Schubert: Piano Sonata in B flat, D960; Piano Sonata in A, D664; Impromptus, D899 & D935; Moments musicals, D780

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Schubert
LABELS: DG
WORKS: Piano Sonata in B flat, D960; Piano Sonata in A, D664; Impromptus, D899 & D935; Moments musicals, D780
PERFORMER: Wilhelm Kempff (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 459 412-2 ADD Reissue (1966-8)
These recordings were made in the mid- and late Sixties, when Kempff was around the age of 70 and obviously enjoying the privilege of seniority to relax and be thoroughly himself. The sound could hardly be better, had the sessions been yesterday. Kempff had an ideal touch for Schubert, marred only by a tendency to slap the keys in fortissimo. Below that, his sound melted in an infinite range of dynamics, and had the velvety bloom of a peach. Even though Kempff was born in 1895, his easy phrasing and broad singing quality seem less artificial than the way András Schiff plays Schubert today, if less exquisitely poised than the style of Murray Perahia. Nor is there the nervous tension of Alfred Brendel or the chaste austerity of Mitsuko Uchida. Kempff is simpler, more humble than any of these, and possibly, closer to Schubert’s heart. His playing is occasionally a little less than technically immaculate, but it is generous, unselfconscious and thoroughly inimitable. Adrian Jack

Advertisement