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11.11.04

Kapell Recordings Surface

Available from Amazon:

William Kapell Box Set
William Kapell Box Set
This article by Daniel J. Wakin (The Found Treasures of a Great Pianist, November 10) in the New York Times was so exciting that I had to call home from my office to read it to my wife over the phone:
When the 31-year-old pianist William Kapell, one of the last century's great geniuses of the keyboard, was killed in a plane crash in 1953, he was returning from a concert tour in Australia. Now, a cache of privately made recordings from that tour has surfaced, a find that music lovers are calling an incalculable treasure, given Kapell's legendary status and dozen-year flicker of a career.
The whole story is well worth your reading time. The long and short of it is that there are three hours of new live concert recordings of this remarkable pianist, including some pieces of which there were no recordings in existence: Prokofiev's Seventh Piano Sonata, Debussy's Suite Bergamasque, Mozart's K. 570, Chopin's Barcarolle and Scherzo in B minor, and "a spectacular version of Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 3, although an earlier, inferior live performance was briefly on the market."

I became obsessively familiar with Kapell's playing because my wife wrote her M.A. thesis on him (William Kapell: A Performance History), which she undertook because of her friendship with members of the Kapell's family here in Washington. Tim Page, the music critic at the Washington Post, also wrote a book with lots of good pictures and information (although its rarety now has driven up its price at Amazon).

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