Alfred Brendel on Music: Collected Essays

Overview


In this definitive collection of a renowned pianist's writings—some of them never before published in English—Alfred Brendel brings the clarity and originality of expression that characterize his performances to the printed page. Whether discussing Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Liszt, Schoenberg, or other pianists, his reflections will prove invaluable to serious piano players and listeners alike.
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Overview


In this definitive collection of a renowned pianist's writings—some of them never before published in English—Alfred Brendel brings the clarity and originality of expression that characterize his performances to the printed page. Whether discussing Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Liszt, Schoenberg, or other pianists, his reflections will prove invaluable to serious piano players and listeners alike.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Alfred Brendel is not only one of our era’s great pianists; he is a defining presence, who has changed the way we want to hear the major works of the piano repertory. . . . The mix of thoughtfulness and brilliance that irradiates his performances infuses these spirited essays.”  —Susan Sontag

“Alfred Brendel brings the clarity and originality of expression that characterize his performance to the printed page.”  —Book News

“Brendel writes music as a matter of life and death, and that is a wonderful world to be able to step into. . . . There are years of thought and study behind these essays. They cover topics of which he obviously feels passionately and his language does not waiver or equivocate.”  —Foreword

“Forty-one topics, mulled by a master musician, collected for the first time in paperback . . . offer a smorgasbord to thoughtful pianists.”  —Clavier

Clavier
Forty-one topics, mulled by a master musician, collected for the first time in paperback . . . offer a smorgasbord to thoughtful pianists.
Book News
Noted pianist Alfred Brendel brings the clarity and originality of expression that characterize his performance to the printed page.
Booknews
Noted pianist Alfred Brendel brings the clarity and originality of expression that characterize his performance to the printed page. Some of the essays arose from questions for which the available literature did not provide satisfying answers, such as those pertaining to Schubert's piano sonatas, humor in music, the interaction of character and structure, or Beethoven's late style. Others present an overview of Brendel's own endeavors, or special topics such as coping with pianos. Most of the essays were previously published in (1960) and (1990). Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From The Critics
"Piano playing, be it ever so faultless, must not be considered sufficient." Addressed to the Mozart performer, this is Brendel's piece of advice in his first essay. Given that, one could say the famous pianist proceeds in the subsequent forty-one essays to not talk about playing the piano at all. Instead, he writes about "latent musical possibilities" and "sources of bliss." These essays are not technical references for the pianist, nor are they style guides for particular pieces. They are philosophical adventures that attempt to charter the profound subtleties of playing music.

On Schubert, for example: "Is there any other composer who so often tests the limits of intensity? Schubert's music disintegrates into silence as well as violence. Feverish nightmares lead to the brink of madness." On Beethoven's piano sonata opus 111: "What [semplice e cantabile] imply is not ingenuousness or simple-minded sweetness, but simplicity as a result of complexity-distilled experience."

Brendel writes of music as a matter of life and death, and that is a wonderful world to be able to step into. He is careful in his articulation and appreciates how difficult it is to write about music-a form of expression that started when written or spoken words no longer sufficed. There are years of thought and study behind these essays. They cover topics of which he obviously feels passionately and his language does not waiver or equivocate.

Brendel writes about Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert extensively. He devotes ten essays to Liszt and four to Busoni. Other topics include advice on setting a recital program and thoughts on humor in classical music. He also makes a case for live recordings in one essay and in another commiserates about the frustrating temperament of pianos. At the end of the book are transcriptions of three interviews with Brendel.

This book is definitely intended for the initiated pianist, though other instrumentalists will benefit from thoughts on musicality. While most of these essays have been previously published, Brendel has revised, rewritten or corrected many of them for this collection. (January)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556524080
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/1/2000
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 596,397
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author


Alfred Brendel is known for his recordings, international concert appearances, and writings. He has been credited with almost single-handedly rescuing from oblivion the piano music of Schubert’s last years. He was awarded an honorary knighthood in 1989.
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