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Alfred Brendel: Farewell Concerts turn to Black Magic

img  Tobias

While the world wept over his exit from the stage, Alfred Brendel was anything but nostalgic. New jobs and new challenges were awaiting him – something his job as a Concert Pianist may no longer be able to offer him. As it seems, he was at first reluctant to document a single one of his departure-gigs, as revealed when speaking about „The Farewell Concerts“: „It was always to be suspected that the concerts in Vienna were going to be recorded by Austrian Broadcasting. I was, however, at first opposed to a recording of the Piano recital in Hannover and only relented in the very last moment. Now, I'm happy that the results have been compiled. Maybe their main message is that it was right to end in time, when my control of playing hadn't as yet suffered and when there was still something to add to my interpretations of the pieces. And I've fruitfully courted Mozart's Sonatas KV 533/494 as well as the slow movement of KV 271 as it seems.“

Indeed Mozart is the focal point of „The Farewell Concerts“. Alfred Brendel presents early and mature works and counterpoints them with pieces by colleagues who either influenced the composer or who reacted to his oeuvre with their own work: Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert. On both the Vienna-performance and the Hannover-concert, he is supported in his endeavours by the Wiener Philharmonikern under the batton of Sir Charles Mackerras – an open fan of Bendel, whom he refered to as an „allround musical genius“. By inviting Mackeras, Alfred Brendel consciously opted for a kindred spirit, turning these „Farewell Concerts“ into „Friends Concerts“ as well.

As mentioned in the first paragraphy, Brendel is not going to spend his retirement idly. Next to giving master classes and lectures, he has playfully established himself as a poet. A collection of his lyrical work, „Spiegelbild und schwarzer Spuk“ („Mirror image and black magic“) has been published and he has already organised readings, on which he was supported by befriended colleague Pierre-Laurent Aimard. He may no longer be touring the world, but it is certainly not yet time to say goodbye for Alfred Brendel.

Homepage: Alfred Brendel
Homepage: Decca Classics

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