kempffs favorite piano transcriptions

Kempff’s Favorite Piano Transcriptions: An Introduction

Wilhelm Kempff was a renowned German pianist and composer known for his exquisite touch and delicacy in piano playing. Born in 1895, Kempff showed immense talent in music from an early age and went on to establish himself as a leading pianist of his time.

One of Kempff’s lesser-known contributions to the world of music is his interest in piano transcriptions. He enjoyed transcribing music from other instruments and composers, often creating his piano versions of well-known pieces. Here, we’ll explore some of Kempff’s favorite piano transcriptions and see what makes them so unique.

What Are Piano Transcriptions?

Before diving into Kempff’s favorite transcriptions, let’s take a closer look at what piano transcriptions are. A piano transcription is when a musician transcribes a piece of music originally created for another instrument or ensemble, such as a symphony or string quartet, and creates a version specifically for the piano.

Piano transcriptions can provide an opportunity for pianists to interpret and reimagine well-known pieces of music in a new way.

List of Kempff’s Favorite Piano Transcriptions

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7

One of Kempff’s favorite transcriptions was of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. Kempff recreated this well-known classical piece into a piano transcription, allowing him to showcase his unique interpretation and musicality on the keyboard.

Kempff’s transcription of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 captures the energy and grandeur of the original while adding his own personal touch. It is an excellent piece for pianists looking to push their abilities and challenge themselves.

Bach’s Chorales

Bach’s Chorales were also a favorite of Kempff’s, and he incorporated them heavily into his repertoire. Kempff’s take on these well-known pieces adds a level of intimacy and depth to the intricate melodies.

Kempff’s transcription of Bach’s Chorales provides an opportunity for pianists to explore the nuances of each piece’s melody and harmonies. These transcriptions are excellent for those looking to improve their skills or simply enjoy the beauty and complexity of Bach’s music.

Schubert’s Lieder

Kempff also transcribed Schubert’s Lieder, a collection of songs composed for voice and piano. In his transcriptions, Kempff brings out the melodies’ emotions and beautifully captures the essence of Schubert’s original compositions.

Kempff’s transcription of Schubert’s Lieder is an excellent way for pianists to explore the nuances of each piece and embrace the beauty of these timeless melodies.

Richard Wagner’s Music

Lastly, Kempff had a great love for Richard Wagner’s music and often transcribed the master composer’s work, including his operas. Kempff’s Wagner transcriptions showcase his virtuosity and artistry, capturing the emotion and grandiosity of the original pieces.

Pianists looking to explore Wagner’s music can rely on Kempff’s transcriptions to provide a unique and intricate way of experiencing the composer’s work.

How Kempff’s Piano Transcriptions Can Benefit Pianists

Kempff’s transcriptions can benefit pianists of all levels. By playing these pieces, pianists can explore and develop their interpretation and expression skills while also studying the original work’s intricacies.

Kempff’s transcriptions also offer a unique chance to experience original works in a new way, allowing pianists to interpret pieces differently than they may have sounded on another instrument or in another ensemble.

Another benefit of exploring Kempff’s transcriptions is that it allows pianists to take advantage of Kempff’s unique musical style and artistry while also expanding their repertoire and exploring new composers.


In conclusion, Wilhelm Kempff’s piano transcriptions offer a unique and intricate way of experiencing classical music through a pianist’s lens. His love for transcribing pieces from other instruments and composers showcases his virtuosity and musicality while also providing a fresh and exciting way of rediscovering familiar works.

Kempff’s favorite transcriptions, including Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, Bach’s Chorales, Schubert’s Lieder, and Wagner’s music, are excellent pieces for pianists of all levels to explore, learn, and expand their repertoire.

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