in E minor, Op. 95/B 178 "From the New World" by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/02/1957 
13.
Scherzo capriccioso, Op. 66/B 131 by Antonín Dvorák
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Bohemia 
Date of Recording: 01/1961 
14.
Schwanda the Bagpiper: Polka by Jaromir Weinberger
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; Prague, Czech Republ 
Date of Recording: 01/1961 
15.
Bartered Bride, B 143/T 93: Overture by Bedrich Smetana
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: 1866 
Date of Recording: 04/26/1961 
16.
Bartered Bride, B 143/T 93: Polka by Bedrich Smetana
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1863/1870; Czech Republic 
Date of Recording: 04/26/1961 
17.
Bartered Bride, B 143/T 93: Furiant by Bedrich Smetana
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1863/1870; Czech Republic 
Date of Recording: 04/26/1961 
18.
Bartered Bride, B 143/T 93: Dance of the Comedians by Bedrich Smetana
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1863/1870; Bohemia 
Date of Recording: 04/26/1961 
19.
Don Quixote, Op. 35 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Paul Tortelier (Cello)
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896-1897; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1958 
20.
Tod und Verklärung, Op. 24 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1970 
21.
Salome, Op. 54: Dance of the seven veils by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1905; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1970 
22.
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1895; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1970 
23.
Don Juan, Op. 20 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1970 
24.
Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897-1898; Germany 
Date of Recording: 03/1972 
25.
Ariadne auf Naxos, Op. 60: Kindskopf! by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Teresa Zylis-Gara (Soprano), Sylvia Geszty (Soprano)
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911/1916; Germany 
Date of Recording: 07/1968 
26.
Ariadne auf Naxos, Op. 60: An Ihre Plätze, meine Damen und Herren! by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Gundula Janowitz (Soprano), Teresa Zylis-Gara (Soprano)
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911/1916; Germany 
Date of Recording: 07/1968 
27.
Lohengrin: Act 1 Prelude by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1962-1963 
28.
Lohengrin: Act 3 Prelude by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1962-1963 
29.
Lohengrin: Treulich geführt "Bridal Chorus" by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1962-1963 
30.
Lohengrin: Heil König Heinrich by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Gottlob Frick (Bass)
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Date of Recording: 1962-1963 
31.
Lohengrin: Was bringen die? by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Gottlob Frick (Bass)
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Date of Recording: 1962-1963 
32.
Lohengrin: Mein Herr und Konig by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Jess Thomas (Tenor), Gottlob Frick (Bass)
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1962-1963 
33.
Lohengrin: In fernem Land by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Jess Thomas (Tenor)
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1847; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1962-1963 
34.
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Die "selige Morgentraum-Deutweise" sei sie genannt by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Ferdinand Frantz (Bass Baritone), Gerhard Unger (Tenor), Marga Höffgen (Alto),
Rudolf Schock (Tenor), Elisabeth Grümmer (Soprano)
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862-1867; Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1956 
35.
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Zwischenspiel - Sankt Krispin, lobet ihn by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus,  Berlin State Opera Chorus  ... 
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 04/1956 
36.
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Ihr tanzt? Was werden die Meister sagen? by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Gerhard Unger (Tenor)
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Date of Recording: 04/1956 
37.
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Morgenlich leuchtend by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Elisabeth Grümmer (Soprano), Rudolf Schock (Tenor), Ferdinand Frantz (Bass Baritone),
Gottlob Frick (Bass)
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1956 
38.
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Verachtet mir die Meister by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Rudolf Schock (Tenor), Elisabeth Grümmer (Soprano), Marga Höffgen (Alto),
Gerhard Unger (Tenor), Ferdinand Frantz (Bass Baritone), Gottlob Frick (Bass)
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/1956 
39.
Tristan und Isolde: Prelude and Liebestod by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/1958 
40.
Parsifal: Act 1 Prelude by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877-1882; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/1958 
41.
Parsifal: Good Friday Music by Richard Wagner
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877-1882; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/1958 
42.
Hänsel und Gretel: Overture by Engelbert Humperdinck
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/1961 
43.
Hänsel und Gretel: Hexenritt "Witch's ride" by Engelbert Humperdinck
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/1961 
44.
Hänsel und Gretel: The Gingerbread House by Engelbert Humperdinck
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Date of Recording: 01/1961 
45.
Hänsel und Gretel: The Witch's Waltz by Engelbert Humperdinck
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Date of Recording: 01/1961 
46.
Hänsel und Gretel: Dream pantomime by Engelbert Humperdinck
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/1961 
47.
L'Amico Fritz: Intermezzo by Pietro Mascagni
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; Italy 
Date of Recording: 12/1961 
48.
La Gioconda: Dance of the Hours by Amilcare Ponchielli
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; Italy 
Date of Recording: 12/1961 
49.
Notre Dame: Act 1 Intermezzo by Franz Schmidt
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902-1904; Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/1961 
50.
Faust: Waltz by Charles Gounod
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856-1859; France 
Date of Recording: 12/1961 
51.
Die Puppenfee: Ballet music by Joseph Bayer
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Date of Recording: 12/1961 
52.
Orphée aux enfers: Overture by Jacques Offenbach
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 12/1961 
53.
Ero the Joker: Kolo by Jakov Gotovac
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933-1935; Yugoslavia 
Date of Recording: 12/1961 
54.
Rosamunde, D 797/Op. 26: no 1, Overture (D 644) by Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/1961 
55.
Rosamunde, D 797/Op. 26: no 7, Entr'acte no 3 in B flat major by Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/1961 
56.
Rosamunde, D 797/Op. 26: no 11, Ballet music no 2 in G major by Franz Schubert
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/1961 
57.
Orfeo ed Euridice: Dance of the Blessed Spirits by Christoph W. Gluck
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1762/1774; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/1961 
58.
Die Fledermaus: Overture by Johann Strauss Jr.
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/1958 
59.
Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald, Op. 325 by Johann Strauss Jr.
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/1960 
60.
Leichtes Blut, Op. 319 by Johann Strauss Jr.
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/1961 
61.
Geheime Anziehungskräfte, Op. 173 "Dynamiden" by Josef Strauss
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/1960 
62.
Indigo und die vierzig Räuber: Tausend und eine Nacht, Op. 346 by Johann Strauss Jr.
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/1960 
63.
Im Krapfenwaldl, Op. 336 by Johann Strauss Jr.
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1870; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/1960 
64.
Kaiser-Walzer, Op. 437 by Johann Strauss Jr.
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/1960 
65.
Sphären-Klänge, Op. 235 by Josef Strauss
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/1958 
66.
Radetzky March, Op. 228 by Johann Strauss Sr.
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/1958 
67.
Gold und Silber, Op. 79 by Franz Lehár
Conductor:  Rudolf Kempe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 02/1958 

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