Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Wilhelm Kempff Plays Schumann Arabeske Papillons Davidsbundlertanze and Beethoven Piano Sonatas No 14 Moonlight No 17 Tempest No 27 in E Minor|
EMI Classic Archive 24
Actors: Wilhelm Kempff, Dino Ciani
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
This disc presents one of the 20th century's greatest and most distinctive pianists in music of two pianist-composers, Schumann and Beethoven, who were among his most treasured specialties. The playing is fluent, brilli... more »
Great performances, disappointing video quality
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This video runs at 112 mintues. The program consists of Schumann's Arabeske, Papillions, and Davidsbundlertanze, and three Beethoven sonatas (numbers 14, 17, and 27). These were filmed at different dates (1961, '63, '68, and '70) at the ORTF in Paris. All are complete performances except the 17th Beethoven sonata, which excludes the first 2 minutes (approx.) of the first movement. The Beethoven sonatas 14 and 27 were filmed in color, and the picture quality is excellent in these pieces. The rest of the program is in a pretty grainy black and white. Throughout these performances, I think the camera focuses too much on Kempff's face, even at critical moments when you wish you could see what was going on with his hands. This is most disappointing in the 17th Beethoven sonata, where probably about 90% of the video is spent close-up on his face. If not for the shortcomings in the camera work, however, I would have given this video 5 stars. The music is excellent, of course, and Kempff's technique is amazing to watch."
Sublime Music Making
Mr. Scott L. Leather | Tucson, AZ United States | 06/25/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD while suffering from some poor video quality exemplifies what made Kempff so revered: his sublime artistry and musicmaking ability. While the footage of the Schumann Papillons isn't bad it's the video quality of his performance of the Davidsbundlertanze that leaves much to be desired (hence why I gave the video only 4 stars). However, musically, I give this video 5 stars as Kempff is...there is simply no words to describe it...sublime artistically scaling musical heights that are titanic.
His ability to play so softly gives an ethereal quality to the beautiful performance of the Arabesque a piece which until hearing this performance I never really appreciated all that much.
His Papillons is similarly incredibly poetic and charming. It's the Davidsbundlertanze where his towering intellect as well as his incredible musical sense and sensitivity and sensibility shines through in all its glory. His overarching conception of this long work with its disparate elements and coquettish as well as dramatic moments sounds as if he were improvising the piece on the spot.
His Beethoven speaks for itself on the rest of the DVD which the footage is of more recent vintage and in color (the Schumann is all in black and white).
If you've never heard or seen Kempff perform get this DVD! If you're already a fan (which, I confess I was NOT), this DVD performance is indispensible!"
Mr. Scott L. Leather | 11/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD features Wilhelm Kempff at his best. The material presented are Schumann and Beethoven. Kempff at his best playing the best. The camera work on the other hadn, is not much satisfactory. Being a pianist myself, I would rather watch his hands than his face specially in Schumann's Papillon.
The disc comes with some clips of Dino Ciani, a contemporary of Maurizio Pollini, who died in an accident at age 33 in 1974."
An Absolute Delight
BLee | HK | 04/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The editorial review has given us a fair and precise overall picture of this DVD and for what not touched upon has been supplemented by the previous reviewer.
In view of the angle of the camera, and the proportion of time between the hands and the face etc, the photography of this DVD is not too bad in comparision to the average films of the same period. The close up of Kempff's face is rare and is unobjectionable. Unlike Richter whose bodily movements is so out of the norm, and unlike Uchida whose facial expressions could be quite distracting, Kempff is almost without motion and expressionless and yet it's graceful. His head is no more than a music note. But some how, his eyes gives the story away: he is deeply involved. And such close-ups serve as a clue to his musical thoughts. And the coverage of his fingers and touches are quite definitive. And it's only when we come to the film in colour, we will realize how much has been lost in the B/W.
Nevertheless, the ever changing point of view on the pianist and particularly the close-ups of his profile are quite unnecessary. The quality of the picture, however, is definitely below average, much worse than what we have for Cziffra filmed within a couple of years also in Paris. The sound, its also way below that of Cziffra and its barely acceptable only. Why is it not re-mastered?
Coming back to the more essential matters, I'm not sure if technique (or virtuosity) is the right yardstick for masters of this calibre, for technique is but a means to the end (music). Having said that, and as one of Kempff's fans, I confess I don't take delight in all his works. To me, some of them are not as inspiring as others. But there are some revelations here in his Schumann and his Beethoven Sonatas are far more poetic and less thunderous-- due perhaps to the smallness of venue or the the taste of the audience or his more advanced age, or a mixture, he was 73 and 75 when he recorded these two sonatas after all -- than those recorded a few years earlier in the mid 60s by DG.
Some regard him as the authority for Beethoven, yet I'm not too sure if the sonatas here are that authentic, if there is such a thing known as authenticity in music and just note how different he is from Backhaus and how he had taken things further from Schnabel and how it was taken further by Gulda... Having said that, one must say his playing here is immensely pleasurable and should appeal to most viewers as a absolute delight. What puzzles me was: why is Ciania dded here as a bonus? Honestly, I fail to find him close to Kempff at all."