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Deeply felt and masterful, Kempe's performance of Ein Heldenleben at the 1974 Prom concert was described by the critic Joan Chissell as winning him "a hero's ovation and rightly." She wrote that "no one now before the public is better able to transform Strauss from a plebeian into an aristocrat."
The performance of Dvořák's New World's Symphony one year later, received equally glowing reviews, and is an illuminating and compelling rendition of Dvořák's most popular symphony. "The New World is hardly a work where on expects new revelation, yet with Kempe that is exactly what happens. The dynamic range is extreme but unforced, from shattering fortissimi down to pianissimi of breathtaking delicacy, conveying a rapt intensity, poignantly reflecting the emotions of Dvořák in American exile" (Edward Greenfield).