Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The Genius of Alfred Brendel

I just bought a fancy new stereo - SACD, big amp, monolithic speakers, the whole bit. The sound is great, but for that money it ought to be. I put on the few SACDs that I've bought over the years, the Concertgebouw's new Alpine Symphony puts it through its paces. But the most amazing revelation, strangely, has been a 1991 recording of Liszt's B Minor Sonata by Alfred Brendel. The multiple layers, each at a different dynamic and articulation level, the polyphonic lines emerging from the middle or low register then gradually returning as the phrase runs its course. And, of course, the willingness to lay into the bass register when it's required. It's magnificent stuff, the stereo was worth every penny, but I hope I've something left over for a few more Brendel recordings.

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