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[Alfred Brendel]

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[ Biography | Concerts | Selected Recordings | Recent Releases | Brendel's Beethoven | Essays | Interviews ]


[Essay Excerpts]

[Picture of Brendel Studying a Score]
[Picture Credits]

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"A Case for Live Recordings"
"Coping with Pianos"
"Edwin Fischer: Remembering My Teacher"
"Furtwängler"
"Liszt Misunderstood "
"A Mozart Player Gives Himself Advice"
"Notes on a Complete Recording of Beethoven's Piano Works"

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In addition to his activities in the concert hall and recording studio, Alfred Brendel weds his love of music with an interest in literature through musical essays which often appear in his concert programmes, recording liner notes, and lectures. To date, two volumes of his collected writings, Musical Thoughts & Afterthoughts and Music Sounded Out, have been published. True to the original spirit of Montaigne's Essays -- from the French, essayer, or "to try" -- Brendel regards his literary efforts in much the same light as his musical journeys: as "work-in-progress", constantly evolving and renewing themselves. Brendel himself writes in the original Preface to Musical Thoughts & Afterthoughts:

Those who look for contradictions will be amply satisfied. The profession of a performer is full of paradoxes, and he has to learn to live with them. He has to forget himself and control himself; he has to observe the composer's wishes to the letter and create the music on the spot; he has to be part of the music market and yet retain his integrity. ...None of my writings presumes to be the last word on anything.

Of necessity the seven selections featured in these pages are only brief glimpses into the sustained inquiry and argument carried out by Brendel in his writing. It is hoped that the small disservice of portioning his thoughtful constructions into little "Web-bytes" -- in a manner admittedly too much like newspaper headlines and television soundbites -- will serve to spur the curious to read and delve further.

[Cover of Musical Thoughts & Afterthoughts] Both volumes of his essays are published in the US by The Noonday Press and are available in paperback editions. For reference the full contents of both books are given below (though only the present essays will be featured in these webpages as a sample).
[Cover of Music Sounded Out]

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Musical Thoughts & Afterthoughts

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Music Sounded Out
  • A Mozart Player Gives Himself Advice
  • Must Classical Music be Entirely Serious?
    • The Sublime in Reverse
    • Beethoven's Diabelli Variations
  • The Text and its Guardians
    • Notes on Beethoven's Piano Concertos
  • Beethoven's New Style
  • Schubert's Last Sonatas
  • Testing the Grown-Up Player: Schumann's 'Kinderszenen'
  • The Noble Liszt
  • Liszt's 'Années de pèlerinage' I and II
  • Liszt's B minor Sonata
  • Liszt's Bitterness of Heart
  • Busoni's 'Doktor Faust'
  • Furtwängler
  • A Case for Live Recordings
  • On Recitals and Programmes
  • Two Interviews
    • Bach and the Piano (with Terry Snow)
    • On Schnabel and Interpretation (with Konrad Wolff)

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"A Case for Live Recordings"
"Coping with Pianos"
"Edwin Fischer: Remembering My Teacher"
"Furtwängler"
"Liszt Misunderstood "
"A Mozart Player Gives Himself Advice"
"Notes on a Complete Recording of Beethoven's Piano Works"

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[ ALFRED BRENDEL ]
[ Biography | Concerts | Selected Recordings | Recent Releases | Brendel's Beethoven | Essays | Interviews ]
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