Beethoven - Piano Concertos | APR APR6019

Beethoven - Piano Concertos

£12.56

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Label: APR

Cat No: APR6019

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 2

Release Date: 26th February 2016

Contents

Artists

Wilhelm Kempff (piano)
Berlin State Opera Orchestra
Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra
German Opera House Orchestra, Berlin
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

Conductors

Paul Van Kempen
Peter Raabe

Works

Beethoven, Ludwig van

Bagatelles (7), op.33
» no.5 in C major
Ecossaises (6), WoO83
Piano Concerto no.1 in C major, op.15
Piano Concerto no.3 in C minor, op.37
Piano Concerto no.4 in G major, op.58
Piano Concerto no.5 in E flat major, op.73 'Emperor'
Rondo a capriccio in G major, op.129 'Rage over a lost penny'

Artists

Wilhelm Kempff (piano)
Berlin State Opera Orchestra
Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra
German Opera House Orchestra, Berlin
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

Conductors

Paul Van Kempen
Peter Raabe

About

Wilhelm Kempff had such a long life, and recorded so prolifically in the LP era, that we tend to forget that he began his recording career in 1920 in the acoustic period, and recorded much of Beethoven’s piano output, including four of the five concertos, on 78s.

This set is a companion to the recently issued set of late sonatas (APR6018) and includes what was the first ever recording of Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto – a late acoustic recording from 1925 which shows the young Kempff was much more sprightly in this work than he later became. In spite of the primitive recording, the energy of the outer movements and the poetry of the slow movement are not compromised. Concertos 3 to 5, in better sound and featuring the greatest German orchestras of the period, reflect ‘state of the art’ Beethoven interpretation at this time and are a worthy alternative, if less well known, to the Schnabel cycle.

The set is filled out with the first ever CD issue of Kempff’s first recording, of a Beethoven Bagatelle and Eccossaises, and a wonderfully extrovert performance of the ‘Rage over a lost penny’ Rondo.

Contents:
CD1
1-3. Piano Concerto no.1 in C major, op.15
Berlin State Opera Orchestra
Recorded in September 1925 (Polydor 69815/8)
4. Bagatelle in C major, op.33 no.5
Recorded in 1920? [Kempff’s 1st recording] (Polydor 62400)
5. Six Ecossaises in E flat major, WoO83
Recorded in 1920? (Polydor 62400)
6-8. Piano Concerto no.3 in C minor, op.37
Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra / Paul Van Kempen
Recorded on 11 June 1942 (Polydor 67946/50)

CD2
1-3. Piano Concerto no.4 in G major, op.58
German Opera House Orchestra, Berlin / Paul Van Kempen
Recorded on 19 March 1940 (Polydor 67674/8)
4-6. Piano Concerto no.5 in E flat major ‘Emperor’, op.73
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Peter Raabe
Recorded on 6 January 1936 (Polydor 67082/6)
7. Rondo a capriccio in G major ‘Rage over a lost penny’, op.129
Recorded on 24 September 1937 (Polydor 62802)

Reviews

The set of four of the five piano concertos is memorable for the superlative and beautifully recorded studio accounts of the Third and Fourth concertos, which Kempff made with Paul van Kempen in Berlin in 1942 and 1940. The profoundly felt calm of the slow movement of the Third Concerto has to be heard to be believed, as does Kempff's playing of the recitatives in the slow movement of the Fourth.  Richard Osborne
Gramophone May 2016

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