One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Some items
to consider

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati








Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


CD: Buywell

Für Elise : Kempff Transcriptions and Encores
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor
, BWV903 [12:38]
Nunn komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV659 (arr. Wilhelm Kempff) [5:58]
Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (from Cantata BWV147: Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben) (1723) (arr. Kempff) [3:42]
Herzlich tut mich verlangen, BWV727 (arr. Kempff) [2:45]
In dulci jubilo, BWV729 (arr. Kempff) [2:01]
Nun freut euch, liebe Christen g'mein (arr. Kempff) [1:41]
Siciliano (from Flute Sonata No. 3 in E flat major, BWV1031) (arr. Kempff) [4:14]
Wachet auf! ruft uns die Stimme (from Cantata BWV140: Wachet auf! ruft uns die Stimme) (1731) (arr. Kempff) [4:57]
George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Air con variazioni 'The Harmonious Blacksmith'
(from Harpsichord Suite No. 5 in E major, HWV430) [5;23]
Minuet (from Harpsichord Suite No. 1 in B flat , HWV434) (arr. Kempff) [3:19]
François COUPERIN 'Le Grand' (1668-1733)
Le carillon de Cythère
(from Pièces de clavecin - Troisième livre - 14e order) [4:49]
Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764)
Le Rappel des Oiseaux
(from Premier livre de pièces de clavecin - Suite in E minor, 1724 rev. 1731) (arr. Kempff) [3:21]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
in C minor WoO52 [4:17]
Bagatelle in A minor, Für Elise, WoO 59 [3:29]
Wilhelm Kempff (piano)
rec. March 1953, (Bach only) and May 1955 Decca Studios, West Hampstead, London. ADD
DECCA ELOQUENCE 4801288 [63:32]

Experience Classicsonline

Wilhelm Kempff studied at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, after early study with his father. He made his debut in 1917 and a sixty year career followed. He was famed for his interpretations of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Mozart, Schubert and Schumann and his recordings of the Beethoven and Schubert Sonatas are, quite rightly, highly prized.
This disk offers miniatures, some of them in arrangements by the pianist himself - like so many performers of his time he was a composer as well, and some of his works are available on Arte Nova, Marco Polo and VMS. This selection of pieces is interesting, pleasing and very tuneful. However, the first five tracks are slow and somewhat ponderous, and the performances failed to make any impression on me. With Nun freut euch, liebe Christen g'mein the tempo increases, for a moment, but the playing is still bland. It simply doesn’t take off; it’s far too leaden footed. Then it’s back to the slow tempo and a ponderous Siciliano from the 3rdFlute Sonata. The Bach group ends with Kempff’s own arrangement of Wachet auf! ruft uns die Stimme which, like all the other Bach works here, is four-square and solid. What I love about Bach is his life-affirming style: he dances for joy so often, and raises the roof with his praise and compassion. These are very romantic interpretations. There’s nothing wrong with that for Bach can stand almost any treatment, but what is missing here is a release of exuberance and Kempff never smiles. The Harmonious Blacksmith starts in the same mould but once the variations get going there’s much more colour and variety to Kempff’s playing. Likewise the Minuet from the 1stHarpsichord Suite, which has a French feel to it and, although rather strict in its 3/4 time, could actually be a dance.
Things are even better with Couperin’s Le carillon de Cythère where Kempff displays a lightness of touch which is perfect for this piece. Rameau’s Le Rappel des Oiseaux is very pleasant even if these oiseaux seem to have enjoyed a little too much birdseed.
The final two tracks find Kempff in his comfort zone. Beethoven’s Bagatelle in C minor is nicely handled, with perfect control and understanding. Für Elise bursts out of the speakers at a louder volume than the previous piece and this inflates the work as it sounds tubby and distorted.
I would not want to be without Kempff’s recordings of the Schubert and Beethoven Sonatas and Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms Concertos, but this disk doesn’t do him any favours. The overall sound is somewhat boxy and the piano sound is flabby. I have never heard the originals so I have no idea if this is what they sounded like, or if it is the result of the transfer. As a memorial to a great pianist this fails to show Kempff at his best and he deserves better than this.
Bob Briggs  













Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.