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Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764)
Nouvelles Suites de pièces de clavecin No.4; Les trois mains [3:55]
Pièces de clavecin, deuxième ordre No.5; Le rappel des Oiseaux (1724) [3:13]
François COUPERIN (1668-1733)
Troisiè me livre de pièces des clavencin, No.14; Le carillon de Cithère (1722) [3:24]
Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Keyboard Suite No.4 in B, HWV434; Minuet (1733) [3:35]
Attributed; Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Pastorale variée in B, k Anh.C26.01 [5:54]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Sonata No.22 in F, Op.54 (1804) [11:42]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Piano Sonata in A minor, D845 (1825) [27:05]
Impromptu in G flat major, D899 No.3 (1828) [6:38]
Wilhelm Kempff (piano)
rec. live, May 1962, Schwetzinger Castle
HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD 93.720 [65:54]

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’required. 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 commentarygets rather carried away in places, not least in its depiction of Le carillon de Cithère, 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.
 
Jonathan Woolf 

Masterwork Index: Beethoven sonata 22 ~~ Schubert sonata D845