I find this complete collection of the Beethoven 32 piano sonatas a special treat. I also own the beautiful complete set by Wilhelm Backhaus (Decca), selected sonatas by Arthur Rubinstein (Rubinstein Collection Vol. 56), selected sonatas by Daniel Barenboim (EMI Great Recordings), the stunning late piano sonatas by Maurizio Pollini (DG) and some other interpretations. Having highly enjoyed other recordings by Wilhelm Kempff (Schubert complete piano sonatas on DG and Beethoven piano concertos with the Berliner directed by Leitner on DG) I couldn't resist and took this complete set of the Kempff 1965-65 stereo recordings (there is another DG set with Kempff 1951-56 mono recordings at a higher price). Kempff readings of these sonatas are really interesting and intriguing, very different from Backhaus, Rubinstein and many other interpretations, with less tension and more serenity, slower moments more focused on lyricism rather than energy and impact, a sort of "more normal" Beethoven that does not impress right away but slowly seduces. You might like or not the way Kempff approaches these masterpieces and at first you might be disoriented if used to other more energetic interpretations. Anyway, I believe that if you grant this set enough listening time you will be rewarded by some magical musical moments, as has happened to me.
Recorded sound is fairly good, with a warm and natural sound. Some tape hiss when turning up the volume reminds you the age of the recording, but nothing to be really worried about. The package is the usual cardboard box with cardboard sleeves for each CD. Inside also a 20-page booklet with detailed recording information, a pair of black and white pictures of Kempff, short liner notes in English, German and French about the pianist.