Alfred Brendel: The Farewell Concerts - Brendel

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Alfred Brendel: The Farewell Concerts - Brendel

Brendel
Int. Release 02 Nov. 2009
2 CDs / Download
CD 0289 478 2116 8 DH 2


Track List

CD 1: Alfred Brendel: The Farewell Concerts

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
Piano Concerto No.9 In E Flat, K.271 - "Jeunehomme"

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
Piano Sonata No.15 in F, K.533/494

Alfred Brendel

Total Playing Time: 1:11:19

CD 2: Alfred Brendel: The Farewell Concerts

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
Piano Sonata No.13 in E flat, Op.27 No.1

Franz Schubert (1797 - 1828)
Piano Sonata No.21 In B Flat, D.960

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
7 Bagatelles, Op.33

Franz Schubert (1797 - 1828)
4 Impromptus, Op.90, D.899

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750)
Alfred Brendel

Total Playing Time: 1:09:48

So is this a worthy memento of a great artist? Definitely . . . [the CD set] presents Brendel the supreme artist. He probes and shapes his core repertory . . . with enviable elegance and ease, and a heavenly lack of show . . . the youthful Mozart concerto is satisfyingly crisp, thoughtful too . . . Brendel takes his Haydn seriously, and the emotional delicacy brought to the music is exquisite. Pensive beauty equally characterises his Mozart slow movement (Sonata in F, K 533) and Schubert¿s rolling andante in the B-flat major sonata, D 960 . . . these performances . . . represent the mature Brendel at something close to his best.

The deliberately un-virtuosic repertory carries an almost unbearable inwardness of feeling: that quintessential Brendel mixture of intellect and emotion balances Haydn's double variations with ideal poise . . . at the heart are the slow movements, particularly of the Mozart concerto (beautifully accompanied by Mackerras) and the last Schubert sonata: here, and in the final Bach encore, the superbly crafted and projected lines are stretched to infinity, glimpsing eternity.

This is a wonderful tribute to the artistry of a great musician, Alfred Brendel¿s final recital and final concerto . . . the Haydn is shot-through with numerous observations without delay to one of Haydn¿s most demonstrative outbursts of emotion; the Mozart sonata is of ineffable poise and searching. This is followed by a mercurial account of the Beethoven, rugged, profound and truculent. The recording is vivid and close, and also captures the keen attention of the audience in a positive way, enough to preserve all manner of "noises" that are so representative of Brendel¿s involvement with the music. In Schubert¿s ultimate Sonata, there is a fluidity, maybe the single finest performance he has ever given of it, fluid and volatile, utterly convincing . . . and visionary in the latter stages of the first movement¿s development section. The rest of the performance is just as compelling, spontaneous, Brendel seeming to play with the discovery of first-love yet one imagines too the unburdening of someone who knows that he has nothing to prove and who can enjoy his final concert encounter with music that has been a lifelong companion. Rarely has the finale sounded so joyous. There follow three encores, no mere Bagatelle this piece of Beethoven, a Schubert Impromptu loaded with significance, and a Bach/Busoni Chorale Prelude that is simply sublime; as a final solo, it is perfect . . . [Mozart]: a delight, capturing the youthfulness of the outer movements without ever being glib and bringing extraordinary intensity to the slow movement . . . The concerto is as tangibly recorded as the recital.

There is much to glory in here. His Schubert, for instance . . . throughout there's the sense that Brendel understands every aspect of Schubert's late masterpiece [the final sonata], has pondered it deeply, but the result is anything but ponderous. It starts so naturally it's as if you walked in on his performance, mid-stream, so to speak . . . Listening to the Impromptu, and the way he picks the melody out of the air, it's impossible to remain unmoved . . . The performance [of Mozart¿s Piano Concerto no. 9] is unhurried but not in any way sluggish, and the slow movement is utterly glorious . . . here is so much to admire throughout these two discs: his Mozart sonata is another treasure . . . There is greatness to be found in every bar of these two discs, and that goes not only for the music but the musician too.

Brendel is renowned as a polymath and he leaves an extraordinary legacy, not just in the form of his writings and recordings but also in his pupils . . . the spontaneity of these live performances is utterly compelling and it is hard to conceive of a more successful farewell: there is certainly no evidence of failing powers. This is a fitting tribute to one of the greatest musicians of our time, demonstrating a perfect marriage of heart and mind.

The Mozart Piano Concerto . . . maintains the refined delicacy and fluidity of approach that so often marks Brendel¿s Mozart, crystalline and spirited. It is with a sense of resigned worship that we anticipate his playing of the cadenzas in this concerto, his concise but articulate statements in the solo of what magical intertwining with the orchestra had already achieved. The mystical C Minor Andantino, a breathed recitativo, seems to call on spiritual reserves in the Vienna Philharmonic to plumb the depths of staid melancholy. Conductor Charles Mackerras, though employing a full complement of players, is careful to modulate the "period" sound to intimate something of the Mozart balance of forces, especially between the woodwinds and the keyboard. Pearly play and resonant bravura mark the final Rondeau movement with its 70-bar minuet insertion, an opportunity for Brendel to inject some unwonted warmth into his often cool objectivity . . . The applause expresses 60 years of fruitful service.

. . . an artist of unmistakable sincerity, refined taste, and prodigious technique . . . In a work that so often seems unwieldy in its dimensions [Schubert¿s B flat Sonata], at every juncture Brendel's performance points up Schubert's Olympian grasp of form and proportion. It is a compelling reading of tremendous power and quite unlike any other I know. This performance alone is worth the purchase price of the set . . . These discs form a worthy capstone to the achievements of a distinguished musician . . . his integrity, intelligence, and dedication can only elicit admiration.

Without the slightest hint of sentimentality, Brendel captures the work's sense of cherished innocence . . .

Brendel ist auch heute nach wie vor quicklebendig . . . Das vorliegende Album . . . verströmt erfreulicherweise den Charme historischer Konzertaufnahmen . . . Der Mann hat Stil. Schon der selbstbestimmte Abgang zu einem Zeitpunkt, zu dem noch alles im Lot ist, zeugt davon. Aber auch die souveräne Gelassenheit, mit der er das musikalische Programm angeht, hat echte Klasse . . . So konturiert und klanggeredet hört man Mozarts "Jeunehomme"-Konzert KV 271 sonst kaum je. Und auch Haydns geniale f-Moll-Variationen HOB XVII:6 sowie die Sonaten . . . hört man hier beseelt und frei von jeglicher Effekthascherei.

Noch einmal diese sprichwörtliche interpretatorische Offenporigkeit, dieses unermüdlich staunende Hineinhören in jeden Mikrokosmos musikalischen Erfindens, künstlerischen Genies schlechthin. Mit welch wacher Liebe, mit welcher uneitlen Neugier sucht Brendel auch in seinen letzten Auftritten den intimen Diskurs mit jenen Komponisten . . . die Aufführung ist von musikalischem Witz und gegenseitigem Verständnis beseelt, welche gerade diese beiden "MozartAltmeister" immer wieder zu interpretatorischen Höhenflügen geführt und uns musikalische Glücksmomente beschert hat.

Sein Mozart-Spiel ist im Laufe der Zeit noch kantabler geworden, der Opernkomponist ist stets herauszuhören. So weiß er den tragischen zweiten Satz nun noch nuancierter und farbenreicher darzustellen . . . Die jahrzehntelange Beschäftigung mit jedem Element dieses Werkes ermöglicht es ihm, auch die feinen Zwischentöne im harmonischen Verlauf darzustellen: Jeder Vorhalt, jeder Trugschluss bekommt eine individuelle Farbe . . . Ungleich zarter als früher und sehr überzeugend gelingt ihm auch der Beginn von Beethovens Sonate op. 27 Nr. 1 . . .

Ce qu¿on savoure ici, c¿est la délicatesse du toucher, tout en irisations . . . l¿andantino, poignant par sa candeur et une nostalgie désarmante. Les Variations en fa mineur de Haydn et la Sonate D960 de Schubert sont du meilleur Brendel. Le plaisir de jouer est là, intact, tout comme dans la Sonate Quasi una fantasia de Beethoven.

Le récital est un joyau . . . Captée avec une intimité qui ne nous cache rien, ni de la beauté de l'instrument, ni des grommellements de l'interprète, la partie récital est une suite de moments exceptionnels . . . Ainsi se referme la carrière d'un passeur, véritable exemple de pensée musicale, d'intégrité intellectuelle, de maîtrise sonore, de compétence pianistique, d'esprit artistique.