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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Merseyside
It's a shame Brendel has not recorded more Bach, for, as this recording shows, he has both the mental clarity and the deftness of touch that characterises some of the great modern interpreters. His Italian Concerto is wonderfully fluid, his Chromatic Fantasia thrilling and intense. Yet the real gems on the disc are the two Busoni transcriptions of Bach choral preludes for...
Published on 9 Aug 2001

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars HIPster Wars - News from the Bach Front - Communiqué 86
Bach addresses a higher order of things. He appeals to our aspirations to live a more sanctified life - whatever that means in practice. Could one suggest that a pianist who nails Scriabin should equally evoke cosmology from the Cantor of St Thomas'? I suggest so. Both offer escape-velocity from the mundane. That's why I abhor Leonhardt's Bach: it's the dustiest of...
Published 1 month ago by Bernard Michael O'Hanlon


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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Merseyside, 9 Aug 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Brendel Plays Bach (Audio CD)
It's a shame Brendel has not recorded more Bach, for, as this recording shows, he has both the mental clarity and the deftness of touch that characterises some of the great modern interpreters. His Italian Concerto is wonderfully fluid, his Chromatic Fantasia thrilling and intense. Yet the real gems on the disc are the two Busoni transcriptions of Bach choral preludes for the organ. Here Brendel plays with a magical solemnity that I have yet to hear matched on any recording of these works. My only criticism (and hence only the four stars) is Brendel's tendency to 'over-pedal' to the extent that on more than one occasion the detail and finesse of his playing seem to get lost in a haze.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars HIPster Wars - News from the Bach Front - Communiqué 86, 10 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Bach, J.S.: Italian Concerto etc (Audio CD)
Bach addresses a higher order of things. He appeals to our aspirations to live a more sanctified life - whatever that means in practice. Could one suggest that a pianist who nails Scriabin should equally evoke cosmology from the Cantor of St Thomas'? I suggest so. Both offer escape-velocity from the mundane. That's why I abhor Leonhardt's Bach: it's the dustiest of algebra.

Some ascribe greatness to Brendel's Bach-recital from the Seventies. I dissent. OK, the recording is excellent. Bach's polyphony clearly appeals to Brendel the Brainiac: that much is clear - but he struggles to make it sound anything more than Chopin with a twist of counterpoint (this is especially true of BWV 922). Blame it on the pedal and the primacy of his right hand; and of course, Uncle Alfred is less mystical than a bum-waxing salon.

Furthermore, upon comparing his Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue with Kempff's equivalent from June 1969 (Bach, Beethoven, Schubert), it's apparent that the usual Brendel-ism is in play: temperance. It's so tiresome and predictable. In the hands of the old Prussian bootlegger, BWV 903 is a work of extraordinary menace and numinosity. Much the same could be said of `Ich Ruf Zu Dir, Herr Jesu': Kempff plays it with an exquisite degree of tension. With Brendel, they sound like an ode to Downtown Abbey - and don't tell the vicar! The Italian Concerto lacks the zest of Gould or Richter: it's the Night of the Dampened Emotions.

Whereto from here? Bangkok Betty has my cattle prod. It has been in her possession for some time - and from what I hear, it's been getting a work out. It's time to retrieve it. Brendel needs an application. "My kingdom for a zap!"
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Bach, J.S.: Italian Concerto etc
Bach, J.S.: Italian Concerto etc by Alfred Brendel (Audio CD - 2009)
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