Wilhelm Kempff

Posted by: Gomtorus

Wilhelm Kempff - 03/10/12 03:56 AM

What is your opinion of this pianist?
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Wilhelm Kempff - 03/10/12 03:58 AM

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
Posted by: wr

Re: Wilhelm Kempff - 03/10/12 04:19 AM

Wonderful musician, who, lucky for us, happened to be a pianist.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: Wilhelm Kempff - 03/10/12 04:23 AM

Did he do much chamber music?
Posted by: wr

Re: Wilhelm Kempff - 03/10/12 05:05 AM

Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Did he do much chamber music?


Lots of Beethoven collaborations.
Posted by: Gerard12

Re: Wilhelm Kempff - 03/10/12 11:15 AM

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?
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Wilhelm Kempff - 03/10/12 12:10 PM

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.
Posted by: Hank Drake

Re: Wilhelm Kempff - 03/10/12 12:18 PM

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.
Posted by: Ralph

Re: Wilhelm Kempff - 03/10/12 02:56 PM

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.
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Wilhelm Kempff - 03/10/12 04:11 PM

I love him. smile
Posted by: Orange Soda King

Re: Wilhelm Kempff - 03/10/12 05:41 PM

He also has a pretty good take on Chopin 3rd sonata.

Posted by: moonfire628

Re: Wilhelm Kempff - 03/10/12 10:24 PM

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.
Posted by: moonfire628

Re: Wilhelm Kempff - 03/10/12 10:29 PM

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....)
Posted by: Gomtorus

Re: Wilhelm Kempff - 03/11/12 04:51 AM

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"?
Posted by: stores

Re: Wilhelm Kempff - 03/11/12 09:59 AM

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.
Posted by: Chopinlover49

Re: Wilhelm Kempff - 03/11/12 09:51 PM

Kempff had a real feeling for the Viennese composers like Beethoven and Schubert. His Schubert Sonata D. 960 is to die for.
Posted by: Entheo

Re: Wilhelm Kempff - 03/11/12 10:48 PM

his performances are not about him.
Posted by: Hank Drake

Re: Wilhelm Kempff - 03/12/12 10:20 AM

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.
Posted by: jmcintyre

Re: Wilhelm Kempff - 03/12/12 10:42 PM

I particularly like this performance of the second movement of Op. 31 No. 2.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIsqFjiA7ao
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Wilhelm Kempff - 03/13/12 08:01 AM

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.
Posted by: asthecrowflies

Re: Wilhelm Kempff - 03/13/12 12:40 PM

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.