from a concert held at the Zweisimmen Church during the
Menuhin Festival in Switzerland in August, 2015)
bought my ticket to Knauer's concert (Tribute to Wilhelm
Kempf) without knowing anything about either Knauer or
Kempf and discovered two amazing musicians. Stumbling
over a remarkable musician you had never heard of is such
a joy. I had no idea who Wilhelm Kempf was (so much in
music passed me by during my scientist years) nor Sebastian
Knauer but you only have to listen to Knauer play for
a few minutes to realise that he is one of a kind.. His
playing sent me into a different dimension and I immediately
went off to find out more about both he and Kempf.
are both from Hamburg (I studied there and still love
the place), Knauer was something of a child protegy and
Wilhelm Kempf was a renowned interpreter of Beethoven.
So my ears had not deceived me; this was something special.
have a feeling that Knauer must have learned from Kempf
because during his performance of Beethoven in the evening
it felt as if he was channelling the composer. He took
us by the hand and led us on an emotional journey and
you could have sworn Beethoven was in the room. I suppose
that is how Kempf must have played and I was reminded
of a piano teacher I knew in Hamburg who traced his lineage
directly back to Mozart through a series of teachers.
That sort of pedigree does make a difference.
Knauer has the build of a sportsman and his playing is
muscular while at the same time delicate and nuanced.
the concert in Zweisimmen Church he played mostly Beethoven
for the first half then included several Schubert pieces
in the second. Two hours of playing to an audience that
was captivated from the first moment and which gave him
a heartfelt standing ovation. There were several piles
of his CDs available to purchase and every one was sold.
I think that is the first time I have seen that happen
and the audience was not particularly large. I bought
his Schubert compilation so, like many, I am taking a
little bit of Knauer home with me.