Notes and Editorial Reviews
Brendel is imposing on this early Vox reissue.
"Brendel was born in 1931 so these have to be early recordings made when he was in his twenties. In fact it was during the 1950s that his first studio sessions took place. These 1950s mono recordings serve to confirm his stature as a brilliant, authoritative keyboard artist.
Certainly there is commendable command and fiery passion in the young Brendel’s reading of Liszt’s more virtuosic First Piano Concerto coupled with lyricism and poetic finesse. Just listen to the clarity and precision of the quicksilver runs, the double-octave leaps, the glistening arpeggios and the searching qualities of the pianissimo moments in the
quasi adagio section.
Brendel’s virtuosity and poetry also inform his reading of Liszt’s Second Concerto which is less extrovert but no less demanding technically.
Gielen’s accompaniments vary from the so-so to the worthy.
Harmonies poétiques et religieuses comprise ten pieces. Sadly only three are included on this disc. Pity - it would have been so interesting and instructive to have had Brendel’s early thoughts on such pieces from this collection as the wonderful opening ‘Invocation’, and the torment and ecstasy of ‘Pensées des Morts’ both of which, I believe, appeared, additionally, on the original Vanguard recordings - but on another LP than the one on which the above concertos appeared. The lyrical, secular
Cantique d’amour has sweetly flowing romantic
meanderings peaking in passionate demonstrative staccatos. Brendel’s reading has limpid beauty and sizzling ardour. The
Bénédiction de dieu dans la solitude has the peace and serenity of the cloister and, one might imagine, the cool, tumbling splashings of nearby fountains before religious exultations might be heard climaxing within the church.
Funérailles begin in dark solemn majesty with a heavy bass tread
. Gloomy tolling is evident and one might imagine being summoned to the funeral of some mighty personage judging by the volcanic climax.
The sound is quite acceptable for its age if a tad over-reverberant and shrill at times.
Brendel is imposing on this early Vox reissue."
-- Ian Lace, MusicWeb International
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Piano no 2 in A major, S 125 by Franz Liszt
Alfred Brendel (Piano)
Vienna Pro Musica Orchestra
Written: 1839/1861; Weimar, Germany
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