Rudolf Kempe conducted this concert just before his death a few months later, but there is certainly no diminishing of faith and spirit in the recordings here. Beethoven's 'Leonora' #3 is informed with the drama and physical energy that one would expect from such a conductor. Kempe's unneringly direct pacing at the beginning of the work creates a palpable amount of nervous tension that is quite untenable, the bubble almost bursts with relief in full orchestral glory!
The same sort of spirit pervades Prokofieff's suite, this is vintage Kempe conducting all with a blustery vision that almost matches any seasoned Russian conductor.
However, the chief glory here is the 'New World', one of the most loving accounts ever recorded and that includes Kertész 'et al'. Each melody is pinpointed with love and the work almost grows on the listener like a remedy from pain. The 'Largo' is wonderfully played, the BBC players are like angels. The Finale is also filled with a wistful nostalgia that cannot fail to thrill. BBC's engineering is well nigh perfect with the remastering producing strong beefy sound. One of the finest issues in the latest clutch of Legends.
Copyright © 2001, Gerald Fenech