Alfred Brendel / Charles Mackerras / Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

The Farewell Concerts

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For his last pair of concerts in a 60-year-long career, Austrian pianist Alfred Brendel went out with a superlatively chosen selection of some of his favorite works by some of his favorite composers, most of whom, unsurprisingly, were also Austrian. There are pairs of works by Mozart: the Piano Concerto in E flat major, K. 271, and Piano Sonata in F major, K. 533; Beethoven: the Piano Sonata in E flat major, Op. 27/1, and Bagatelle in A major, Op. 33/4; and Schubert: the B flat major Sonata, D. 960, and Impromptu in G flat major, D. 899/3; as well as single works by Haydn: the Variations in F minor, Hob. XVII:6; and finally, inevitably, Bach: the choral prelude Nun komm' der Heiden Heiland, BWV 659, in Busoni's arrangement. Each work had long been in Brendel's repertoire, and his familiarity, one might even say his sense of identity, with each is complete. Yet Brendel is anything but routine; indeed, he seems as filled with life as his interpretations are filled with new insights. In his career, Brendel went from super virtuoso to poet, and back again, but here his performances are much more on the poetic side, though no less technically accomplished. With rich colorations, flexible tempos, soulful phrasing, and apparently indefatigable energy, the older, wiser Brendel finds things in these scores that the younger, more fiery Brendel missed. There's sly wit in his Beethoven sonata, irrepressible humor in his Mozart concerto, loving tenderness in his Schubert sonata, and a peace that surpasses understanding in his Bach chorale prelude. With the kindly sympathy of Charles Mackerras and the Wiener Philharmoniker in the Mozart concerto and lushly detailed sound from Decca, this disc will surely thrill Brendel's fans.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Piano Sonata No. 13 in E flat major, Op. 27/1
1 4:46
2 2:00
3 3:04
4 6:30
Piano Sonata in B flat major, D 960
5 15:17
6 9:09
7 4:05
8 9:18
9 3:32
10 6:15
11 5:44
blue highlight denotes track pick