Alfred Brendel: The Farewell Concerts | CD review

Alfred Brendel's last live recordings show him to be one of the supreme pianists of our time, writes Nicholas Kenyon

Alfred Brendel quit while he was, magisterially, ahead. These CDs from farewell concerts in Vienna and Hanover include one concerto and a complete solo recital and show Brendel as one of the supreme pianists of our time. The deliberately un-virtuosic repertory carries an almost unbearable inwardness of feeling: that quintessential Brendel mixture of intellect and emotion balances Haydn's double variations with ideal poise. Some of the faster movements may be a little brittle, but at the heart are the slow movements, particularly of the Mozart concerto (beautifully accompanied by Mackerras) and the last Schubert sonata: here, and in the final Bach encore, the superbly crafted and projected lines are stretched to infinity, glimpsing eternity.

Nicholas Kenyon

The GuardianTramp

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