80-CD set, LIMITED EDITION!!!
The music career of Wilhelm Kempff, born in 1895 and one of the most important pianists of the 20th century, lasted an impressive 60 years. Deutsche Grammophon has now set out to unearth the enormous treasure of recordings that has accumulated over this long period. In October 2020, it will release the major "Wilhelm Kempff Edition", a magnificently equipped 80-album box set with the legacy the pianist has left Deutsche Grammophon. Clearly arranged in four sections, it presents the entire range of his work. The recordings are supplemented by a 160-page booklet, which contains many original photos and new information on Wilhelm Kempff's oeuvre. The concert recordings (14 CDs) include, for example, the five Beethoven concertos in three different recordings, Schumann's piano concerto, the first Brahms concerto, Liszt's first and several piano concertos by Mozart. The fact that Kempff was also in demand as a chamber musician is made clear by the performances of his partners we meet in the field of chamber music (14 CDs), including Wolfgang Schneiderhan and Yehudi Menuhin for the Beethoven sonatas for violin and piano, or Pierre Fournier, with whom he recorded not only the cello sonatas but also the piano trios, together with Henryk Szeryng. The extensive chapter of his solo recordings (46 CDs) includes works by Bach, Brahms, Chopin, Handel, Liszt, Mozart and Schumann, as well as the two complete Beethoven sonata cycles from 1951-56 and 1964-65, and the recording of all Schubert sonatas. A very special chapter within the Kempff-Edition are the early shellac recordings made between 1920 and 1941, which are collected on six sound carriers. Already on them, the "singing on the keyboard" so typical for Kempffs becomes clear. In the period from 1925 to 1941, he made his first attempt to record Beethoven's Sonatenzyklus - vierundzwanzig have become the first. All of these recordings were still made at 78-note speed. The "Schellack" chapter is more than just a carefully reworked, yet exciting sound document of long ago recording art. It is, like the whole box, testimony and artistic legacy of a pianist who throughout his life was far from mimicking the virtuoso or the "Beethoven artist".