Given that, one could say the famous pianist proceeds in the subsequent forty-one essays to not talk about playing the piano at all. They are philosophical adventures that attempt to charter the profound subtleties of playing music. Feverish nightmares lead to the brink of madness. Brendel writes of music as a matter of life and death, and that is a wonderful world to be able to step into.
From memories of recording in ice-cold mansions to a moving essay on his fading hearing, this is an eloquent volume from a formidable intellect. At the age of 78, he had decided he would retire gracefully from the platform in the manner and at the time of his choosing. But there was never doubt that this great pianist would go on writing, talking and thinking about music. Seven years later he has produced a collection of essays and lectures — a distillation of his thinking about music over several decades. Not all performing artists are eloquent about their art. Alfred Brendel most certainly is. He writes as a pianist, with all the practical and musical insights that come from more than 60 years of playing at the highest level.
After the war, Brendel composed music, as well as continuing to play the piano, to write and to paint. However, he never had more formal piano lessons and, although he attended master classes with Edwin Fischer and Eduard Steuermann , he was largely self-taught after the age of sixteen. Brendel gave his first public recital in Graz at the age of However, he gave up composing shortly after this to concentrate on the piano. At the age of 21, in , he made his solo first recording, Franz Liszt's Weihnachtsbaum that work's world premiere recording.
British Broadcasting Corporation Home. Sean Rafferty presents a selection of music and guests from the arts world. View full schedule.
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