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Beethoven: The Pianos Concertos / Kempff, Van Kempen


Release Date: 03/16/1993 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 435744   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff
Conductor:  Paul Van Kempen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 3 Hours 9 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

With a daunting array of insights, this 1953 cycle gives an extraordinary sense of the imaginative dimension of these works.

...Kempff give[s] us a daunting array of insights into the five Beethoven piano concertos... Wilhelm Kempff's 1953 Berlin cycle with Paul van Kempen has long ben a collectors' item, often preferred to Kempff's famous 1960s PO/Leitner set, also on DG. Apart from Kempff's whimsical though not ineffective line in home-grown cadenzas, these are exemplary performances in matters of style and execution. Yet they are something more. The 1953 cycle gives an extraordinary sense of the imaginative dimension of the first four concertos. As the eighteenth century turned into the nineteenth so the mists of
Read more romanticism began to drift across the landscape. It was what Gombrich, writing of the painter Claude, called the concreteness and calm of a dream world. Kempff's 1953 cycle catches that mood in a very special way. The 1960s stereo set has an equally fine First Concerto and a better recorded Emperor. There is generally more glitter and dash. But the Second, Third and Fourth Concertos are all more revealingly realized in 1953.

The 1953 set last appeared on three bargainprice LPs in 1979. Longer playing time on CD allows for unbroken, chronological layouts; and the 1953 mono recordings have also been strikingly refocused. What on LP sounded recessed now takes on a startlingly physical immediacy. Whether this is an advance, I'm not sure. At first it seems to be all gain: the slightly dim sounding ritornellos given a new weight and presence. On the other hand, the recordings are now rather more wearing on the ear. (On headphones, which I abhor, you also get some tape hiss.) In the Emperor Concerto, for example, the mono recording sounds—and makes the piano sound—much coarser than one had remembered. Generally I don't meddle with filters as I have never had the faintest idea how they work. On this occasion, though, it was only with suitable doctoring that I was able to come up with a tolerable mix of newfound immediacy and old-fashioned clarity and warmth. A marvellous set, nonetheless.

-- Gramophone [4/1993]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in C major, Op. 15 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Paul Van Kempen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/1953 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin 
Length: 36 Minutes 57 Secs. 
2.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. 19 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Paul Van Kempen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793/1798; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/1953 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin 
Length: 29 Minutes 30 Secs. 
3.
Concerto for Piano no 3 in C minor, Op. 37 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Paul Van Kempen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/1953 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin 
Length: 35 Minutes 12 Secs. 
4.
Concerto for Piano no 4 in G major, Op. 58 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Paul Van Kempen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/1953 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin 
Length: 23 Minutes 2 Secs. 
5.
Rondo for Piano in C major, Op. 51 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: ?1797; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/1953 
Venue:  Beethovensaal, Hannover 
Length: 7 Minutes 0 Secs. 
6.
Rondo for Piano in G major, Op. 51 no 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: ?1798; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/1953 
Venue:  Beethovensaal, Hannover 
Length: 8 Minutes 35 Secs. 
7.
Concerto for Piano no 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 "Emperor" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Paul Van Kempen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/1953 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin 
Length: 39 Minutes 0 Secs. 

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