1969 London Recital

1969 London Recital

by Wilhelm Kempff
     
 
This is, quite simply, one of the greatest piano recitals on disc. You won't find the incendiary passion of Martha Argerich here, nor the titanic power of Sviatoslav Richter, but in this 1969 concert from London's Queen Elizabeth Hall, Wilhelm Kempff offers music making so honest and selfless that

Overview

This is, quite simply, one of the greatest piano recitals on disc. You won't find the incendiary passion of Martha Argerich here, nor the titanic power of Sviatoslav Richter, but in this 1969 concert from London's Queen Elizabeth Hall, Wilhelm Kempff offers music making so honest and selfless that the performer seems to disappear, leaving one in direct contact with the music itself. Bach's Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue -- the standard choice of flashy virtuosos looking for a work of the Old Master to show off their technique -- takes on the tone of a sacred meditation. The opening flourishes are searching questions, not the usual aggressive assertions, and the complex fugue is a masterpiece of fervent sobriety, unwavering in its lyricism. In Beethoven's slender F Major Sonata, Op. 54, Kempff turns on the charm, and even the sudden outbursts of whimsical bluster have aristocratic poise, while the gently undulating finale radiates a wry, Mona Lisa-like smile. Schubert's rarely played F Minor Sonata (D. 625) is a revelation in Kempff's hands: Though it is not the most melodically memorable of the composer's piano pieces, the pianist gives it a symphonic depth and breadth, coloring every detail and imbuing the whole with a darkly mysterious atmosphere. The Three Pieces (D. 946) are even more evocative. These extended dramatic character pieces -- forming a substantial sonata in all but name and tonal structure -- give voice to some of Schubert's bleakest and most consoling thoughts. Kempff goes straight to the music's core, and if he often seems to underplay the drama inherent in this triptych, preferring to whisper than to declaim, the affective potency is ultimately more lasting. Two Impromptus (from D. 899), played as encores, provide a beatific, if melancholy benediction to this extraordinary recital, captured in excellent sound by the BBC.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/14/2000
Label:
Bbc Legends
UPC:
0684911404524
catalogNumber:
4045

Tracks

  1. Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue for keyboard in D minor, BWV 903
  2. Piano Sonata No. 22 in F major, Op. 54
  3. Piano Sonata No. 11 in F minor ("fragment"), D. 625
  4. Pieces (3) for piano (impromptus), D. 946
  5. Impromptus (4) for piano, D. 899 (Op. 90): No. 3
  6. Impromptus (4) for piano, D. 899 (Op. 90): No. 4

Album Credits

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >