Author Topic: Alfred Brendel  (Read 6235 times)

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Offline B_cereus

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Alfred Brendel
« on: March 03, 2009, 03:28:03 PM »
anyone else watching the Culture Show special on Alfred Brendel on BBC2 now? :)


Offline aquablob

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Re: Alfred Brendel
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2009, 05:28:28 PM »
anyone else watching the Culture Show special on Alfred Brendel on BBC2 now? :)



No but he's terrific, isn't he?

Frumaster

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Re: Alfred Brendel
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2009, 02:46:41 PM »
anyone else watching the Culture Show special on Alfred Brendel on BBC2 now? :)



BBC2?  I only get about 70 stations...I am so deprived!  If you're interested in Brendel though, there is an excellent documentary on youtube "The Man and The Mask".  I loved it, and I have ordered his book of music essays too.  My only criticism of Brendel is that his performances are colored by his intellectual side.  But all pianists color their performances in some respect.  At least his is admirable.

Bulldog

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Re: Alfred Brendel
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2009, 02:51:50 PM »
My only criticism of Brendel is that his performances are colored by his intellectual side. 

But that's an intrinsic part of his musical identity.  Take it away, and I don't know what would be left.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2009, 02:57:14 PM by Bulldog »

Frumaster

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Re: Alfred Brendel
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2009, 03:07:32 PM »
But that's an instrinsic part of his musical identity.  Take it away, and I don't know what would be left.

Oh I agree.  But some pianists are more emotionally driven, spontaneous....some are more earthy.....others just imitate, etc, etc.  I love Brendel, but he does add a very identifiable signature to the music that some people find difficult to appreciate.  Those who label his playing as bland or dull (criticisms I hear often) usually have not paid attention to nuance, and are more easily swept away by more bombast pianists.  That is not to say that anyone who dislikes Brendel is a dumb brute...they are entitled to their opinion.  However, I think understanding the man and the music first of all increases the odds of one liking Brendel.  There is a thick layer of Brendel-ness on top of his playing that becomes more and more transparent as you learn more.

Offline B_cereus

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Re: Alfred Brendel
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2009, 03:11:49 PM »
they recently released a boxset of the complete young Brendel recordings on Vox etc last year


Frumaster

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Re: Alfred Brendel
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2009, 03:21:02 PM »
they recently released a boxset of the complete young Brendel recordings on Vox etc last year



Got it!  I have been making my way through various CDs from the set.  The early 60s recordings on Vox (mostly Beethoven sonatas) have surprisingly good sound quality....I am very drawn to them.  The Mozart is charming....all the concertos suffer, however.  Theres just so much in the set that its hard for me to give my full impression.  If you have any specific questions I'd be glad to answer them. 

Offline mark4mich

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Re: Alfred Brendel
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2009, 07:33:21 AM »
Anyone have any thoughts on the Brendel Box set on Brilliant, early recordings on 35 cd's?

Dr. Dread

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Re: Alfred Brendel
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2009, 07:46:54 AM »
It's on my wish-list. Now there's a thought.  ;D

nut-job

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Re: Alfred Brendel
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2009, 08:08:54 AM »
It's on my wish-list. Now there's a thought.  ;D

Sure thing, Minnesota Bob.

Renfield

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Re: Alfred Brendel
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2009, 09:04:09 AM »
I have it. Wrapped. Since Christmas. It's too big!

(How's that for a slightly post-structuralist thought?)

Frumaster

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Re: Alfred Brendel
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2009, 11:04:35 PM »
I have it.  I am a Brendel fanatic, so my review is going to be slightly skewed  ;D 
The piano sound quality is surprisingly good!, but it suffers on the concertos.  I'm not a fan of concertos in the first place, but the sound fails to capture the orchestras.  Something about the mix of piano with orchestral music that just sounds inherently wrong to my ears.  Its like a bastardization of solo piano and symphony...the two forms have aesthetic qualities that don't go together. Obviously I haven't been able to listen to everything yet.  There are still about 10 cd's I haven't ripped yet (including the Beethoven concertos).  Anyway, the Schubert, Mozart, and Beethoven are particularly excellent on this set.  There's a freshness to the interpretations that makes them interesting.  If you are familiar with the more recent Brendel, they will have even more charm to them.  I'm not sure how many definitive recordings you'll find here, but I challenge anyone not to enjoy the set.

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Alfred Brendel
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2009, 11:29:47 PM »
I'm not tempted. He may be very good to be heard live in concert (I've attended some Schubert recitals ranging from very good to great) but more often than not my reaction to his recordings has been "Hmphf..."

jlaurson

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Re: Alfred Brendel
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2009, 05:33:34 AM »
I saw Brendel play Haydn 3 years ago and it was unsurpassed for me. I knew then that I needed this set.

...and you are lucky, because it's, if not his only so at least one of the very, very few, recordings where Brendel approaches and nearly reaches his live performances. If you only knew Brendel from his recordings, you'd never know why he's considered great, at all. The subtle wit and the intuitive grasp of architecture and presentation... it's all lost on recordings and it's (it was) unmissable in concert.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Alfred Brendel
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2009, 06:33:04 AM »
...and you are lucky, because it's, if not his only so at least one of the very, very few, recordings where Brendel approaches and nearly reaches his live performances. If you only knew Brendel from his recordings, you'd never know why he's considered great, at all. The subtle wit and the intuitive grasp of architecture and presentation... it's all lost on recordings and it's (it was) unmissable in concert.

Are you talking generally -- or is your point that his live Haydn was something else?

He was outstanding in the concert hall sometimes, though I never saw him play Haydn.

I remember an excellent Diabelli Variations in Edinburgh, for example.

Some of the live recordings seem to me to capture the moment quite well. Like his live Diabellies, for example.

And I would say that he's pretty good sometimes in the studio -- some of the Schubert, Haydn, his recent Mozart PC22 and 17 with Mackerras. I could go on.

Shame we don;t have him live in Haydn, as far as I know.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2009, 06:38:12 AM by Mandryka »
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jlaurson

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Re: Alfred Brendel
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2009, 06:34:36 AM »
I agree he;s good live.

But do you like his live recordings?

I can't think of any that I have, except his Winterreise with Goerne, which is fine. Was some of that Mackerras Mozart recorded live?

George

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Re: Alfred Brendel
« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2009, 06:35:47 AM »

Offline Martin Lind

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Re: Alfred Brendel
« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2010, 03:06:48 PM »
they recently released a boxset of the complete young Brendel recordings on Vox etc last year



My first impression is very good too. I like ( and heard especially) the Beethoven piano sonatas. They are very fine and I heard almost anything. I was also very impressed by Liszt b minor. The concertos are let down by rough orchestral playing but I liked Beethoven's concertos 3 +4, less so 1st, 2nd and 5th and the Liszt concertos. I was less impressed by the Mozart, Brendel gets quite often not so good support.  But this is a marvelous set, for example with many works of Beethoven, like the variations and the bagatelles not in my collection before. You must be a snob if you miss this wonderful set.

imperfection

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Re: Alfred Brendel
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2010, 11:42:58 PM »
My current piano professor at the University of Victoria School of Music was a student of Brendel's -- and she just told me an anecdote about him today in class, when she was talking to me about how all of us performers, whether pianist or not, had some difficulty  overcoming pressure on stage some point in our lives. She said once he was playing a Schubert sonata in a recital, and in the first movement, after the development section, instead of proceeding to the recapitulation, for some really strange reason, perhaps slip of mind, forgot to transpose the 2nd theme back to the home key-- and ended up playing the exposition section once again  :o (after repeating it once already!) So he had to somehow make his way back to the development section, which ends on the dominant harmony of the home key of the overall movement, and redo the re-transition all over again. He was really, really mad at himself afterwards! He had been playing that particular sonata all his career.

« Last Edit: November 09, 2010, 11:45:22 PM by imperfection »

Offline Octo_Russ

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Re: Alfred Brendel
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2010, 05:24:05 AM »
I love Brendel's Schubert, i think he is the king of the piano in this field, and his Beethoven is great too.

The problem i have with him is that he took such a narrow path in the Classical repertoire, only really the German / Austrian area he covered, very little Bach and Chopin, and no French Composers, i really wonder what he could have done with a lot more Brahms solo music.
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