Alfred Brendel

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Belle
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Alfred Brendel

Post by Belle » Sun Apr 16, 2017 1:53 am

This afternoon, to hose down ubiquitous Easter family tensions, I've been listening to Alfred Brendel's Farewell Concert with the Vienna Philharmonic recorded in the Musikverein in 2009. My new sound equipment is throwing up all his grunting, singing and other unwelcome noises big time. He's playing Beethoven and Schubert but the gratuitous noise is nearly unbearable.

On the program:

Beethoven: Sonata #13 E Flat Major, Op. 27 No 1
Bagatelle in A Major, Op. 33
Schubert: Sonata in F Flat Major, D960
Impromptu G Flat Major, D899
Bach/Busoni: Chorale Prelude, "Nun komm der Heiden Heiland"

lennygoran
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Re: Alfred Brendel

Post by lennygoran » Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:31 am

Belle wrote:
Sun Apr 16, 2017 1:53 am
I've been listening to Alfred Brendel's Farewell Concert with the Vienna Philharmonic recorded in the Musikverein in 2009. My new sound equipment is throwing up all his grunting, singing and other unwelcome noises big time. He's playing Beethoven and Schubert but the gratuitous noise is nearly unbearable.
Belle I wonder if there are any examples of this on YouTube-I never saw or heard Brendel live but noise from the pianist talking would be very annoying-is he known for that? I was watching this you tube of him and it seemed his lips and/or face was at times a little active but I never heard any talking sound? Happy Easter. Regards, Len


John F
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Re: Alfred Brendel

Post by John F » Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:05 am

It sounds like Glenn Gould you're describing rather than Alfred Brendel. I went to all the concerts in his last Beethoven sonata cycle in New York, had a good seat in the orchestra, and heard nothing of the kind from the platform. Incidentally, after giving what he said would be his last performance of the Hammerklavier sonata, because of back problems, Brendel gave a little skip as he left the stage, as if to say, "I'm free at last!" :)

You say the Vienna concert was with the Vienna Philharmonic but the program you list is all solo piano music. What did the orchestra play?
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Re: Alfred Brendel

Post by maestrob » Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:43 am

I'm happy to say that I've acquired both the set pictured below (the Phillips recordings) as well as the earlier Vox/Vanguard set; I'm about half-way through, and no grunting or vocalization to be heard so far. Perhaps he was in pain from a bad back during your concert, but I can safely say that this is decidedly not an issue as far as I've heard in Brendel's performances.

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John F
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Re: Alfred Brendel

Post by John F » Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:24 pm

Even though Brendel's last Beethoven cycle for Philips originated in concert performances, any incidental noises from the audience or the player would have been edited out one way or another. It would be interesting to hear the recording Belle is complaining about, but as far as I can tell, none of it has been uploaded to YouTube.
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Belle
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Re: Alfred Brendel

Post by Belle » Sun Apr 16, 2017 1:13 pm

There were obviously two concerts in that 'farewell' because one complete CD is solo piano and the other (I never listen to) has the Mozart D Minor Concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic. I also have a recording of Brendel from the 1980s of the Italian Concerto and you can hear grunting and humming noises in that too. A deceased friend of mine was a broadcaster on our national ABC-FM network (John Stafford, for you Aussies!) and he talked about Brendel's extraneous noises during performances as far back as the 80s when he was putting this music to air. We did talk about this. Strange to say, my double Philips CD of the late piano sonatas of Beethoven from Brendel does not carry such noises as I was only listening last night to Op. 109 and 110 and following with the score. (This music is to-die-for isn't it!!! One keeps coming back and back to it. Last night's listening was inspired by the Argerich/Kovacevich documentary, which I posted on another thread, where his daughter talked about her father's great love of Beethoven.)

I have fairly high end audio and can even hear Kleiber making a humming noise during that Dresden recording of "Tristan und Isolde" - but nothing like Brendel. Also, on a recording of French piano music (can't remember the musician) recorded in London I can hear brakes sounding from the street!! I think it was recorded in a church. Piano stool creaking noises have also been heard during recordings.

Lance
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Re: Alfred Brendel

Post by Lance » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:12 am

Yes, I have been digging into this set myself. While I had many of Brendel's original recordings on Philips, this one was far too good to pass up. The stunning booklet, in itself, is a prize in this package. I have the Brilliant set of all Brendel's Vox/Turnabout and Vanguard recordings as well and it, too, is a treasure of his earliest years. If you have both of those sets, you have nearly the full musical life of one of our greatest still-living pianists. Highly recommend this set to all pianophiles.

On another note, and having listened to countless Brendel recordings on relatively high level equipment and have never noticed any extraneous human sounds emanating from the pianist. (They were, of course, as John Francis noted, very apparent in Glenn Gould's recordings).

I would like to add that of all of Brendel's recordings of Schubert's complete Impromptus, for me, none was ever better than the Vox recording made a bit after his tutelage with the legendary Edwin Fischer, who also played Schubert in an unforgettable manner. Brendel's piano tone and sensitivity of expression in those remarkable pieces was, IMHO, never re-addressed again.

maestrob wrote:
Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:43 am
I'm happy to say that I've acquired both the set pictured below (the Phillips recordings) as well as the earlier Vox/Vanguard set; I'm about half-way through, and no grunting or vocalization to be heard so far. Perhaps he was in pain from a bad back during your concert, but I can safely say that this is decidedly not an issue as far as I've heard in Brendel's performances.

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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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Belle
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Re: Alfred Brendel

Post by Belle » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:07 am

Tonight there's a thunderstorm creating havoc and after a morning of Verdi's "Otello" in all its incarnations with my musical friends I'm seeking solace and refuge in this - played by Brendel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ln99yU7WNr0

I'm getting to the stage in my life where I have regular musical 'excursions' like everyone else; trying out this, listening to that, tasting something else. But I return 'home' to Bach and Beethoven every time; they are the bedrock, the fountainhead, oxygen, water. I never - repeat never - stop being thankful.

jbuck919
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Re: Alfred Brendel

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:58 am

I realize that this is now an old thread, but there is no such key as F flat major. The D960 is in B-flat major. :)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

diegobueno
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Re: Alfred Brendel

Post by diegobueno » Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:03 pm

And it's a darn good thing there's no key of F flat major.
Otherwise Max Reger would have felt obliged to use it.

Belle
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Re: Alfred Brendel

Post by Belle » Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:13 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:58 am
I realize that this is now an old thread, but there is no such key as F flat major. The D960 is in B-flat major. :)
Typo! I make lots of them, and now the "s" isn't working on my keyboard. Worse and worse.

I'm not the only one! Brendel makes a slip on his keyboard in the Fantasia and Fugue just after 2 minutes!!

jbuck919
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Re: Alfred Brendel

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:49 pm

Belle wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:13 pm
jbuck919 wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:58 am
I realize that this is now an old thread, but there is no such key as F flat major. The D960 is in B-flat major. :)
Typo! I make lots of them, and now the "s" isn't working on my keyboard. Worse and worse.

I'm not the only one! Brendel makes a slip on his keyboard in the Fantasia and Fugue just after 2 minutes!!
Brendel was not a perfect pianist. Years ago I heard a radio broadcast of him playing live the not particularly difficult Haydn Sonata in E-flat (the later, not the earlier one). It was embarrassingly bad. No, I mean really. At the time I could have played it better, and in fact did.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Belle
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Re: Alfred Brendel

Post by Belle » Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:59 pm

Those bandages on his fingertips!! Priceless. Brendel has always been dear to me.

Anyway, this next isn't half bad!! It's playing through my house as I write this - while my husband rustles up some breakfast at the other end of it. Every now and then he comes into my office to see what I'm up to and shortly will announce that the food is ready. "THIS is my food", I'll tell him:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtCBH6XWauo

Life's good!!

barney
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Re: Alfred Brendel

Post by barney » Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:17 pm

diegobueno wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:03 pm
And it's a darn good thing there's no key of F flat major.
Otherwise Max Reger would have felt obliged to use it.
:lol: :lol: :lol:

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