This disc presents one of the 20th century's greatest and most distinctive pianists in music of two pianist-composers, Schumann and Beethoven, who were among his most treasured specialties. The playing is fluent, brilliant without ever being flashy, and phrased and accented with a totally unique flavor. Kempff has power to spare, but he uses it with a restraint that heightens its impact.
Wilhelm Kempff (1895–1991), one of the great piano masters, receives an exceptional tribute from the label with which he was most closely associated. This is a beautiful, limited-edition 35-CD box of Kempff’s complete solo repertoire on DG and Decca Classics. It includes the stereo Beethoven sonata cycle, the Schubert sonata cycle, generous anthologies of Bach, Brahms, Liszt, Schubert, and Schumann – plus Chopin and Baroque. There are many rarities, not readily available at present.
Menuhin and Kempff seem in just about total agreement about how to play these sonatas: with enough attack to project their dramatic moments in a domestic context, and with enough repose to show their lyrical moments in the very best of lights.
What remains consistent is Pierre Fournier's elegant and aristocratic playing, his superb control of the bow and his supple, consistently beautiful tone impressed a whole generation of cellists and music lovers all over the world. Sixty-five years since he first recorded for Decca, we are proud to celebrate the artistry of this most distinguished of cellists and the wealth of recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, Decca and Philips – presented here together for the very first time in this 25-CD limited edition set.