Rudolf Kempe was a natural Brahmsian whose flair and unalloyed musical knowledge comes through in these splendidly effusive readings that were made in the autumn of his life with the Munich Philharmonic.
If one had to compare these readings with the famous Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra cycle (still available on Testament) one would find a certain slowing of pace but the architectural grandeur of say, #1's Finale comes through most palpably.
I always felt that Kempe conducts the most earth shattering Fourth ever, a clear match to the legendary Karajan from the early 50's and other more illustrious figures besides. The Second symphony is also most beautifully done with a lovely expansive Adagio and a glorious Finale that truly sings the praises of nature.
Although not a prime recommendation as one can not some technical shortcomings from the Munich strings and brass in some places, these two discs definitely will enthuse the Kempe enthusiast and more besides.
Copyright © 2007, Gerald Fenech