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This review is from: Poet At The Piano (Audio CD)
Wilhelm Kempff certainly "owns" the Beethoven piano concerti, not only once but twice! Seldom can one version make all the others so unnecessary and lacking than the case is with the Kempff's Beethoven concerti. The first, mono recording of the complete concertos are here included, conducted more than aptly by the sadly neglected Paul van Kempen, in sound that one instantly forgets that there are in mono. Production may be sloppy - there is Mozart on cover of one Beethoven-cd - but it is really a minor quibble in package that contains fine examples of Kempff's art, safe for Schubert and Bach. The solution to pair concertos with sonatas is uncommon, but works fine. Kempff's Chopin is no-nonsense and masculine, while his Brahms first concerto might at first sight sound clumsy, which it reveals not to be with repeated listening. Kempff's Liszt concerto is uncommonly musical, not unsuprisingly from a musician who was a real creative artist with no egocentrism whatsoever. Kempff's Mozart is also first class in its simplicity. There is only one minor quibble: the solution to include five Beethoven sonatas may well get you drooling to get them all! An insightful, inspirational artist and a fine collection, then. Kempff may appear a classicist, prosaic, even puritan, but with listened carefully, he turns out a poetic, humorous and inspirational artist. This package will repay repeated listening and gives joy again and again as Kempff always reveals new, magical insights into familiar works.