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Joined: Jun 2001
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An excerpt from an upcoming interview in Gramophone magazine, full of characteristic wit and wisdom, and a brief tribute from protegee Imogen Cooper.

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"I once wrote a poem in which Beethoven murders Mozart in order to take full possession of the key of C minor."

I love this guy!


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i learned about Brendel only when i started to learn to play myself several years ago, and bought his Beethoven sonata CDs. i did finally see him playing live earlier this year in Cleveland as part of his final concert tour. he's still very fit and plays well at this age, incredible.

thanks for the articles!

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...yes, thanks for the articles, yok.

Like signa, I discovered Alfred Brendel and indeed Franz Schubert - properly - only recently, last year in fact, when I returned to the piano at the age of 56. But, what a discovery! Alfred Brendel is, for me, the world's No 1 concert pianist; indeed, this enigmatic, highly intelligent man is so much more than a pianist. He has championed primarily the German/Austrian repertoire over the years and is the authority on Schubert.

I have tried to compensate for all those 'lost' years by seeing Brendel three times this year in Germany - twice in Hamburg and once in Flensburg. I saw him for the final time only last week when he played Mozart's 'Jeunehomme' concerto K271 with the SWR Baden-Baden symphony orchestra. I will never forget this and the other concerts for as long as I live.

Appropriately, Alfred Brendel will make his two final appearances in Vienna tomorrow and Thursday, when he will play the 'Jeunehomme' with the Vienna Philharmonic under Sir Charles Mackerras - now that's going to be special!

As it said on the program cover last week... 'Danke Alfred Brendel'


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Yes his schubert is indispensable. Do not miss his Haydn CD. He is one of my favorite pianists.

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Quote
Originally posted by signa:
i learned about Brendel only when i started to learn to play myself several years ago, and bought his Beethoven sonata CDs. i did finally see him playing live earlier this year in Cleveland as part of his final concert tour. he's still very fit and plays well at this age, incredible.

thanks for the articles!
I'm curious, what did he play?


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Daniel's citation above is great, about Beethoven murdering Mozart to co-opt the key of c minor. I'd really like to read the full poem.

This is my favorite citation from the interview:
Quote
I have always felt actors to be an inspiration. On stage, they have to turn into a character, to impersonate many different characters: I feel they are my colleagues. Some musicians do not appear to have thought about it, or maybe it is not taught that you cannot sit there starting the Moonlight Sonata with a smile on your face.
I was arguing in these threads, a year or so ago, that young pianists and their teachers ignore stage demeanor and deportment to their peril. This quote gives a little weight to my case.

Tomasino


"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10

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Mind if I intrude?

I have heard a number of Brendel recordings, including some Beethoven, Schubert, Stravinsky, Mussorgsky, and Liszt, and I found them terrifyingly dull.

Am I alone?


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Originally posted by Fleeting Visions:

Am I alone?
no

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Originally posted by Fleeting Visions:
Mind if I intrude?

I have heard a number of Brendel recordings, including some Beethoven, Schubert, Stravinsky, Mussorgsky, and Liszt, and I found them terrifyingly dull.

Am I alone?
No... but I rather think in the minority. smile


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Quote
Originally posted by Ridicolosamente:
Quote
Originally posted by signa:
[b] i learned about Brendel only when i started to learn to play myself several years ago, and bought his Beethoven sonata CDs. i did finally see him playing live earlier this year in Cleveland as part of his final concert tour. he's still very fit and plays well at this age, incredible.

thanks for the articles!
I'm curious, what did he play? [/b]
he was playing Beethoven piano concerto 3, pretty good except, as i remember, the 2nd movement a little more percussive rather than singing legato.

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Quote
Originally posted by Fleeting Visions:
I have heard a number of Brendel recordings, including some Beethoven, Schubert, Stravinsky, Mussorgsky, and Liszt, and I found them terrifyingly dull.

Am I alone?
Yes and no, Daniel, my good mate. Brendel's writings would lead one to believe that he's superior as a pianist in any of his selected repertoire. But I have not found that to be the case with either his recordings or live performances.

Some years ago I attended an all Schubert recital with Brendel. It was rather a bore, the closing D784 having a very perfunctory, frustrating finish.

Why anyone would do an all Schubert recital is frankly beyond me... the music -as great as some of it is- simply lacks enough variety (Wanderer Fantasy excepted...but that's not primo Schubert, is it?) to sustain interest throughout a whole recital.

Everyone goes hog-wild over the great, grand depths of the slow movement in Schubert's D959, but do we need to go through it again in the D960? They would frankly cancel each other out. Schubert's precious profundity gets cloying the moment he overstays his welcome.

Lightning strikes once, and I can think of no other great composer whose major works are best taken one at a time.


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Here is an article about Brendel's upcoming final performance.


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Quote
Originally posted by Fleeting Visions:
Mind if I intrude?

I have heard a number of Brendel recordings, including some Beethoven, Schubert, Stravinsky, Mussorgsky, and Liszt, and I found them terrifyingly dull.

Am I alone?
I only really understood why he was considered so wonderful when I finally heard him live. My response to his recordings up until then was pretty variable, when none really exciting me. But even live, many people don't "get" his playing, even if they respect it. I think you have to be a certain kind of listener with a certain kind of musical interest to really hear what he does. Had I heard him live in my twenties or thirties, I probably would have reacted much as you do. Anyway, once I found the wavelength he was operating on, I realized he was one of the handful of truly great living pianists. He actually changed my concept of what you can communicate through music, and it's been extremely rare for a performer to do that for me since my early years. But I totally understand why people may not agree.

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Quote
Originally posted by Ridicolosamente:
"I once wrote a poem in which Beethoven murders Mozart in order to take full possession of the key of C minor."

I love this guy!
That's funny, I was just about to use that quote for the opposite effect!

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Quote
Originally posted by Fleeting Visions:
Mind if I intrude?

I have heard a number of Brendel recordings, including some Beethoven, Schubert, Stravinsky, Mussorgsky, and Liszt, and I found them terrifyingly dull.

Am I alone?
Absolutely you are not. Listening to his Beethoven sonatas makes baby Jesus cry.

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I happened to aurally assimilate Beethoven's piano sonatas via Brendel's first Philips cycle. Although it's no longer my absolute favorite Beethoven sonata cycle (for now that goes to Kovacevich's), I still think it's very solid. It's also interesting to compare how his interpretations changed from work to work when he recorded the cycle again for Philips.

As for baby Yahshua (a.k.a. "Jesus") and his pathétique, I mean pathetic tiny tears -- well, I'm agnostic, so such matters don't matter much to me!


Die Krebs gehn zurucke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.
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Quote
Originally posted by Janus Unrepentant Scrooge:
I happened to aurally assimilate Beethoven's piano sonatas via Brendel's first Philips cycle. Although it's no longer my absolute favorite Beethoven sonata cycle (for now that goes to Kovacevich's), I still think it's very solid. It's also interesting to compare how his interpretations changed from work to work when he recorded the cycle again for Philips.

As for baby Yahshua (a.k.a. "Jesus") and his pathétique, I mean pathetic tiny tears -- well, I'm agnostic, so such matters don't matter much to me!
Agnostic = a + gnostic = without knowledge

Not something I'd personally want to label myself as. Using the modern usage, it seems to me that if one is agnostic, one wouldn't be sure whether one would want to commit oneself to a position regarding Yahshua or anything religious.

At any rate, I didn't mean to offend anyone with the baby Jesus comment.

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Quote
Originally posted by Iain:
Using the modern usage, it seems to me that if one is agnostic, one wouldn't be sure whether one would want to commit oneself to a position regarding Yahshua or anything religious.
Which is why I said that it doesn't matter much to me. I'm of the "don't know, don't care" school of agnosticism.


Die Krebs gehn zurucke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.

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