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Wilhelm Kempff - The Concerto Recordings

Kempff,Wilhelm
Release Date: 04/16/2013 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 001822502   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van BeethovenWolfgang Amadeus MozartRobert SchumannJohannes Brahms,   ... 
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff
Conductor:  Ferdinand LeitnerPaul Van KempenBernhard KleeRafael Kubelik,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic OrchestraDresden Philharmonic OrchestraBamberg Symphony Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 14 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Last year it was the 35-CD box of the Kempff solo recordings which brightened up our winter days at the start of the new year.

Now, for the first time, comes a compact 14-CD set of his complete concerto studio recordings. They span from his 1925 recording of Beethoven’s First Concerto (the first ever to be made of that work) to his visionary 1977 performances of Mozart’s Concertos Nos. 21 and 22, now receiving their first international CD release.

Kempff traversed the set of Beethoven Concertos three times in the studio (only No.2 was not set down during the shellac era); all those performances are included in this set. There’s more Mozart, Brahms and Schumann.
Read more In addition, 1950s Decca recordings of two Mozart concertos, the Liszt and Schumann concertos are also featured.

The author of the new booklet essay is once again piano expert Gregor Willmes. Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Piano no 1 in C major, Op. 15 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Ferdinand Leitner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795; Vienna, Austria 
2. Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. 19 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Ferdinand Leitner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793/1798; Vienna, Austria 
3. Concerto for Piano no 3 in C minor, Op. 37 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Ferdinand Leitner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
4. Concerto for Piano no 4 in G major, Op. 58 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Ferdinand Leitner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
5. Concerto for Piano no 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 "Emperor" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Ferdinand Leitner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809; Vienna, Austria 
6. Concerto for Piano no 20 in D minor, K 466 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Paul Van Kempen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1941 
7. Rondo for Piano and Orchestra in D major, K 382 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Paul Van Kempen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1782; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1941 
8. Concerto for Piano no 3 in C minor, Op. 37 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Paul Van Kempen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1942 
9. Concerto for Piano no 8 in C major, K 246 "Lützow" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Ferdinand Leitner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1776; Salzburg, Austria 
10. Concerto for Piano no 23 in A major, K 488 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Ferdinand Leitner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
11. Concerto for Piano no 24 in C minor, K 491 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Ferdinand Leitner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
12. Concerto for Piano no 27 in B flat major, K 595 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Ferdinand Leitner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
13. Concerto for Piano no 21 in C major, K 467 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Bernhard Klee
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
14. Concerto for Piano no 22 in E flat major, K 482 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Bernhard Klee
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
15. Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 54 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841-1845; Germany 
16. Introduction and Allegro appassionato for Piano and Orchestra in G major, Op. 92 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
17. 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. 
18. 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. 
19. 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. 
20. 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. 
21. 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. 
22. Concerto for Piano no 1 in D minor, Op. 15 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Franz Konwitschny
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854-1858; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1957 
23. Concerto for Piano no 9 in E flat major, K 271 "Jeunehomme" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Karl Münchinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1777; Salzburg, Austria 
24. Concerto for Piano no 15 in B flat major, K 450 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Karl Münchinger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria 
25. Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 54 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Josef Krips
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841-1845; Germany 
26. Concerto for Piano no 1 in E flat major, S 124 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Anatole Fistoulari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849/1856; Weimar, Germany 
27. Concerto for Piano no 2 in A major, S 125 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Anatole Fistoulari
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839/1861; Weimar, Germany 
28. Concerto for Piano no 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 "Emperor" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Peter Raabe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809; Vienna, Austria 
29. Concerto for Piano no 4 in G major, Op. 58 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Conductor:  Paul Van Kempen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
30. Concerto for Piano no 1 in C major, Op. 15 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795; Vienna, Austria 

Sound Samples

Piano Concerto No.1 in C major, Op.15: 1. Allegro con brio - Cadenza: Beethoven/Wilhelm Kempff
Piano Concerto No.1 in C major, Op.15: 2. Largo
Piano Concerto No.1 in C major, Op.15: 3. Rondo. Allegro scherzando - Cadenza: Wilhelm Kempff
Piano Concerto No.2 in B flat major, Op.19: 1. Allegro con brio - Cadenza: Wilhelm Kempff
Piano Concerto No.2 in B flat major, Op.19: 2. Adagio
Piano Concerto No.2 in B flat major, Op.19: 3. Rondo (Molto allegro)
Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor, Op.37: 1. Allegro con brio
Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor, Op.37: 2. Largo
Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor, Op.37: 3. Rondo. Allegro - Cadenza: Wilhelm Kempff
Piano Concerto No.4 In G, Op.58: 1. Allegro moderato
Piano Concerto No.4 In G, Op.58: 2. Andante con moto
Piano Concerto No.4 In G, Op.58: 3. Rondo. Vivace

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Subtle, cultured performances May 5, 2013 By T. Drake (South Euclid, OH) See All My Reviews "This 14-CD set includes all of Wilhelm Kempff's concerto recordings made for Deutsche Grammophon and Decca. There are doubtless more recordings deriving from radio broadcasts and the like. After Schnabel, Kempff, who studied with Karl Heinrich Barth, was the principal exponent of the German school of piano performance. Like Schnabel (and unlike many later exponents of that school) Kempff had a beautiful, individual sound. While he was generally faithful to the score, he did not get caught up in details and was not a purist (he occasionally eschewed repeats and doubled bass notes). In these respects, but few others, Kempff was similar to another Barth pupil: Arthur Rubinstein. Kempff was primarily a pianist of poetry, introspection, and understanding. His technique was reliable, but he was not a virtuoso and never thundered. Kempff appeared to take Terence's dictum to heart: Moderation in all things. Thus, faster movements are never rushed, slow movements are never dragged. This works especially well in Mozart and most of Beethoven - but less so for Liszt. Kempff recorded nine Mozart concertos and the Concert Rondo, K. 382, in which the pianist skillfully kept the music on a small scale without resorting to the porcelain doll approach. Most of the performances here are beautifully fluid and flexible, reminding me of Mozart's dictum that the music should "flow like oil". However, Concertos 21 and 22, recorded in 1977, suffer from notably tired sounding rondos. Kempff plays his own cadenzas in Concertos 8, 20, 21, 22, & 24, and Mozart's cadenzas in Concertos 9, 23, 27, and the Concerto Rondo, K. 382. Kempff plays his own cadenza in the opening movement of Concerto 15, and his arrangement of Mozart's cadenza in the finale. Kempff recorded two complete cycles of Beethoven Concertos (although he did not record the Triple Concerto or the piano transcription of the Violin concerto), and 78rpm versions of all but the Second Concerto. Kempff's first recording of the C major Concerto, from 1925, was the first ever made of that piece. It was recorded using the old acoustical process and is primarily of historical interest. On balance, I prefer the middle cycle with Kempen to the later one. Some will disqualify it since it's in mono, but the piano tone is more robust and Kempff's playing is freer and more imaginative. Still, there are lovely moments in the stereo cycle with Leitner, especially the pacing of the slow movements of the Third and Fourth Concertos. Kempff also plays his own cadenzas for the Beethoven Concertos (except for the Emperor concerto, where Beethoven forbade a cadenza) and his own arrangement of Beethoven's cadenza in the opening movement of Concerto 1. Kempff recorded the Brahms D minor concerto only once, in 1957. Even under the best of conditions, this is a difficult piece to pull off: the piano writing is clumsy and not well balanced with the orchestra. There are several issues with this performance, including poor balance within the orchestra, and weak & out of tune winds. The high point is the slow movement, where Kempff's flowing tempo and straightforward phrasing clarify the structure. But this is undone by a finale lacking in energy and an ending buried in a haze of pseudo-reverence. He's no match for Rubinstein/Reiner or Fleisher. Kempff recorded Schumann's Concerto twice. The earlier version, from 1953, features an ardent opening movement, followed by a mellow middle movement and beautifully balanced passage work in the finale. The later version, from 1973, is permeated by a sense of caution throughout the outer movements, while the middle movement has a lovely, simple poetry. While Kempff's conception is beautiful in its' way, one gets the impression he's husbanding his strength - a common issue with Kempff's post-1970 recordings. Apart from the composer's later, impressionistic works, Kempff was not temperamentally suited to Liszt's music. Both the Liszt concertos are lethargically paced, flabbily phrased, and lacking in rhythmic verve. Also, there is a slight but distracting pitch change at 3:16 in the opening movement of the A major Concerto. Better to go with Richter or Hough in these works. The recordings in this collection date from 1925-1977, so there's quite a variance in the recording quality. The 1925 acoustic recording sounds like it was made with a toy orchestra. But for the most part the sound is clear and natural, even in the 78rpm and mono recordings. The stereo Beethoven Concertos sound far better than they did on the Galleria CD issues from the 1980s." Report Abuse
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