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Wilhelm Kempff Plays Schumann: Arabeske, Papillons, Davidsbundlertanze (EMI Classic Archive 24), and Beethoven: Piano Sonatas No. 14 Moonlight, No. 17 Tempest, No. 27 in E Minor

Wilhelm Kempff , Dino Ciani  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Wilhelm Kempff, Dino Ciani
  • Format: Black & White, Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: EMI Classics
  • DVD Release Date: February 10, 2004
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001AW052
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #346,072 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

  • Wilhelm Kempff plays Schumann Arabeske and Papillons, Schumann Davidsbundlertanze, Beethoven Piano Sonatas 17 (Tempest), 13 (Moonlight), and 27
  • Dino Ciani plays Schumann Novelletten and Bartok Out of Doors
  • Authoritative essay and archive photographs

Editorial Reviews

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, brilliant without ever being flashy, and phrased and accented with a totally unique flavor. Kempff has power to spare, but he uses it with a restraint that heightens its impact.

Kempff's style is an attractive blend of intelligence and lyric grace; he is, like Alfred Brendel. a thinking man's pianist, but his joyful plunge into the lighter moments is as significant as his subtle explorations of the music's depths. In this collection, taken from television broadcasts in the 1960s and 1970, Schumann is presented essentially as a brilliant miniaturist, Beethoven as a devotee of larger and deeper forms. Kempff takes the measure of both styles. A bonus presents a less-known but fine pianist, Dino Ciani, in Schumann's Novelette, Op. 21, No. 1 and two numbers from Bartok's "Out of Doors" Suite. --Joe McLellan

Product Description


Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great performances, disappointing video quality March 27, 2004
By A Customer
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.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sublime Music Making June 25, 2006
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!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing November 15, 2004
A Kid's Review
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.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Absolute Delight April 14, 2004
By BLee
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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Maybe that statement sounds exaggerate to many readers or even reviewers. But I have not ever heard any other pianist in the keyboard story with such expressiveness in what cantabile line concerns.

The sublime and wrought pianism demands all our possible attention. Since I watched this invaluable DVD, you may notice how he makes of every single bar, a task by itself. His gaze is simply enigmatic. And you cannot simply understand, the reason why so many pianist tend to fall into a wordiness sea, without nothing to say.

Wilhelm Kempff had surmounted that typical pedantry and stupid arrogance that feature so many pianists today. As a true artist, he besides to lay, created an atmosphere; and suddenly he achieved to mesmerize all the audience, because his personal convictions were so strong that you felt he had something to express and communicate too.

The Schumann ` s Arabesque is played with increasing lyricism and austere elegance. The Papillons Op. 2 are played with vibrant expression and serene poetry.

The tempest Sonata to my mind is the best achievement of the whole set. The aristocratic ?clat shake hands with those outbreaks of passionate breath and outstanding commitment. As a sculptor of sounds he outbraves the task with absolute solvency. Moonlight Sonata under his hands acquires a cosmic voluptuousness with that engaging charm and discrete persuasiveness. Sonata Op. 27 is played with such discrete humbleness and remarkable persuasion that astonishes even the most indifferent listener.

I just only would like to underline the fundamental relevance of this invaluable musical document, that will maintain into impeccable preservation for the future generations this legendary bequeath.
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