…few pianists illuminate this music better. With him, even the "heavenly length" of some movements becomes a delight, and you don't want them to end.
An exclusive artist for the Philips label since 1969, Brendel’s discography is now among the most extensive of any pianist, reflecting a repertoire of solo, chamber and orchestral works by the major composers from the central European tradition from Bach through to Schoenberg.
This 114 CD Edition encompasses his complete discography for Philips and Decca and includes studio albums, live recordings and radio broadcasts. The set is accompanied by a 200-page book featuring a note by Brendel’s personal choice of writer, Misha Donat.
Recorded live in 1983, Alfred Brendel's third go-round with these works drastically improves on his previous Beethoven concerto cycles. He finds a calmer, more direct route to the Emperor Concerto, although the Fourth's first movement is still pock-marked with finicky phrase adjustments that pull focus from the music's poetic arcs. Levine provides sympathetic and alert support, yet is much more than a mere deferential accompanist.
Brendel became very much a different kind of pianist to me when he switched from Vox to Philips. In addition, I always felt Brendel's Schubert on Vox was stunning in every respect. Old mono Vox box of his Schubert sonatas that is so wonderful is his conception, so beautifully "Viennese" (for all that word implies) are his interpretations.