Kempff - Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas (8CD boxset, APE)
Kempff - Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas (8CD boxset, APE)

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Wilhelm Kempff
Audio CD
SPARS Code: A-D
Number of Discs: 8 CD boxset
Format: APE (image+cue)
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Size: 1.53 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

CD 01:
01. Sonate No. 1 f-moll op. 2 No. 1 – 1. Allegro
02. Sonate No. 1 f-moll op. 2 No. 1 – 2. Adagio
03. Sonate No. 1 f-moll op. 2 No. 1 – 3. Menuetto. Allegretto
04. Sonate No. 1 f-moll op. 2 No. 1 – 1. Prestissimo
05. Sonate No. 2 A-dur op. 2 No.2 – 1. Allegro Vivace
06. Sonate No. 2 A-dur op. 2 No.2 – 2. Largo appassionato
07. Sonate No. 2 A-dur op. 2 No.2 – 3. Schrzo. Allegretto
08. Sonate No. 2 A-dur op. 2 No.2 – 4. Rondo. Grazioso
09. Sonate No. 4 Es-dur op. 7 – 1. Allegro molto e con brio
10. Sonate No. 4 Es-dur op. 7 – 2. Largo, con gran espressione
11. Sonate No. 4 Es-dur op. 7 – 3. Allegro
12. Sonate No. 4 Es-dur op. 7 – 4. Rondo. Poco allegretto e grazioso

CD 02:
01. Sonate No. 3 C-dur op. 2 No. 3 – 1. Allegro con brio
02. Sonate No. 3 C-dur op. 2 No. 3 – 2. Adagio
03. Sonate No. 3 C-dur op. 2 No. 3 – 3. Scherzo. Allegro
04. Sonate No. 3 C-dur op. 2 No. 3 – 4. Allegro assai
05. Sonate No. 5 c-moll op. 10 No. 1 – 1. Allegro molto e con brio
06. Sonate No. 5 c-moll op. 10 No. 1 – 2. Adagio molto
07. Sonate No. 5 c-moll op. 10 No. 1 – 3. Finale. Prestissimo
08. Sonate No. 6 F-dur op. 10 No. 2 – 1. Allegro
09. Sonate No. 6 F-dur op. 10 No. 2 – 2. Allegretto
10. Sonate No. 6 F-dur op. 10 No. 2 – 3. Presto
11. Sonate No. 7 D-dur op. 10 No. 3 – 1. Presto
12. Sonate No. 7 D-dur op. 10 No. 3 – 2. Largo e mesto
13. Sonate No. 7 D-dur op. 10 No. 3 – 3. Menuetto. Allegro
14. Sonate No. 7 D-dur op. 10 No. 3 – 4. Rondo, Allegro

CD 03:
01. Sonate No. 8 c-moll op. 13 ‘Pathйtique’ – 1. Grave – Allegro di molto
02. Sonate No. 8 c-moll op. 13 ‘Pathйtique’ – 2. Adagio cantabile
03. Sonate No. 8 c-moll op. 13 ‘Pathйtique’ – 3. Rondo. Allegro
04. Sonate No. 9 E-dur op. 14 No. 1 – 1. Allegro
05. Sonate No. 9 E-dur op. 14 No. 1 – 2. Allegretto
06. Sonate No. 9 E-dur op. 14 No. 1 – 3. Rondo. Allegro comodo
07. Sonate No. 10 G-dur op. 14 No. 2 – 1. Allegro
08. Sonate No. 10 G-dur op. 14 No. 2 – 2. Andante
09. Sonate No. 10 G-dur op. 14 No. 2 – 3. Scherzo. Allegro assai
10. Sonate No. 11 B-dur op. 22 – 1. Allegro con brio
11. Sonate No. 11 B-dur op. 22 – 2. Adagio con molta espressione
12. Sonate No. 11 B-dur op. 22 – 3. Menuetto
13. Sonate No. 11 B-dur op. 22 – 4. Rondo. Allegretto

CD 04:
01. Sonata No. 12 in A flat major op. 26 – 01 Andante con Variazioni
02. Sonata No. 12 in A flat major op. 26 – 02 – Scherzo. Allegro Molto
03. Sonata No. 12 in A flat major op. 26 – 03 – Marcia Funebre Sulla Morte D’un Eroe
04. Sonata No. 12 in A flat major op. 26 – 04 – Allegro
05. Sonata No. 13 in E Flat major op. 27 – 1 – Andante
06. Sonata No. 13 in E Flat major op. 27 – 2 – Allegro Molto E Vivace
07. Sonata No. 13 in E Flat major op. 27 – 3 – Adagio Con Expressione
08. Sonata No. 13 in E Flat major op. 27 – 4 – Allegro Vivace
09. Sonata No. 14 Moonlight – 1 – Adagio Sostenuto – attacca
10. Sonata No. 14 Moonlight – 2 – Allegretto – attacca
11. Sonata No. 14 Moonlight – 3 – Presto agitato
12. Sonata No. 15 – 1 – Allegro
13. Sonata No. 15 – 2 – Andante
14. Sonata No. 15 – 3 – Scherzo. Allegro vivace
15. Sonata No. 15 – 4 – Rondo. Allegro, ma non troppo

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CD 05:
01. Sonata No. 16 in G major op. 31 No. 1 – 01 Allegro vivace
02. Sonata No. 16 in G major op. 31 No. 1 – 02 Adagio grazioso
03. Sonata No. 16 in G major op. 31 No. 1 – 03 Rondo, Allegretto
04. Sonata No. 17 in D minor op. 31 No. 2 ‘Tempest’ – 01 Largo – Allegro
05. Sonata No. 17 in D minor op. 31 No. 2 ‘Tempest’ – 02 Adagio
06. Sonata No. 17 in D minor op. 31 No. 2 ‘Tempest’ – 03 Allegretto
07. Sonata No. 18 in E flat major op. 31 No. 3 – 01 Allegro
08. Sonata No. 18 in E flat major op. 31 No. 3 – 02 Scherzo, Allegretto vivace
09. Sonata No. 18 in E flat major op. 31 No. 3 – 03 Minuetto, Moderato e grazioso
10. Sonata No. 18 in E flat major op. 31 No. 3 – 04 Presto con fuoco
11. Sonata No. 19 in G minor op. 49 No. 1 – 01 Andante
12. Sonata No. 19 in G minor op. 49 No. 1 – 02 Rondo, Allegro

CD 06:
01. Sonata No. 20 in G major op. 49 No. 2 – 01 Allegro, ma non troppo
02. Sonata No. 20 in G major op. 49 No. 2 – 02 Tempo di Minuetto
03. Sonata No. 21 in C major op. 53 ‘Waldstein’ – 01 Allegro con brio
04. Sonata No. 21 in C major op. 53 ‘Waldstein’ – 02 Introduzione, Adagio molto
05. Sonata No. 21 in C major op. 53 ‘Waldstein’ – 03 Rondo, allegretto moderato
06. Sonata No. 22 in F major op.54 – 01 In tempo d’un Menuetto
07. Sonata No. 22 in F major op.54 – 02 Allegretto
08. Sonata No. 23 in F minor op. 57 ‘Appassionata’ – 01 Allegro assai
09. Sonata No. 23 in F minor op. 57 ‘Appassionata’ – 02 Andante con moto – attacca
10. Sonata No. 23 in F minor op. 57 ‘Appassionata’ – 03 Allegro, ma non troppo
11. Sonata No. 24 in F sharp major op. 78 – 01 Adagio cantabile – Allegro
12. Sonata No. 24 in F sharp major op. 78 – 02 Allegro vivace

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CD 07:
01. Sonata No. 25 in G major op. 79 – 01 Presto alla tedesca
02. Sonata No. 25 in G major op. 79 – 02 Andante
03. Sonata No. 25 in G major op. 79 – 03 Vivace
04. Sonata No. 26 in E flat major op. 81a ‘Les Adieux’ – 01 Adagio – Allegro
05. Sonata No. 26 in E flat major op. 81a ‘Les Adieux’ – 02 Andante espressivo
06. Sonata No. 26 in E flat major op. 81a ‘Les Adieux’ – 03 Vivacissimamente
07. Sonata No. 27 in E minor op. 90 – 01
08. Sonata No. 27 in E minor op. 90 – 02
09. Sonata No. 29 in B flat major op. 106 ‘Hammerklavier’ – 01 Allegro
10. Sonata No. 29 in B flat major op. 106 ‘Hammerklavier’ – 02 Scherzo, Assai vivace
11. Sonata No. 29 in B flat major op. 106 ‘Hammerklavier’ – 03 Adagio sostenuto
12. Sonata No. 29 in B flat major op. 106 ‘Hammerklavier’ – 04 Largo, Molto risoluto

CD 08:
01. Sonate No.28 A-dur op.101 – 1. Etwas lebhaft und mit der innigsten Empfindung
02. Sonate No.28 A-dur op.101 – 2. Lebhaft, marschmдЯig. Vivace alla marcia
03. Sonate No.28 A-dur op.101 – 3. Langsam und sehnsuchtsvoll. Adagio
04. Sonate No.28 A-dur op.101 – 4. Geschwinde, doch nicht zu sehr
05. Sonate No.30 E-dur op.109 – 1. Vivace, ma non troppo
06. Sonate No.30 E-dur op.109 – 2. Prestissimo
07. Sonate No.30 E-dur op.109 – 3. Gesangvoll, mit innigster Empfindung
08. Sonate No.31 As-dur op.110 – 1. Moderato cantabile molto espressivo
09. Sonate No.31 As-dur op.110 – 2. Allegro molto
10. Sonate No.31 As-dur op.110 – 3. Adagio, ma non troppo – Fuga. Allegro
11. Sonate No.32 c-moll op.111 – 1. Maestoso – Allegro con brio ed appassionato
12. Sonate No.32 c-moll op.111 – 2. Arietta. Adagio molto semplice e cantabile

Why This Box Is Best

The key to why this box is best:
It always sounds like he’s improvising; and nothing “channels” Beethoven more than that.
(In this box) Kempff has a magic touch that transcends robotic correctness; it’s always like a fresh breeze,
with no need to “pound the keys.” Even his fortes aren’t pounded. Some other complete sets of these sonatas leave me uninspired,
but these performances are primordially created, as if the notated-music has been thrown away and Beethoven is improvising NOW.
Your tastes may differ, of course, but if you want a quintessential poetic approach, fresh as a present stream…”dis be da one.”

Wilhelm Kempff channels the charm and intimacy of Beethoven’s music

Having listened to several complete sets of Beethoven’s piano sonatas and some incomplete sets as well, I have come to the conclusion that Wilhelm Kempff’s mono studio recordings from the mid-1950s comprise my overall favorite. This has surprised me as much as anyone; Kempff’s musical temperament doesn’t match that of the stereotypical Beethoven – the moody, fiery virtuoso so apparent in the `Appassionata’ sonata or the 5th symphony. Yet as those of us who have explored his music in depth, there has always been more to Beethoven, whether it be his humor and charm in works such as Op. 31/1 and the 8th symphony, or the searching, introspective way that revealed itself most completely in his late sonatas and quartets. It is these lesser-acknowledged facets of Beethoven’s musical personality that Kempff conveys so completely, and they are at the heart of the 32 sonatas.

Kempff was not drawn to extreme tempos as are many Beethoven interpreters – his slow movements are often on the fast side and his fast movements are sometimes on the slow side. Yet he is able to give the music its meaning with attention to detail, thoughtful yet subtle phrasing, spontaneity, and a highly expressive tone. This last point is particularly commendable and is something that is perhaps undervalued among our contemporary virtuosi. Kempff seems to mold his piano into several different instruments depending on the needs of the music, achieving a level of tonal variety that is seldom approached among other pianists. Kempff was at his greatest among the lesser-known sonatas. For me, Kempff’s recordings of the Op. 10 and 31 trios, Op. 26, Op. 27(#1&2), Op. 28, Op. 78, Op. 79, Op. 81a, Op. 90, Op. 101, and Op. 111 are reference recordings. Others may share that reference status in some cases, but in my opinion none exceed Kempff in these works.

On the other hand, one could complain about his approach to some of the more famous sonatas. His `Pathetique’ and `Appassionata’ sonatas are rather tame by most standards, lacking the pacing and sheer energy to be considered entirely successful. The same could be said of a smattering of other fast movements throughout this collection. By the same token there are slow movements that sometimes don’t seem to get the gravity they deserve, like the Andante of the `Pathetique’, or even some of the more poetic portions of Op. 109 and 110.

Overall though the positives in this set are too significant to be outweighed by these complaints, and complemented by other recordings I have no doubt that Kempff’s mono set will find a happy home on many shelves.

The sound of these late mono recordings is clear and intimate, if somewhat flat due to its vintage. I prefer it to the brittle sound of Kempff’s stereo set recorded a decade later. Furthermore, to my ears the playing in the mono set is more vital and virtuosic. There are a few areas with recording artifacts if you listen very carefully, but I won’t point them out lest they detract from your experience. The box set is nicely assembled with liner notes and individually labeled sleeves for the CDs.

24 Comments

  1. Wow. Another great upload. We had Brendel & Backhaus. Now, the ultimate, Kempff. Thank you very much. Thanks especially for 50s edition.

  2. I very much look forward to hearing this. It wasn’t in print for very long. I have heard the later edition, but never this one which is supposed to be superior. Thank you.

  3. Great!

    Beethoven’s sonatas = Kempff

    Beethoven’s symphonies = Josef Krips (with LSO)

  4. 感谢分享。Kempff 大师给我一种中规中矩的感觉,或者说比较古朴庄重吧。

  5. A bit of a post-recognition of your monumental labors
    preparing all these Boxsets.
    I DL a couple days ago, but more than ever. after listening a little, I want to salute you.

    Bob

  6. This set has over the years acquired legendary status even with some of the most hard bitten music critics and listening to it show why. Kempff was a true visionary interpreter of Beethoven. Must also add that the mono sound has been expertly remastered.

    Many thanks for making it available!

  7. Grazie grazie grazie Alfredo …. sono davvero sbalordito dalla formidabile qualità e ampiezza di quanto offri. I miei sogni musicali di adolescente si stanno realizzando grazie a te. Questa edizione Beethoven Kempff, per esempio. Sai, da ragazzo molte volte mi sono alzato in piena notte per andare a procurarmi i biglietti dei concerti che Kempff teneva a Roma … un musicista straordinario, cui i dischi non sempre rendono giustizia (lui suonava davvero bene … quando suonava bene)

    1. Caro Joe…grazie. Tieniti pronto, che tra qualche giorno posto qui tutti e 5 i concerti di LvB con Kempff/Leitner…un boxset uscito nel 1975 in occasione dell’80° compleanno del pianista. Sono si delle ristampe, ma il suono è eccellente e i vinili come nuovi. Naturalmente il mio traguardo ideale è di trovare gli altri 2 concerti in etichetta tulipani e 1° edizione…ma è difficilissimo trovarli in ottime condizioni (come questi due dischi) e non spendere una fortuna. Questi mi sono costati circa 130 EUR tutti e due.

  8. This is my second go-round a year and a half later; lost the 09/2013 copy when a hard drive died.
    This Boxset.ru Library is priceless, and I want you to know how much I value it; you and your team.
    A heart-felt THANKS A. R.!
    Bob

      1. Whatever, your generosity is magnanimous. Forgive my ignorance, but may I presume you refer just to this Wilhelm Kempff Beethoven Sonata set? I have already downloaded this set again today.
        I have about 1 Terabite of hard drive space remaining in a 3 TB external drive.
        But my gratitude for your help is great.
        If you need to delete this response, I understand.
        Bob

        1. I’m writing you on my laptop that uses my moniker of righton. The prior email is from my desktop.
          Bob

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