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#1859241 - 03/10/12 03:56 AM Wilhelm Kempff
Gomtorus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/12
Posts: 77
What is your opinion of this pianist?

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#1859242 - 03/10/12 03:58 AM Re: Wilhelm Kempff [Re: Gomtorus]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5429
Loc: Europe
I love his Beethoven Sonatas! I have all of them and I find them to be the best interpretations... Unless we're talking about a different Kempff here, in which case I just embarrassed myself... ha
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#1859247 - 03/10/12 04:19 AM Re: Wilhelm Kempff [Re: Gomtorus]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8027
Wonderful musician, who, lucky for us, happened to be a pianist.

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#1859248 - 03/10/12 04:23 AM Re: Wilhelm Kempff [Re: Gomtorus]
Andromaque Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3886
Loc: New York
Did he do much chamber music?

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#1859255 - 03/10/12 05:05 AM Re: Wilhelm Kempff [Re: Andromaque]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8027
Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Did he do much chamber music?


Lots of Beethoven collaborations.

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#1859367 - 03/10/12 11:15 AM Re: Wilhelm Kempff [Re: Gomtorus]
Gerard12 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/10
Posts: 769
Loc: South Carolina
I have many of his recordings from the '60's and early 70's. I find his playing to be very unaffected, almost folksong-like at times, though his technique sometimes falters in the demanding pieces.

I've always heard from teachers and connoisseurs that his earlier recordings from the 40's and 50's are the ones to get. But they're not really available in the states, are they?
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#1859404 - 03/10/12 12:10 PM Re: Wilhelm Kempff [Re: Gomtorus]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2458
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
I have the fifties cycle of the 32 on CD. He doesn't always have the depth of Brendel or Barenboim but the clarity is exquisite.
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#1859408 - 03/10/12 12:18 PM Re: Wilhelm Kempff [Re: Gomtorus]
Hank Drake Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 1664
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Kempff is my favorite Schubert pianist. I believe, at heart, he was a lyricist, which works well for this repertoire. While his Schubert has pathos when warranted, he never makes it sound like proto-Mahler.

I especially appreciate the structural cohesiveness of his Beethoven Sonatas (I have the stereo cycle). Kempff doesn't drag the slow movements like all too many pianists trying to sound profound. Kempff lets the music speak for itself, but you never forget it's him playing - mostly on account of his lovely tone. I must admit, however, the I find his renditions of the more "virtuosic" sonatas underwhelming.
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The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
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#1859472 - 03/10/12 02:56 PM Re: Wilhelm Kempff [Re: Gomtorus]
Ralph Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/01
Posts: 1305
Loc: Delaware (slower/lower)
I grew up listening to Kempff's Beethoven's piano sonatas he did for Deutsche Grammophon and the Time/Life collection. His sound has always been the stardard for me ever since. Too bad the recording quality of Artur Schnabel is so poor.
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#1859518 - 03/10/12 04:11 PM Re: Wilhelm Kempff [Re: Gomtorus]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6160
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
I love him. smile
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#1859568 - 03/10/12 05:41 PM Re: Wilhelm Kempff [Re: Gomtorus]
Orange Soda King Online   happy
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6084
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
He also has a pretty good take on Chopin 3rd sonata.


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#1859667 - 03/10/12 10:24 PM Re: Wilhelm Kempff [Re: Nikolas]
moonfire628 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/18/11
Posts: 56
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
I love his Beethoven Sonatas! I have all of them and I find them to be the best interpretations... Unless we're talking about a different Kempff here, in which case I just embarrassed myself... ha


I totally agree. I absolutely LOVE his interpretation of the "Moonlight" Sonata. Not to say his other ones aren't up to par, because, well, they are. I used to have a CD compilation with some of his performances, but I lost it in my move. I'm so upset, and I haven't been able to find it in the local music store.
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#1859668 - 03/10/12 10:29 PM Re: Wilhelm Kempff [Re: Gomtorus]
moonfire628 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/18/11
Posts: 56
Loc: New Jersey
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ly1iTD0zB1Y&feature=related

I love his interpretation of the 2nd movement of Sonata no.8; I could listen to this piece all day. (Sorry, I don't know how to post the actual video....)
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Currently working on Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu and Final Fantasy songs ^_^

Music is the breath of my soul; without it I could not live.

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#1859735 - 03/11/12 04:51 AM Re: Wilhelm Kempff [Re: Hank Drake]
Gomtorus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/12
Posts: 77
Originally Posted By: Hank Drake
I believe, at heart, he was a lyricist, which works well for this repertoire.


Pardon my ignorance, but what does it mean to say that a pianist is a "lyricist"?

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#1859782 - 03/11/12 09:59 AM Re: Wilhelm Kempff [Re: Gomtorus]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6648
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: Gomtorus
Originally Posted By: Hank Drake
I believe, at heart, he was a lyricist, which works well for this repertoire.


Pardon my ignorance, but what does it mean to say that a pianist is a "lyricist"?


What does it mean to you? Think about it.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

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#1860158 - 03/11/12 09:51 PM Re: Wilhelm Kempff [Re: Gomtorus]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 641
Kempff had a real feeling for the Viennese composers like Beethoven and Schubert. His Schubert Sonata D. 960 is to die for.


Edited by Chopinlover49 (03/11/12 10:25 PM)

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#1860190 - 03/11/12 10:48 PM Re: Wilhelm Kempff [Re: Gomtorus]
Entheo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 1120
Loc: chicago, il
his performances are not about him.
_________________________
diary of an amateur pianist

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#1860378 - 03/12/12 10:20 AM Re: Wilhelm Kempff [Re: Gomtorus]
Hank Drake Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 1664
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Kempff also wrote fine cadenzas for Beethoven's Piano Concertos 1 - 4. They must have been published because Andre Watts used Kempff's cadenza for Concerto No. 2.
_________________________
Hank Drake

The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
George Szell

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#1860758 - 03/12/12 10:42 PM Re: Wilhelm Kempff [Re: Gomtorus]
jmcintyre Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/10
Posts: 228
Loc: Wash. DC area
I particularly like this performance of the second movement of Op. 31 No. 2.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIsqFjiA7ao
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Kawai K-3, Roland FP-7F
Now: Brahms Op. 118, Bach French Suite #5

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#1860898 - 03/13/12 08:01 AM Re: Wilhelm Kempff [Re: Gomtorus]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5553
I admire him as a musician, but as a pianist, his playing in the more technically demanding music (like those of Chopin and Liszt, and the Hammerklavier and Appassionata, the big Schubert Sonatas) is just too relaxed, the rhythms not taut enough, the dynamics too evened out, for my taste.
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"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#1861055 - 03/13/12 12:40 PM Re: Wilhelm Kempff [Re: Hank Drake]
asthecrowflies Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/12
Posts: 122
Loc: London, Cambridge, San Francis...
Originally Posted By: Hank Drake
Kempff is my favorite Schubert pianist. I believe, at heart, he was a lyricist, which works well for this repertoire. While his Schubert has pathos when warranted, he never makes it sound like proto-Mahler.


I agree that Kempff is the consummate Schubert pianist - I prefer him to Brendel any day. He's got the right balance between tranquility and disturbed freneticism.

I'm also in the camp that finds his Beethoven "boring". I much prefer Ashkenazy's cycle.
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Currently working on: Bach Partita 4, English Suite 2, Toccata d-minor, Chopin-op 10/1, Schubert Impromptus

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