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Schubert: Piano Sonatas Nos.9,18,20, & 21 [Live]

Alfred Brendel Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Alfred Brendel studied piano, composition and conducting in Zagreb and Graz, and completed his piano studies with Edwin Fischer, Paul Baumgartner, and Edward Steuermann. His international career began after winning a prize at the 1949 Busoni Competition and he now performs regularly at the world's major musical centres and festivals. He was the first pianist to record ... Read more in Amazon's Alfred Brendel Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (15 Jan 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B0000544G7
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 55,375 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Piano Sonata in G major, D894
2. Piano Sonata in B major, D575
Disc: 2
1. Piano Sonata in A major, D959
2. Piano Sonata in B flat major, D960

Product Description

Put out the flags: Alfred Brendel is 70, and this birthday release makes the nicest possible tribute. All the world loves Schubert's great B flat major sonata, and it's far too often committed to CD, but Brendel predictably finds new things to say in this atmospheric--with coughs, sneezes, out-of-tune top notes--live recording. Nothing dramatically different, just a hint of rubato now and then, and a wonderfully measured pace throughout. But the other three sonatas on this double CD are a revelation. They are not often played: their meandering forms and awkward angularities have led many critics to write them off as "unpianistic"--a point Brendel has rebutted in print--and their extraordinary evenness of texture represents a forbidding challenge to interpreters. Yet here they emerge as magnificent. Schubert's penultimate sonata has a slow movement which normally defies all attempts to extract a coherent stream of thought--its hypnotic theme disintegrates into chaotic violence--but Brendel welds its truncations and dislocations into a massive and serene unity. His poetic image of Schubert skirting the precipice "with the assurance of a sleepwalker" is exact: I've seldom been so riveted. --Michael Church

Product Description

2CD ...959,960/W/Alfred Brendel-Piano

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Live performance 16 Feb 2009
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Everything the Amazon reviewer Michael Church writes about these two discs is true, but do not be put off by his mention of coughs and sneezes. They are few - and nothing in comparison with the sense of rapt silent attention that comes across. The balance of sound is superb, the playing magnificent and the interpretations masterly, Brendel at his best. If you are able to sample try the last movement of the great D960 B Major sonata, a rondo that whirls and wheels & stops and starts again. It is like watching those flocks of starlings on the Somerset levels. Brendel has an incomparable sense of the 'top dead centre' of each theme, where it peaks and tips and connects back into the movement.
Let's hope the DVD of Brendel currently available in the States will be released here.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brendel Is Still A Great Schubert Interpreter 20 July 2001
By John Kwok - Published on
Format:Audio CD
These live performances are rich in tension and lyricism. Although they sound quite vibrant, they don't lack at all the richness in tone you'd expect from well-balanced studio recordings. Brendel's latest traversal of three of Schubert's sonatas is as refined as his classic recordings in the 1970's, yet there is a bit more warmth, if not exuberance, evidenced in these performances. And he plays just as warmly in his performance of the D575 sonata, which he hasn't recorded before. Long-time admirers of Alfred Brendel's exquisite playing will definitely want to add this superb 2 CD set to their collection.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brendel in concert 2 Dec 2005
By klavierspiel - Published on
Format:Audio CD
These performances of four Schubert sonatas are taken from live concerts by Alfred Brendel in England, the Netherlands and Germany. All four display the pianist's typical technical control and interpretive thoughtfulness, with an added intensity from the presence of an audience (though there is little if any intrusive noise). Perhaps the prize of this two-CD set is the G major Sonata D. 894; the rapt intensity of its long Molto Moderato first movement, the lyricism of the Andante, and the charm of the Minuetto and final Rondo have never been conveyed better in a superbly balanced performance. The other three sonatas, while of course excellently played, are not quite on this level; the first movement of the great posthumous A major D. 959 is exciting but lacks the magisterial poise of Brendel's studio rendition, while the accelerated coda of the Rondo finale somehow fails to whip up the requisite excitement of the long journey concluded. Brendel's Scherzo of the posthumous B-flat sonata D. 960 (Schubert's final piano work) catches the "delicatezza" of the tempo mark perfectly, but the finale is slightly untidy. Most interesting for Brendel fans is his only recording of the earlier B major Sonata D. 575, which remains a slightly disjointed effort from the composer despite many incidental charms and ravishing playing from the pianist in the slow movement. Still, this is a collection that will repay many listenings, in common with all of Brendel's work.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unmissable accounts 28 Nov 2008
By G.D. - Published on
Format:Audio CD
Brendel has recorded most of this works before - the only new addition being the relatively early and quirky D575. This time, he relies on live recordings taken from several different venues.

The G major D894 is one of my personal favorites, and Brendel gives us as usual a subtly nuanced, fluent reading. One might object to the fact that he drops the first movement repeat, but I don't think of this as a serious loss. The A major D959 - perhaps the most convincing performance in the set - is remarkably cogently argued; there's a continuity and a structural roundedness of a kind I have rarely encountered in Schubert sonata playing (and the Schubert sonatas can easily sound a little rambling in lesser hands). Similarly sweeping is the account of the B flat major D960. In sum, Brendel' main strength is his penetrating understanding of the architecture of these works, and he understands this so thoroughly that he also has time to investigate and give character to the delicate details along the way.

There are places (e.g. in the finale of the D894) where the most challenging technical parts make him hesitate and stumble a little, but it does not at all detract from the overall impression. These are unmissable readings.

Sound quality is very good. It is possible to discern the fact that these are live-recordings, but they are remarkably well-balanced.
5.0 out of 5 stars Alfred Brendel - live joyfulness and romantic mood in Schubert sonatas 10 April 2013
By P. Adrian - Published on
Format:Audio CD
Schubert was central to Alfred Brendel's repertoire since the early days of his longish and prestigious performing career. Year by year, the legendary Austrian pianist seemed to deepen his insights when it came to Schubert and refine his means by fresh inspiration to approach this wonderful musical realm. A well-balanced touch and deeply heart-felt way of playing entered the stage in Brendel's Schubert recordings and his live performances. The latter unfolded in addition - due to their unitary conception and realization - a rich world of feelings and ideas conjured up on spot, much inspired in their mood and carefully chiseled on their sound side.
This twofer gathers four live recordings of Brendel comprising Schubert sonatas, achieved between 1997 and 1999 in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London and Aldeburgh. If A major (D 959), B flat major (D 960) and G major D 894) sonatas are here nothing but some valuable repeats, the B major one (D 575) is a new entry in his recorded repertory.
All in all, this release is a welcome pretext to celebrate and enjoy Brendel's masterful craftsmanship in his dearest musical realm.
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