This 1962 recital, given as part of that year’s
Schwetzingen Festival, presents a rather unusual gloss on Wilhelm Kempff’s
repertoire. The concert opens with examples from his hitherto rare-as-hen’s-teeth
Gallic repertoire. He did play, and record, a minuscule amount of Fauré
but seldom ventured to the French Baroque as he does here.
Thus the first of the disc’s singular features is the presence
of Rameau and Couperin. Rapt, warm phrasing animates Les trois mains
from the Nouvelles Suites
with Kempff’s deftly defined
but wholly pianistically orientated playing evoking all the ‘mains’
The birdsong study, Le rappel des oiseaux,
brings out limpid
balance between the hands whilst the left hand’s darting points
bring a proper complement of energy.
The booklet commentary
rather carried away in places, not least in its depiction of Le carillon
, but it remains true to say that Kempff brings
out the bells with considerable delicacy. Maybe some might find Kempff
a touch too artful and romanticised in this repertoire after the more
direct playing of the great Marcelle Meyer in her 1950s LP recordings,
but it’s valuable now to have the chance to gauge his responses
in this way.
Masterwork Index: Beethoven