Freddy Kempf plays Chopin
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CD is now available at these sites, with track detail.
An early review from The Sunday Times, Sept. 1, 2001
The Chopin CD was released Sept. 3, 2001 in the UK.
It was released in August in Germany, and will be released sometime soon in the U.S.
From International Piano Quarterly - Autumn 2001 edition
A fascinating glimpse of a gifted young artist at the height of his improvisatory powers. For those readers who find the steely precision of Pollini and Kissin too unyielding in the ballades and the poetic clear-headedness of Perahia and Ashkenazy lacking in pictorial imagery, Kempf's exuberantly volatile readings should do very nicely.
For Kempf, at least this early stage in his career, the emotional narrative of the ballades seemingly holds greater allure than their purely structural integration. The way he holds back the G minor Ballade's first windswept climax (1:53) has an almost Pogorelich-like timelessness about it, leading to a release that, far from challenging the instrument's frame with the raw power of a Gavrilov, races away with a quicksilver deftness that brings to mind the likes of Pletnev or Schiff.
If the modern tendency is for artists to cast down their thoughts in tablets of stone, Kempf fearlessly takes risks with this music's alarming juxtapositions. One is left with the feeling that he could play these pieces quite differently on another occasion -- and make them equally compelling through the sheer force of his musical personality.
Op.47, in particular, is given a reading of infinite subtlety. In Kempf's hands the opening material becomes a preamble to the magical F major second theme, whose velvet-toned, swaying compound rhythms turn darkly introspective as Kempf masterfully colours his tone at the sinister change to the minor mode.
The Andante spianato is meltingly lovely, while the Grande polonaise assumes the character of a choreographic poem, replete with explosive contrasts of dynamic and expression to make Rubinstein's glittering urbanity (treasurable though it is in an entirely different way) feel just a shade 'safe' in comparison.
The Polonaise-fantaisie presents an entirely different set of interpretative problems and here Kempf's ability to characterise the music's myriad gestures without destablising its somewhat prolix structural outlines works miracles. Only a certain inability to relax sufficiently during the central section of the Fantasie-impromptu brings any hint of reservation. Kempf's finest recording to date by some distance.
- Simon Hodges
Editor of Classical Music magazine
. . . The latest piece of music-making on disc is his Chopin recital for BIS, where his beautifully judged legato and sense of limpid lyricism is linked with absolute fire-in-the-belly bravura playing. He feels there is a fine line to be taken in making a recording at once arresting but also able to stand the test of time . . .
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