Alfred Brendel / Artist's Choice 4782638

[Weber / Konzertstück]: The opening pages of Alfred Brendel's 1979 recording with Abbado and the LSO are lovingly sculpted. The piano entry and restatement of the theme are beautifully poised, the skittering runs before the "Allegro passionato" section have exactly the right wistful, improvisatory air, Abbado lets the woodwind sing above the piano's bubbling semiquavers, and Brendel observes every accent and "staccato" marking in a way that few do. Likewise, few conductors in this piece catch their soloist, as Abbado does, with such unerring precision in the "tutti" entries . . . the finale -- uninhibited and exuberant but never superficially flashy -- comes as a surprise, not least the great whoosh he gives to the two "glissandos".

C'est un grand cru brendélien ["Hammerklavier"], irrésistible d'allure, de construction, de détermination, à la mesure du grand oeuvre beethovénien.