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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A case where the earlier mono version has the edge over the later stereo version
This set of the sonatas dates from the early 1950's and is in mono. This compares with the later stereo remake made in the 1960's. That later set has marginally less spontaneous playing in several of the sonatas and the sound is not really an improvement over the mono set which is remarkably good and certainly capable of delivering musical satisfaction without undue...
Published 20 months ago by I. Giles

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0 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars scratched disc...
While the music is excellent, the first disc is scratched and is not reading accuratly as of track N° 7. All other discs are fine and really enjoyable. Sound quality is better than one might think for recordings from so long ago.
Published 10 months ago by Rob Soetewey


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A case where the earlier mono version has the edge over the later stereo version, 11 July 2013
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This set of the sonatas dates from the early 1950's and is in mono. This compares with the later stereo remake made in the 1960's. That later set has marginally less spontaneous playing in several of the sonatas and the sound is not really an improvement over the mono set which is remarkably good and certainly capable of delivering musical satisfaction without undue compromise. Indeed, it is arguable that the piano sound is preferable.

The performances themselves are very similar. Having owned both sets for many years, I have steadily developed a preference for this earlier set, fine though the later set undoubtedly is. Kempff plays in such a way as to make one unaware of an 'interpreter' in any interventionist sense of the word. Rather, he seems to simply play the music as it is - in other words, as Beethoven wrote it. This is not as easy as it seems, otherwise there would be countless others to choose from at this level. Nor is it possible to be absolutely sure of what Beethoven intended, especially bearing in mind the developments in piano manufacture since then. However, the illusion remains and seems valid at the time of listening.

To expand a little, it is possible to make some generalisations about Kempff's approach to these works. Firstly he works on a relatively limited range of dynamics and tempo, avoiding the extremes of expression and keeping within the tonal limitations of his piano and the bounds of the generally perceived realms of the Classical period. At no time will the speed of a Richter, the power of an Ashkenazy or the percussive aggression of a Kovacevich be heard. The sense of restrained proportion of a Gilels is closer to Kempff but without the power.

If this sounds so safe as to be without interest then that is to be unaware of the compensating attractions. Although Kempff works within the limitations as described above and keeps within perceived period boundaries, his skill lies in the extraordinary variety of subtlety he brings to touch and phrasing, almost as if it is an alive thing to be constantly cared for and managed throughout each performance. Thus, as each piece unfolds, it is like an act of spontaneous creation, the act of actually conceiving of the work itself. One must remember that Beethoven himself was renowned during his lifetime for his highly developed ability to improvise for extended periods of time with complete musical conviction. This is how Kempff comes over as a pianist and each sonata has its own subtleties and there is progression through the sonatas as boundaries are stretched and move away from the early classical model.

It is not appropriate to enter into a detailed analysis of each work within such a large body of work such as this. However, the above outline of Kempff's apparent approach to this music and some suggestions as to comparisons may be helpful to those considering this purchase.

I would therefore conclude by suggesting that this set has earned its place as one of the long-term reference sets for collectors and as such is certainly well worth some serious consideration as a purchase option.

...........................................

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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kempff - The earlier mono set of Beethoven Sonatas., 28 July 2010
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I recently added the latest Paul Lewis complete set to my collection of complete Beethoven Sonatas, which also includes complete sets by Schnabel,Claudio Arrau and Barenboim. Art may indeed be long but life however is definitely too short, so which version do I find myself returning to again and again? This one, for it is as if Beethoven himself were standing in the very room.
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35 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars meticulous performances, 2 Jun. 2002
By 
Mr. P. Curtis - See all my reviews
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This is strong and steady playing in what is righly regarded as one of the premier interpretations of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas. More intense and exciting versions of the best-known sonatas can be found elsewhere (the Appassionata is a little too controlled), but as a complete set, this has no equal.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful performances., 2 April 2007
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These recordings by Kempff are absolutely essential listening. They bring out the beauty in Beethoven which many pianists simply pass over: this is particularly true in the early sonatas. You may already own a number of different versions of these sonatas but these interpretations are not to be missed!
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good recording arrived very quickly, 20 Feb. 2010
By 
Chiara Mattei Scarpaccini (Italy) - See all my reviews
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There was nothing I wanted to know before I ordered because all I wanted was Kempff playing.I love Beethoven and Kempff which I heard live very many times.His daughter living in Perugia made him come and play almost every year also in the later performing years.
I have other pianists'recordings of the 32 sonatas and what I like of Kempff's is the sort of -if I can call it this way-dreamy and serene athosphere he creates.Beside the technical perfection that comes so natural that one sort of does not notice.
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Beethoven, 6 Oct. 2008
I bought this set by mistake! I thought I was buying the later stereo set and was disappointed to realize that this was a much earlier mono set. However, once I began to listen to these wonderful interpretations my disappointment evaporated. A beautiful set of cds!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 11 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Beethoven: The Piano Sonatas (Box Set) (MP3 Download)
One word magnificent
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 31 Dec. 2014
By 
Geo K. Mouchtaridis "giomou" (athens,gr) - See all my reviews
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A unique recording
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 star, 6 July 2010
By 
Huang Yu - See all my reviews
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If you want to have a box of Beethven's piano sonata. Then I recommand it strongly!
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Piano Excellence, 10 Jan. 2011
By 
Derek Dobbs "636Music" (U.K.) - See all my reviews
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Perfect music perfectly executed. This has got to be the best recording of the Beethoven Piano Sonatas to date. Very highly recommended to all normal classical-music lovers.
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