|All Artists: Brahms, Kempe, Berlin Philharmonic|
Title: 4 Symphonies
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Testament UK
Release Date: 3/28/1995
Number of Discs: 3
SwapaCD Credits: 3
|Brahms, Kempe, Berlin Philharmonic|
Listen to Samples
An Unsung Giant
Ralph J. Steinberg | New York, NY United States | 08/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rudolf Kempe was, in my opinion, the greatest conductor of German music in the years following the death of Furtwangler. Although more reserved in his music making, he also shared with Furtwangler a tempo fluidity that never impaired the structure of the work at hand, on the contrary, it emphasized it.His best recordings were, not surprisingly, with the Berlin Philharmonic, when it was still Furtwangler's orchestra.
This Brahms set, along with the Beethoven Eroica and Schumann Spring Symphonies (also on Testament), makes a good introduction to Kempe's art. His versions of Symphonies 2.3 and 4 belong in the company of the best interpreters; there are some versions as good, but none better. But when it comes to the First Symphony, again in my opinion, Kempe towers above other conductors, even above my hero Furtwangler. His must be the broadest, sublest, darkest and most mysterious reading ever, until the Finale, which bursts forth with blinding sunlight. One of the great attributes of Kempe is his ability to create tension by holding back, by exerting a reserve that shows that more is to come, instead of exhausting the power of the music all at once. Kempe's was my very first Brahms First back in 1961, and it still is my favorite.
This set is indisensible as both a momento of a great conductor and as an example of great Brahms conducting. But if you get this set, save the First Symphony for last."