Freddy Kempf plays Chopin
BIS CD-1160

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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

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

IPQ Review
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

Keith Clarke
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 . . .

- Keith Clarke
   from an interview for Amazon

ENCORE:  Kreisler arr. by Rachmaninov for piano - Liebesleid  (from live performance)
  Photo courtesy of Meridian TV

From GuildMusic
"Another of Kreisler's original pieces for violin and piano, one of a pair (the other being Liebesfreud), is Leibesleid, which sums up the soul of old Vienna - not as a large concert-waltz in the manner of the Strauss dynasty, but as an intimate, gentle reminiscence. It is marked to be played in the style of the Austrian (or German) Lšndler, an old dance in slowish 3/4 time, which many believe was the forerunner of the waltz, with which it shares certain similarities. In any event, Kreisler's delightfully languorous piece, with its evocative and dreamy ending, is a magnificent composition of its type, a perfect gem of the composer's craft."   - Robert Matthew-Walker

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CD Availability:  Here are direct links to online CD shops which carry the album, with track detail. Tower promises quick delivery.

Why my Freddy Kempf  pages?

======= Recent articles online =======

May 25, 2000: Interview with Freddy Kempf, by AmazonUK

April 25, 2000: Interview with Freddy Kempf, by Mark Bridle of MusicWeb.

"Meeting Freddy Kempf can be a humbling experience. Not yet 23, he is already well on his way to becoming a pianist of considerable greatness (his new Rachmaninov disc is very fine indeed)..."
    Bridle also does a comparison-review of Kissin and Kempf in recent live performances of Beethoven Concertos.

April 19, 2000: Review of Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 in concert, by Geoffrey Norris for The Telegraph.  

"FREDDY KEMPF'S performance of Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto in this Royal Philharmonic Orchestra programme was the complete antidote to the austerely manufactured one of the Third Concerto, also at the Barbican, that Evgeny Kissin had given with the Philharmonia a couple of nights earlier. There was a communicative vitality here, a true dialogue between piano and orchestra and an engagingly youthful ardour..."

See Neil Tingley's Freddy Kempf Web Site for later articles, for now


Freddy Kempf's Schumann CD
    Freddy's Rachmaninov CD
    and his Beethoven CD

Top review - image: Copyright © The Sunday Times
Small encore photo, courtesy of MeridianTV

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