Customer Review

42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Brendel, 19 Nov 2009
This review is from: Alfred Brendel: The Farewell Concerts (Audio CD)
For people like me who have followed the career and recordings of Alfred Brendel, this is a wonderful souvenir of his last concerts. Most of us will have been unable to attend them, of course, but the recording speaks for itself. This was a great occasion of a great artist wisely retiring from concert giving while he still had plenty to offer. The performances are spellbinding - just listen to the Schubert - and are full of the joy of music making. You have to put up with many incidental noises from Brendel as he hums along Glenn Gould style, but so what? This is hors concours and a great final memorial to a great artist.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Jan 2010 12:27:05 GMT
A. J. Bell says:
I would like to know EXACTLY what he is playing on these discs!

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Aug 2010 21:13:51 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 Aug 2010 21:20:22 BDT
He plays:

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 9 in E flat, K271 (with the Vienna Philharmonic and the late Sir Charles Mackerras), recorded in Vienna on 18 December 2008

Haydn: Variations in F minor
Mozart: Sonata No. 15 in F, K533/494 (incorrectly listed on the back of the CD as 'no. 9')
Beethoven: Sonata No. 13 in E flat, Op. 27 No. 1
Schubert: Sonata No. 21 in B flat, D960

and three encores:

Beethoven: Bagatelle in A, Op. 33 No. 4
Schubert: Impromptu in G flat, D899 No. 3
Bach (arr. Busoni): Chorale Prelude 'Nun komm' der Heiden Heiland', BWV 659

All the solo items were recorded at a recital in Hanover on 14 December 2008.

This is a wonderful recording and I'm so glad I've bought it. Professional pianists will marvel at the refinement of Brendel's pedalling (it's as clear and economical as though he is playing in a small room) and they will admire his constant sense of projection even within a pianissimo (he doesn't feel that he has to force the sound, as some pianists do when they are playing in a large hall). And Brendel's playing was still developing right through to the end - listen to the extensive decorations which he adds to the return of the theme in the slow movement of the Mozart sonata (entirely in line with current 'authentic performance' ideas). Mozart's K533/494 has been a very special work for me for decades, and this recording by Brendel moved me very much.

I'd particularly recommend this recording to listeners who don't normally admire Brendel, because this 2CD set is particularly fine and could convert them to an appreciation of his artistry. I have dozens of Brendel CDs in my collection but I don't always like everything he does (all the critics have been wildly enthusiastic about his Beethoven concerto set with Rattle - sorry, count my small voice out) but whether one likes his playing or not, few would dispute that his music-making has always been distinctive. This is a truly beautiful set, which leaves the listener contemplating the greatness of the music and the integrity of this unique musician.
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