Monday, January 17, 2011

Kempff plays Schubert

There is something so uninhibited about Wilhelm Kempff's playing, as though he's speaking the music. When Artur Schnabel played the Viennese classics, it was like a religious rite - overwhelming us with the uncompromising severity of this music, as though to say 'listen to how profound this is!' When Kempff played, it was like a late-night conversation, with profundities tossed offhand that would astound people in a less intimate setting. Since Kempff, other pianists have gotten as deeply inside Schubert - Brendel, Lupu, Curzon et al... but no other pianist has ever reached the same 'more things in the heaven and the earth' plane to which Kempff brought us.

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