The Complete Polydor Recordings (1927-1936) / Kempff
Wilhelm Walter Friedrich Kempff was a German pianist and composer. Although his repertoire included Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt and Brahms, Kempff was particularly well known for his interpretations of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert, recording the complete sonatas of both composers. Wilhelm Kempff’s 78-rpm recordings were very much focused on Beethoven, as can be heard on seven previously issued APR discs, but this release presents everything by other composers he set down from the start of electrical recording until the war. Notable among the titles are four of his own Bach transcriptions and, revealing the pianist in an unexpected light, his own virtuosic elaboration of the Schubert/Liszt ‘Hark, Hark! The Lark’ transcription.
There's something special about these recordings, something quite miraculous. In spite of the relatively primitive technology involved in these early electrical recordings, I had no trouble at all forgetting sonic imperfections, and zeroing in on a great master channeling great composers. The French Suite no. 5 of Bach, recorded in 1935, is the highlight of the disc; it's a masterful interpretation. I was in awe of this from the first time I heard it, since I had the strong feeling that Kempff was communicating his own awe.
-- Music for Several Instruments
Release Date: March 04, 2022
Catalog Number: APR5638
Label: APR Recordings
Number of Discs: 1
Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann
Performer: Wilhelm Kempff