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PAUL VAN KEMPEN: COMPLETE PHILIPS RECORDINGS (10 CDS)

PAUL VAN KEMPEN: COMPLETE PHILIPS RECORDINGS (10 CDS)

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THE FIRST BOX SET COMPRISING THE COMPLETE PHILIPS RECORDINGS OF THE POWERFULLY INDIVIDUAL DUTCH CONDUCTOR PAUL VAN KEMPEN.

ORIGINAL JACKETS | NEW REMASTERING | LIMITED EDITION

Alongside Willem Mengelberg and Bernard Haitink, Paul van Kempen is one of three Dutch conductors who were regular and esteemed leaders of both the Concertgebouworkest and the Berliner Philharmoniker, live and on record.

Van Kempen was an unabashed Romantic in style, in the mould of Mengelberg but with his own approach, and a sensitivity that made him a perfect foil to Wilhelm Kempff and Wolfgang Schneiderhan on Deutsche Grammophon recordings of Beethoven concertos for which he is best remembered.

This new box set from Eloquence, however, enables us to reassess Van Kempen as a powerfully individual conductor in his own right. It mixes repertoire classics with music off the beaten track, opera, oratorio, light classics and symphonies, including several recordings receiving their first-ever release on CD. In fact, his discography was surprisingly extensive given his relatively brief career. Born in 1893, he trained as a violinist and became a member of the Concertgebouworkest under Mengelberg at the age of just seventeen. In the 1930s he conducted orchestras across the Netherlands and Germany, and in 1942 he took over from Herbert von Karajan as music director of the opera house in Aachen. While he made several prewar recordings for Telefunken and DG, however, his career in the studio only took off after 1949, when he took charge of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, based in Hilversum.

The earliest recording here was made in July 1947 – 78rpms of two Wagner overtures with the La Scala Orchestra of Milan. The remainder of the box dates from the first half of the 1950s – Van Kempen died at the age of 62 in 1955 –documenting his fruitful relationships with the NRPO, Berlin Philharmonic and Concertgebouw Orchestras , but also with ensembles farther afield: overtures with the Lamoureux Orchestra in Paris and a Verdi Requiem in Rome with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra and an unusual cast of international soloists led by the superb Dutch soprano Gré Brouwenstijn.

Core repertoire includes a trio of Beethoven symphonies made in Berlin (Nos. 3, 7 and 8), spaciously conceived but marked by a driving pulse, as well as the less-familiar Consecration of the House Overture which originally appeared on a DG 10-inch EP curiously paired with Ferdinand Leitner leading Bach’s Third Brandenburg Concerto. Brouwenstijn reappears in Italian operatic excerpts made for Philips with the NRPO, but the real Hilversum rarity is the first recording of Isaiah the Prophet, an opulent neo-Romantic oratorio written by Alexander Tansman in 1950 to celebrate the creation of the Jewish state of Israel.

Van Kempen had a special feeling for the music of Tchaikovsky, and the Concertgebouw recordings of the last two symphonies can fairly be considered classics of the gramophone, alongside the Romeo and Juliet, 1812 and Capriccio Italien. In all of these, Van Kempen’s vivid contrasts of tempo and sure dramatic grip were much admired. In a perceptively-written booklet essay, music historian Niek Nelissen’s extended appreciation of the conductor reveals how he was more respected than liked by orchestras for his autocratic approach, but also how his firm grip on an orchestra was an early inspiration for Haitink. For all admirers of the art of conducting, the box will be an invaluable acquisition.

Various of these recordings were previously available as part of Philips’s long-defunct The Early Years series but the current collection is superior in all respects, a masterpiece of careful planning, in fact...Beethoven is represented by an Eroica that is truly among the greatest of the period – of any period, I’d say...testimony to a genuinely great conductor who up until now has rarely been acknowledged as such. --GRAMOPHONE (ON BOXED SET RELEASE)


“Paul van Kempen … is a faded rose in a few collectors’ memories. By the evidence of this invaluable reissue, however, more of us should be paying attention. Van Kempen interprets the “Eroica” to match any recorded version I know.’ Fanfare, September 2015 (Beethoven)

“Blistering performances of all three works by Van Kempen and the famous Concertgebouw, who whip up a veritable tempest of sound. At first hearing it’s almost overpowering.” High Fidelity, March 1954 (Tchaikovsky)

“A fine, fiery performance … The playing of the orchestra is well up to their high reputation and, apart from a few dry patches, the recording is excellent.” Musical Times, January 1955 (Beethoven, Symphony No. 3)

“This is, perhaps, the best performance of [Tchaikovsky’s Fifth] symphony yet to appear on LP. The Concertgebouw Orchestra plays with its customary virtuosity and van Kempen is able to produce a performance of great fire and verve.” EMG Monthly Letter, September 1955

“The work is of the highest interest and the performance is superb.” High Fidelity, March 1957 (Tansman)

“Highly idiomatic and entirely satisfying performances.” Gramophone, May 1958 (Brahms, Hungarian Dances

“Finely played and spaciously recorded … an introduction of great charm and spontaneity … an excellent issue.” Gramophone, September 1958 (Rossini: William Tell Overture)

 

 

CD 1*
CARL MARIA VON WEBER (1786–1826)
1 Oberon: Overture

GIUSEPPE VERDI (1813–1901)
2 La Forza del destino: Overture

PIETRO MASCAGNI (1863–1945)
3 Cavalleria Rusticana: Intermezzo sinfonico

RICHARD WAGNER (1813–1883)
Lohengrin
4 Prelude to Act I
5 Prelude to Act III
6 Treulich geführt (Bridal Chorus, Act III)
Netherlands Opera Chorus · Henk van Wielink, chorus master

ALEXANDRE TANSMAN (1897–1986)
7–13 Isaïe, le Prophète
Cornelis Kalkman, tenor (Tansman)

Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Choir (Tansman)
Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
PAUL VAN KEMPEN

*FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA

CD 2*
ARIAS & CHORUSES
from
1–3 OFFENBACH Les Contes d’Hoffmann
4 GOUNOD Faust
5 MEYERBEER Dinorah
6 WEBER Oberon
7 SUPPÉ Die schöne Galathee
8 JOHANN STRAUSS II Die Fledermaus

VERDI
9 Aida
10–11 Nabucco
12–13 Rigoletto
14 Il trovatore
15 MASCAGNI Cavalleria Rusticana
16 LEONCAVALLO Pagliacci
17–18 PUCCINI Tosca

Gré Brouwenstijn, soprano · Erna Spoorenberg, soprano
Lidy van der Veen, mezzo-soprano
Frans Vroons, tenor · Theo Baylé, baritone
Netherlands Opera Chorus / Henk van Wielink, chorus master
Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra

PAUL VAN KEMPEN

*FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA

CD 3
RUGGERO LEONCAVALLO (1857–1919)
1 Pagliacci: Intermezzo (Act I)*
Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra

PIOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893)
2–5 Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 ‘Pathétique’
6 Romeo and Juliet – Fantasy Overture
7 Marche slave, Op. 31
Concertgebouworkest
PAUL VAN KEMPEN

*FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA

CD 4
PIOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893)
1–4 Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64
5 Capriccio italien, Op. 45
6 Overture solenelle ‘1812’, Op. 49

FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797–1828)
7 Marche militaire No. 1 in D major, D.733 (Orchestrated by Ernest Guiraud)

JOHANN STRAUSS I (1804–1849)
8 Radetzky March, Op. 228

Concertgebouworkest

PAUL VAN KEMPEN

CD 5
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)
1 Die Weihe des Hauses – Overture, Op. 124

FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809–1847)
2 Die Hebrideen – Overture, Op. 26

GIOACHINO ROSSINI (1792–1868)
3 Guillaume Tell – Overture

JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833–1897)
4 Akademische Festouvertüre, Op. 80
5–13 Nine Hungarian Dances, WoO 1

HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803–1869)
14 Benvenuto Cellini: Overture

Berliner Philharmoniker
PAUL VAN KEMPEN

CD 6
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)
1–4 Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 ‘Eroica’
5–8 Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93

Berliner Philharmoniker
PAUL VAN KEMPEN

CD 7
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)
1–4 Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92

MAX REGER (1873–1916)
5–17 Variations and Fugue on a theme by Johann Adam Hiller, Op. 100

Berliner Philharmoniker

PAUL VAN KEMPEN

CD 8
FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809–1847)
1 Ein Sommernachtstraum – Overture, Op. 21*

GIOACHINO ROSSINI (1792–1868)
2 Guillaume Tell – Overture*
3 Il barbiere di Siviglia – Overture*

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797–1848)
4 La Fille du régiment – Overture*

PIOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893)
5–8 Serenade for Strings in C major, Op. 48

Orchestre Lamoureux

PAUL VAN KEMPEN

*FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA

CD 9
PIOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893)
1–4 Suite No. 4, Op. 61 ‘Mozartiana’

Orchestre Lamoureux

GIUSEPPE VERDI (1813–1901)
5–14 Messa da Requiem (beginning)

CD 10
GIUSEPPE VERDI (1813–1901)
1–5 Messa da Requiem (conclusion)

Gré Brouwenstijn, soprano
Maria von Ilosvay, contralto
Petre Munteanu, tenor
Oskar Czerwenka, bass
Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma
Bonaventura Somma, chorus master
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma

RICHARD WAGNER (1813–1883)
6 Tannhäuser: Overture*
7 Der fliegende Holländer: Overture*

Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala
PAUL VAN KEMPEN

*FIRST CD RELEASE ON DECCA

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