Music Monday: Wilhelm Kempff and Valentina Lisitsa

This week has been a super busy one. I have spent almost all my time packing for and then actually moving into a new apartment. Normally, this wouldn’t be such a huge deal for me, except for the fact that about a month ago, I injured my knee and have been doing physical therapy to help treat it, so carrying stuff from a third story apartment and shoving it into a moving truck was a bit trickier this time around.

Now, as I sit in our new place surrounded by boxes that need to be unpacked, I find that I am in need of a little comfort music. Obviously, the type of music I listen to at times like these depends on the mood I’m in, my desire for nostalgia, and how self indulgent I’m feeling. Today, I find myself turning to an old classic, Moonlight Sonata.

I know, I know, everyone knows this song, it’s horribly overplayed and found on every single crap classical music compilation CD ever known to man. I know this, because my dad owns every single one of them.

My favorite version of the first movement, which is the one that is probably most familiar, is a performance by Wilhelm Kempff. I won’t bore you by recounting a bunch of facts about Wilhelm Kempff that you can easily find on Wikipedia; suffice to say, he was a really good pianist. This is one of those performances where you get as much out of watching the performer as you do listening to the music. His playing is quiet, subtle and spreads over you like a balm. Take a moment and have a listen.

I feel so much better after listening to this that I have the energy to take on listening to the third movement. For this one, I turn to Valentina Lisitsa. But wait, what about the second movement? you say. I’m skipping that one for now, because I don’t necessarily have a favorite version of it, and either Kempff or Lisitsa will do depending on the mood I’m in. Lisitsa’s playing is astounding because of her ability to perform with almost perfect technical precision without sounding like a robot. Her fingers run like clockwork, yet she sounds fluid and always performs musically instead of just playing notes as fast as she can. Her style of playing lends itself well to the third movement of this piece. Notice the fun little fact in the caption from this video, saying that both Kempff and Lisitsa recorded Beethoven years apart in the same hall.

Exciting stuff! I feel ready to take on some boxes!

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2 thoughts on “Music Monday: Wilhelm Kempff and Valentina Lisitsa

  1. Not sure if you can say that dad owns every single one anymore…much of his cd collection got trashed. That’s what happens when they get left in boxes outside on the patio under a tarp for three years. Very sad.

  2. sophistikatie says:

    Truly, a great loss for humanity. Luckily, he gave me tons of duplicates that he bought, so it’s not a total wash.

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