Search - Felix [1] Mendelssohn, Carl Maria von Weber, Johannes Brahms :: Alfred Brendel 3

Alfred Brendel 3
Felix [1] Mendelssohn, Carl Maria von Weber, Johannes Brahms
Alfred Brendel 3
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Special Interest, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #2

Renaissance man Alfred Brendel remains one of the indisputable keyboard giants of the last several decades, and many a music lover has grown up with his Beethoven or Schubert as a point of departure. Though routinely depi...  more »

      
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Renaissance man Alfred Brendel remains one of the indisputable keyboard giants of the last several decades, and many a music lover has grown up with his Beethoven or Schubert as a point of departure. Though routinely depicted as an archetype of the modern pianist as predominantly analytical and heavily "cerebral" (albeit in a sense somewhat different from that of Maurizio Pollini), Brendel shouldn't be boxed into such easy categories--and much of the artistry represented on his third volume in the Philips series is a case in point. To be sure, Brendel's impressive intellectual candlepower is in ample evidence. Whether it's the richly figured "Variations sérieuses" of Mendelssohn or his invaluable Brahms First Piano Concerto (from 1986)--in fantastic sympathy with Abbado's Berliners--you can almost hear the process of thought translating into feeling in Brendel's phrasing. But there's also a corresponding passion, which grips you by the throat in the first movement of the Brahms and is breathtakingly beautiful in the second. Similarly, Brendel's Chopin (the F-sharp minor Polonaise here) may not seem as outright "poetic" as a more sentimental taste would dictate, but the sinewy, steely sense of structure he builds up conveys a sensuous energy as well. That's above all the case with the Liszt excerpts occupying most of disc 2. Brendel's strong associations with the Hungarian composer go beyond reclaiming a misunderstood talent; though accused at times of "overdoing" Liszt in the sense of taking him too seriously, Brendel actually revels in the gorgeous fabrics of sound from the Années de pèlerinage numbers and somehow balances the muscle-flexing virtuosity of Totentanz with a respect for its novel ideas-there's both surface and substance here. In fact, Brendel can leave you downright giddy with the coruscating peroration of his Hungarian Rhapsody No. 15. The enigmatic, labyrinthine Toccata of the Lisztian heir Ferrucio Busoni makes a perfect envoi, a study in self-reflexive high jinks but one deeply wed to the sensual sonorities of the keyboard. --Thomas May
 

CD Reviews

Brendel and virtuosity
Alex Serrano | Perrysburg, Ohio United States | 11/17/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Brendel and Liszt seem at first glance an odd combination when one thinks of him playing quiet Schubert or Haydn. But in this selection of some live performances, he not only delivers his long aknowledged insight into the true meaning of the printed score, but brings the natural flair needed for this kind of music. His "Obermann" may not be as exciting as the Horowitz 1966 version, but nevertheless it is a reading that pulls the listener into a lengthy communion with the performer. Best of all here is the Busoni which ends the recital. Played at incredible speed and nerve, can any performance be as daredevil as this?"
Tribute to Brendel
Clement | Sydney, NSW, Australia | 01/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"For those who think Brendel is purely a Mozartian with bits of Beethoven here and there, Brendel does show he has the capacity, both musically and technically, to pull off some excellent performances of some of the most difficult Romantic repertoire. The highlight of this CD is the Brahms Piano Concerto no.1, in which Brendel displays an inate understanding of the various nuances of the music. Possibly the most difficult of the 19th century concertos because of its length and awkward hand-positions required, Brendel displays an extremely impressive accuracy and sustains his interpretation throughout the entire piece. This performance is up there with the Curzon of 1962 and the Rubinstein of 1954. The Liszt Totentanz is quite incredible as well, a brisk tempo is sustained and the power and intensity never wavers. Definitely a great set of recordings!"