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Freddy Kempf

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Reviews

Freddy Kempf press reviews

New ZealandSymphony Orchestra Tour / Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.3 / Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1

June 2010


“ Freddy Kempf, young, yet already renowned as one of the world’s finest pianists, brought energy and a bold approach to his performance of Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto, lifting the work from its over-familiar status to something new.

David Sell, The Press, 24th June 2010


“Freddy Kempf showed himself to be not only a great technician but also a suave showman, opening the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto with a dazzling explosion of chords….He ranged from maniacal passages of playing, thundering through the music to tentative sections where he seemed to be exploring completely new musical territory.”

John Daly-Peoples, National Business Review, 22nd June 2010


“…his Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto was extremely respectful, perfectly gauged yet without any sacrifice of glitter…. Rachmaninov Third was an even greater triumph….Iridescent moods floated through its opening pages until Kempf took to the composer's massively sculpted piano textures with all the sangfroid of youth and the precision of a top-line artist.”

William Dart, NZ Herald, 21st June 2010


“Most in the audience were primarily drawn to hear English pianist Freddy Kempf tackle Rachmaninov's Third Piano Concerto, and they were not disappointed…He possesses real credentials in this repertoire, and his fingers are fully up to the task. His poetic instincts, too, allowed us to hear some beautifully inflected playing”

John Button, The Dominion Post, 14th June 2010


Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1

13th April 2010

“The smouldering intensity of Tchaikovsky’s music suits Kempf. Last night he played the First Piano Concerto, which, at least in its opening Allegro, is the very embodiment of storm-toss’d turbulence. Kempf took the rapid-fire fusillades in his stride, demonstrating impressive elasticity of phrasing, but the more contemplative second movement suited him better….Here his delicacy of touch generated real pianistic poetry, but he didn’t allow the movement’s vitality to ebb away, while the fireworks of the final movement blazed impressively. It would be asking a lot to expect him to shed new light on such familiar music, but Kempf made it his own. “

Nick Kimberly, London Evening Standard, 14th April 2010

European Union Chamber Orchestra / Mendelssohn Concerto for violin & Piano in D (with Katja Lämmermann)

25th February 2010

“What a performance of Mendelssohn's Concerto for Violin and Piano in D Minor they gave us. Indeed I, and those around me, were enthralled. I would have gladly just attended to hear the beautiful Adagio passage. This was a triumph for two sublimely gifted young artists.

At the risk of being too effusive — it doesn't come better than this. A splendid evening.”

John Harvey, North Devon Journal, February 2010

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Ravel Piano Concerto

February & March 2010


“They (RLPO) were then joined by Freddy Kempf for a performance of Ravel's G major Piano Concerto that was not afraid to give this subtle, sophisticated work a bit of edge. Kempf's cool approach to the slow movement was spell-binding, particularly his partnership with a beautifully phrased cor anglais solo.”

Mike Wheeler, Derby Telegraph, February 2010


“Full of sparkling brilliance and abounding in subtle nuances, he drove the finale forward at a tempo that was about as fast as human fingers could achieve.”

David Denton, Yorkshire Post, March 2010


Recital / St David’s Hall Cardiff

16th February 2010


“…Kempf breathed fresh life into this demanding sonata (Beethoven’s Waldstein). From the light prickings of the opening chords through to an Olympian mastery in the finale, here was a performance thoroughly at the service of the master’s written instructions.”

South Wales Echo, February 2010


CD / Prokofiev Piano Concertos 2 & 3 (BIS)

Released 2010


“Freddy Kempf is a pianist who can easily prove himself in the top echelon of today’s artists, and the musical communication evidenced on this release show his craftsmanship has no need for hype or gimmick… This is a recording and set of performances about which making a big fuss would seem entirely appropriate.”

Dominy Clements, MusicWeb International, May 2010


“A masterful Prokofievian pair here from Freddy Kempf, who couples the Second and Third concertos and in doing so beats Evgenny Kissin at his own game. Yet this is a thoughtful reading – no hammering away for hammering away’s sake for him – and one in which the orchestra under the excellent Andrew Litton play a full part.”

David Gutman, Gramophone, May 2010

 

“A MILESTONE: Pianist Freddy Kempf understands Prokofiev and he has the power and technique to deal with the demands that the works pose.”

Peter Larsen, Bergens Tidende, February 2010

“These are fabulous performances, the coupling is more than generous (a full 80 minutes of music)…Kempf treats the maniacal cadenza in the Second concerto's first movement as a genuine development section, using his control of texture and dynamics to plot the evolution of the movement's opening theme. Similarly, the central variations in the Third concerto's second movement have a remarkable amount of character and contrast… The Second concerto's whirlwind toccata of a second movement seldom has been played with such fleet-fingered, sparkling lightness.

Kempf's performance is every bit as persuasive as his reading of the two concertos. With state-of-the-art sonics in all formats, this disc is an essential addition to any serious Prokofiev collection.”

David Hurwitz, classicstoday.com, January 2010

CD / Shostakovich & Schnittke – Piano Trios (BIS)

Released 2009


“Good recordings of Shostakovich’s brilliant, tragic Second Piano Trio are already abundant…but this new BIS version from Freddy Kempf and partners is one of the best….Kempf and his colleagues project an intensity of involvement that is utterly convincing. ”

***** for Recording

***** for Performance


Calum MacDonald, BBC Music Magazine, February 2010

 

“An excellent pairing, these three trios. The sound is outstanding. Close, immediate yet not over-reverent. Everything has been combined to have the music, the essence of the music, be what remains with you when the last note has died away.”

Mark Sealey, Music Web International, February 2010


QueenslandOrchestra / Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1

November 2009


“…the English born pianist Freddy Kempf gave as fine rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. as can be heard in any concert hall. His youthful physicality, technical brilliance and astonishing musicality provided a refreshing interpretation….here is surely one of the finest pianists and interpreters of the romantic repertoire of his generation.”


Suzannah Conway, Courier Mail, December 2009

 

Hong KongSinfonietta / Schumann Piano Concerto in A minor

October 2009


“Freddy Kempf’s transcendental virtuosity on the keyboard has been recognized through his extensive recordings of wide range repertoire...In the concert, the young pianist fully deployed his wealth of exquisite musicality and technical adeptness…Under his nimble fingers, the piano was personified as an infinitely expressive and delicate instrument. Rarely a note went by without Mr. Kempf bringing plush and transparent intonation from the piano keys.“


Danny Kim-Nam Hui, concertonet.com, October 2009


Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / Beethoven Piano Concerto No.5

June 2009


“The high was Freddy Kempf’s virile playing of the Emperor; his heart-stopping passion and hair’s- breadth timing gripped the hall…He dived in and out of the score, defining the music not just by his technical brilliance but by coaxing from the keyboard the infinite shades of feeling that inspired the composer. Inspirational.”

Jeffery Taylor, Sunday Express, June 2009

 

BathInternational Festival / Recital (Beethoven, Chopin & Liszt)

May 2009

“The most dazzling display was that of pianist Freddy Kempf in the first and third Chopin Ballades and Liszt's Mephisto Waltz No 1, full of style and bravura. Altogether more deeply rewarding was his pairing of Beethoven sonatas, the Pathétique, Op 13 in C minor with the Waldstein, Op 53 in C major. The combination of rigour and interpretative insight suggested that Kempf in his early 30s is gaining considerably in artistic maturity, and Liszt's transcription of the Liebestod from Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde confirmed as much. The long phrases were spun out with a tenderly expressive singing line and, even at their most powerful and climactic, were impeccably controlled.”

Rian Evans, May 2009


Pacific Symphony Orchestra / Liszt Piano Concert No. 1

January 2009


“Freddy Kempf managed to make Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 sound like a first rate piece of music, which is no easy thing to do. It's a swashbuckler piece, the kind of thing that Errol Flynn would have starred in were it a movie, but with Kempf stepping in all of a sudden we had Laurence Olivier in Shakespeare.”


Timothy Mangan, The OC Register, January 2009


CD – Mussorgsky, Ravel, Balakirev (BIS)

Released 2008

“Freddy Kempf here tackles three giants of the piano repertoire and conquers them with spirit and imagination. Armed with all the necessary technical resources, he is able to bring colour and well-defined character to Pictures from an Exhibition, revealing how ingeniously Mussorgsky exploited the piano's palette of sound without the aid of all those later arrangers who chose to embellish it with orchestral timbres.”

Geoffrey Norris, The Daily Telegraph, July 2008

“In Ravel's orchestrated version, Mussorgsky's Pictures From An Exhibition tends to be seen as a lightweight piece of musical representationalism. But in pianist Freddy Kempf's hands it becomes much darker, as he brings out all the strength of Mussorgsky's original solo piano work…The great gate at Kiev witnesses the friendship between composer and its painter, Viktor Hartmann. There is real pain here, amid the soaring vision of what might have been; the 'Hut On Hen's Legs' is less a folksy rendering of a fairytale witch's house, alluding to something darker. Splendidly played.”

Alexander Bryce, Scotland on Sunday, July 2008

MoscowSymphony Orchestra / Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.2

October 2008


“Kempf's playing had its usual range of colour and dynamics and was full of character, poetry and meaningful phrasing, even in the tremendous finger dexterity in the last movement's virtuoso writing, while the second was beautifully shaped and purposefully understated.”


Bernard Lee, The Daily Telegraph, 31 October 2008