A meaty first half of Beethoven greats wooed this fine international artist’s audience, though not totally into a listening mode if the fidgety coughs were anything to go by.
Symphony Hall’s sympathetic acoustic needs to be seriously considered in this respect otherwise any performance can so easily be marred by such lack of consideration.
Straight to the jugular with the master’s Eroica Variations – a familiar core melody giving rise to every quirk of imagination: from declamatory fugue, florid semiquaver embroideries, quasi Mozart, melodramatic left hand chords to even single solo notes being of consequence. Many ‘wow!’ factors.
A breathtaking tempo introduced the familiar Waldstein Sonata; delicious clarity to stormy passion. Clever sustaining pedal work began an almost music-box finale with lyricism then finally to an anticipated stormy finish.
Dear old Bach would surely have approved of Rachmaninov’s twinkling transcription of his E Major Partita as Kempf touched our souls with true tlc, exquisite and light-hearted.
Finally to Schumann’s Kreisleriana – eight fantasies for piano, written (unbelievably) in four days in 1838 by the lovelorn composer with his beloved Clara in mind. Everything from piano duet-like florid storms to lyrical bell-like beauty.
An added encore of the Trovatore Fantasy by Liszt completed this truly wonderful evening.
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