Wilhelm Kempff's youthful experience as an organist informs every measure of his Bach transcriptions in their linear clarity and registral sensitivity. We can readily perceive these qualities when comparing Kempff and Busoni's treatments of the same works side by side. The gothic dimensions of Busoni's "Nun komm' der Heiden Heiland" and "Ich ruf zu dir" contrast with Kempff's more translucent keyboard layout. Kempff's 80-year-old fingers weave his Gluck and Handel transcriptions into dulcet, lyrical gold. You may find more vital, dance-oriented piano performances of Bach's G minor English Suite, but few so rarified in nuance and voice leading.
The more intimatelyRead more scaled G major French Suite, however, remains one of Kempff's greatest recordings. He moves from movement to movement barely stopping for breath, and gorgeously rounds off the Allemande and Sarabande's edges without ever letting the lines droop. By contrast, the vivid Courante skips along on its merry way, buoyed by illuminating accents. Kempff's left hand work in the Bourée might well be mistaken for a built-in bassoon or cello. The Gigue quietly emerges from the shadow of the Louré, evoking a chest of whistles played by laughing elves. You'll never get tired of replaying this movement over and over again, because you'll hear new Kempffian revelations each time. Hear this miraculous recording for yourself.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Kempff is superb!December 23, 2013By Allan B. (Calgary, AB)See All My Reviews"There is nothing fake or forced about Wilhelm Kempff's Bach. His own transcriptions are great, and he plays with a simple transparent elegance that lets the music shine through."Report Abuse
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