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After Alfred Brendel and Beethoven- now what?

July 19, 2010

I’m not the greatest Beethoven admirer, I’ll admit. But there are a few pieces that always make me ask- what can possibly come after that??

Alfred Brendel is one of the best interpreters of Beethoven. To me he finds just the right approach between sinking himself into the music on an emotional level- but he’s one of the most brilliant musicians out there who won’t shy away from approaching a piece of music intellectually without mercy. I realize know how lucky I was to seen him in concerts over 10 years ago in Berlin- because now Alfred Brendel retired and boy, if you have seen him and experienced him in concert, you know that the world is going to miss him.

His recording of the Appassionata is one such example. One could let emotion take over and it could become a big mess of runaway freight train. It doesn’t.

The end of the 3rd movement of Beethoven’s Appassionata is one of the most beautiful lines of music ever written.

From 7:20 on- Heaven opens up and goes way beyond that.

I’ve heard a number of pianists go there in rapid fire accelerando. Brendel doesn’t. He stays within the tempo and keeps it and that is what makes it heartbreakingly passionate.

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