Major documents from Rudolf Kempe's later years at the head of the Munich Philharmonic. Beethoven's Fifth, that masterpiece of emotional tension, and his Sixth, all vivid depiction of nature, are both readings of maturity and perfection.
With Kempe at the helm we can be assured of elevated and noble performances. The BBC Legends issue captures him in two concerts given four months apart. The February 1976 concert was given at the Royal Festival Hall and gives us not unexpected fare – Berg – and decidedly unusual repertoire for Kempe in the form of Tippett’s Concerto for Double String Orchestra. This positively crackles with rhythmic energy and dynamism, the strings responding with admirable precision and unanimity of attack. The result is a performance of real standing and a precious surviving example of Kempe’s small repertoire of British works.
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Eugene Ormandy recorded the New World Symphony many times, though this recording is special in that it features the London Symphony Orchestra rather than the Philadelphia Orchestra. Maybe that accounts for the extra edge of excitement, for this is without question one of the great recordings of the piece. It's coupled with a warmly appealing performance of the Serenade for Strings, and at budget price this recording is an easy recommendation. --David Hurwitz
Rudolf Kempe (born 14 June 1910 in Dresden, died 12 May 1976 in Zürich) was a German conductor. (…) from 1967 to his death conducted the Munich Philharmonic, with whom he made international tours and recorded the first quadraphonic set of the Beethoven symphonies. In the final months of his life, Kempe was the chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The opening concert of the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts on 16 July 1976, in which he was to have conducted his BBC forces in Beethoven's Missa solemnis, became a memorial concert for him following Kempe's death in Zürich aged 65.
Fredrik Kempe is a Swedish songwriter and opera and pop singer. He has participated in Swedish versions of the musicals Les Misérables and Chess. In 2002, Kempe had a hit with Vincerò, where he mixed opera and disco.
Kempe has participated in Melodifestivalen twice as a performer. He entered Melodifestivalen 2004 with the song Finally, a tribute to his favourite composer Benny Andersson and in 2005 together with Sanna Nielsen singing Du och jag mot världen.
Rudolf Serkin's 1964 recording of Beethoven's Piano Concerto in C minor is surely among the greatest recordings of the work ever made, and certainly his finest performance of the work. The energy and enthusiasm and even passion he brings to Concerto in C minor is overwhelming, and indeed, it overwhelms Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, who accompany Serkin with the sort of commitment that only a conductor and orchestra give to soloists when they are deeply inspired. But while Serkin's 1962 recording of Beethoven's Piano Concerto in E flat major is also surely among the greatest recordings of the work ever made, it is not quite Serkin's finest recording of the work.