Notes and Editorial Reviews
In 1970, when DG issued their bicentenary Beethoven Edition, Wilhelm Kempff’s cycle of the piano sonatas, completed only five years previously, was the only possible choice. I am glad that in 1997 it remains the choice, when with the sound noticeably improved – not just over the original shallow-sounding LPs but over the earlier CD issue – Kempff’s insight remains unsurpassed.
It was only last year (4/96) that I did a detailed study, setting both of Kempff’s cycles, the mono as well as this stereo set, against Schnabel’s equally authoritative but strongly contrasted cycle, yet once again the magic of Kempff leaves me in wonder, his magnetism, his unfailing sense of spontaneity, his ability to clarify textures with
astonishingly clean articulation and sharp dynamic contrasts, and not least his lyrical flow, with extreme speeds generally avoided. I suppose that Barenboim’s DG cycle might have been chosen instead, but that is more effortful, less spontaneous than his superb earlier EMI set, and would have been disappointing compared with this.
-- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [1997; reviewing Kempff's entire stereo Beethoven cycle]
Works on This Recording
Be the first to review this title