Paul van Kempen - the Complete Philips Recordings

Paul van Kempen - the Complete Philips Recordings cover
$85.00 Low Stock add to cart

Paul van Kempen - the Complete Philips Recordings
Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker [Berlin Philharmonic], Paul van Kempen

[ Decca Australian Eloquence / 10 CD Box Set ]

Release Date: Friday 7 February 2020

Should this item be out of stock at the time of your order, we would expect to be able to supply it to you within 2 - 4 weeks.


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 Gr 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 Bachs 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 Kempens vivid contrasts of tempo and sure dramatic grip were much admired. In a perceptively-written booklet essay, music historian Niek Nelissens 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. 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 [Tchaikovskys 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)

"this is an outstanding issue. […] Van Kempen and the Berlin orchestra do indeed play the work in a wonderfully sensitive manner" (Gramophone on Beethoven Symphony 3)

"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 reissue of the Month June 2020


Weber: Oberon Overture
Verdi: La forza del destino Overture
Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana Intermezzo
Lohengrin, WWV 75 / Act 1 - Prelude
Lohengrin, WWV 75 / Act 3 - Prelude & Bridal Chorus

Tansman: Isaiah, The Prophet:
1. Chapter XVII
2. Chapter XXVII
3. Interlude 1
4. Chapters XII and LIV
5. Fuga
6. Interlude 3
(with Cornelis Kalkman, tenor)

Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann / Act 4 "Belle nuit, ô nuit d'amour"
(with Gré Brouwenstijn, soprano, Lidy van der Veen, mezzo-soprano)
Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann / Act 1 "Les oiseaux dans la charmille"
(with Erna Spoorenberg, soprano)
Les Contes d'Hoffmann / Act 3 "Scintille diamant miroir"
(with Theo Bayle, baritone)

Gounod: Faust, CG 4 / Act 2 "Avant de quitter ces lieux"
(with Theo Bayle, baritone)

Meyerbeer: Dinorah, ou Le pardon de Ploërmel / Act 2 "Ombre légère"
(with Erna Spoorenberg, soprano)

Weber: Oberon, J. 306 / Act 2 "Ozean! Du Ungeheuer!"
(with Gré Brouwenstijn, soprano)

Suppe: Die schöne Galathée "Ja, Wenn die Musik nicht wär!"
(with Erna Spoorenberg, soprano)

Strauss, J, II: Die Fledermaus: Act 2 "Mein Herr Marquis"
(with Erna Spoorenberg, soprano)

Verdi: Aida / Act 2 "Gloria all'Egitto"
(with The Netherlands Opera Choir)

Verdi: Nabucco / Act 1 "Gli arredi festi
Verdi: Nabucco / Act 3 "Va, pensiero, sull'ali dorate"
(with The Dutch Opera Choir)

Verdi: Rigoletto / Act 2 "Ah! Solo per me l'infamia...Piangi fanciulla"
(with Theo Bayle, baritone, Erna Spoorenberg, soprano)
Verdi: Rigoletto: Act 3 "La donna è mobile"
(with Frans Vroons, tenor)

Verdi: Il Trovatore / Act 4 "Misere d'un alma quel suon, quel prezzi... Ah! che la morte ognora"
(with Gré Brouwenstijn, soprano, Frans Vroons, tenor)

Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana "Voi lo sapete, o mama"
(with Gré Brouwenstijn, soprano)

Leoncavallo: Pagliacci / Act 1 "Vesti la giubba"
(with Frans Vroons, tenor)

Puccini: Tosca / Act 1 "Recondita armonia"
(with Frans Vroons, tenor)
Puccini: Tosca / Act 2 "Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore"
(with Gré Brouwenstijn, soprano)

Leoncavallo: Pagliacci / Act 1 - Intermezzo

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 'Pathétique'
Tchaikovsky: Romeo & Juliet - Fantasy Overture
Tchaikovsky: Marche slave, Op. 31
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64
Tchaikovsky: Capriccio italien, Op. 45
Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, Op. 49

Schubert: Marche Militaire, D733 No. 1
Strauss, J, I: Radetzky March, Op. 228
Mendelssohn: Hebrides Overture, Op. 26
Rossini: Guillaume Tell - Overture
Brahms: Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80
Brahms: Hungarian Dances, WoO 1 Nos. 1-21 [9 dances]
Berlioz: Benvenuto Cellini Overture

Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 'Eroica'
Beethoven: Consecration of the House Overture, Op. 124
Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92
Beethoven:Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93

Reger: Hiller Variations, Op.100

Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream Overture, Op. 21 Overture
Rossini: Guillaume Tell - Overture
Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia - Overture
Donizetti: La Fille du Régiment - Overture

Tchaikovsky: Serenade for strings in C major, Op. 48
Tchaikovsky: Suite No. 4 in G major, Op.61 'Mozartiana'

Verdi: Requiem
Oskar Czerwenka (bass), Petre Munteanu (tenor), Gré Brouwenstijn (soprano), Maria von Ilosvay (contralto)

Wagner: Tannhäuser - Overture
Wagner: Der fliegende Holländer - Overture

Paul van Kempen Complete Philips Recordings on Eloquence Classics 656 views•20 Dec 2019