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8 Reviews
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5.0 out of 5 stars The hightest level of playing Beethoven
Brendel is a pianist with a truly unique style. Unlike many of his colleagues, he presents Beethoven with a very fresh attitude. I completely agree with the reviewer below me who said he is always 'just right.' Sure, when you compare Brendel to someone like Pollini or Ashkenazy, pianists with supreme power in their fingers, he might sound a bit strange or dry at first...
Published on Oct. 30 2003 by hjonkers

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2.0 out of 5 stars Not one of my "favourite" CDs
While Alfred Brendel is very popular, and said to be very good, and this CD set has many of the more famous Beethoven sonatas, this CD is terrible. The only reason I gave this two stars was because of the number of famous sonatas. Brendel's playing itself, however, is so unbelievably mechanical and "dry," I don't know how anyone can like him. He uses no pedal,...
Published on Dec 4 2000 by K. Thompson


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5.0 out of 5 stars The hightest level of playing Beethoven, Oct. 30 2003
By 
hjonkers (The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beethoven: Favourite Piano Sonatas (Audio CD)
Brendel is a pianist with a truly unique style. Unlike many of his colleagues, he presents Beethoven with a very fresh attitude. I completely agree with the reviewer below me who said he is always 'just right.' Sure, when you compare Brendel to someone like Pollini or Ashkenazy, pianists with supreme power in their fingers, he might sound a bit strange or dry at first. But when you start to listen more carefully, and try to get more into the music, you will understand that Beethoven's music, being so intense itself, simply doesn't need that amount of power and density. What really is required is knowledge of the music, a lot of detail, and brightness. Brendel has it all. He is so much into the music that he can make every note speak for itself. How could anyone say he lacks emotion? No way! There's nothing but emotion here! Brendel is like the architect who manages to restore an ancient building having suffered a lot of superfluous changes over the years, in its original form. His Appassionata is the perfect example. Those anti-musical people who dismiss this disc might say 'Oh my, what a dull thing'. In fact, this recording is extremely thoughtful and serious. Even Pollini's Appassionata, whom I admire greatly, does not show the same level of understanding as Brendel's. The other sonatas inside this set are also way beyond criticism. I'm not saying I don't like fast-and-furious Beethoven (I'm very eager to hear Stephen Kovacevich's 32): I just think Brendel's Beethoven is the very best. Buy these two discs, or his complete digital cycle, which is even better!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brendel plays Beethoven better than anyone., June 1 2001
This review is from: Beethoven: Favourite Piano Sonatas (Audio CD)
Some musicians have an almost spooky connection with certain composers. Bohm and Mozart, Jochum and Bruckner, Ashkenazy and Chopin, Sawallisch and Richard Strauss-- these are a few ideal pairings in my collection. And Alfred Brendel is the undisputed master of Beethoven's piano sonatas. During the stereo and digital eras, Brendel has *lived* in the Beethoven 32. He breathes them, speaks them, eats and drinks them. No performer I know of has explored the 32 with such insight and intelligence. Brendel doesn't exaggerate or rush, prettify or pound. His beautiful touch allows each note to sing, as his fingers strike each key in a way that makes me think, "Just right." Just as impressively, Brendel understands and handles the architecture of each piece with breathless command. Barenboim may be more passionate, Ashkenazy more the virtuoso-- but among current pianists, Brendel is the greatest interpreter of Beethoven. We are so fortunate that he is alive in our times, and I'm sure another time will look back on him as the equal to Kempff, Backhaus, Fischer, and Arrau. If you can't afford to buy the complete digital set, then try this excellent selection of the "name" sonatas. Brendel's "Pathetique" avoids all crudity and self-indulgence. His "Waldstein" is a poem. His "Moonlight" steers clear of the predictable. In some ways, these versions are superior to his later efforts, for they exhibit a certain freshness of attack. From these selections, one may not realize that Beethoven was very witty, even humorous, at the keyboard, and Brendel's own quirky personality and curious mind have always brought out those qualities in Beethoven as well. But whether you're experiencing the entire 32, or just these famous pieces, you'll find no better guide than the Austrian of the goofy glasses and wispy hair.
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5.0 out of 5 stars With So Many Choices, A Clear Best-in-Show, Oct. 22 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Beethoven: Favourite Piano Sonatas (Audio CD)
So, why this one, with so many out there? Well, if you are a pianist, you'd know that even if you've mastered one of these sonatas, it is difficult to have so many of them up to a 5-star standard. Horowitz' Appasionata is absolutely amazing! Rubinstein, late in his career, did such incredible things with the late sonatas. Barenboim's Moonlight will make you weep. Ashkenazy's Waldstein has the power it deserves. Murray Perahia makes the early sonatas sing!
But Brendel knows Beethoven. He knows him better than all of these others combined. There is never an unBeethovenian mannerism, never a pause for effect not-intended, never a dynamic misplaced, a peddle-point missed, a trill given more attention than it deserves. This is "thinking man's Beethoven". (It bears some resemblance to Wilhelm Kempf's, but Brendel's sense of rhythm is better.) You will listen to the first 30 bars of Moonlight and think, "Well, where's the bravura? where's the beef?", and then after 60 bars you'll think again -- "how could it possibly be played in any other way?" And, after you've gotten the other recordings out of your system, you'll think the same of virtually all the selections.
I won't throw out my Horowitz -- the students need to hear it. And I think I'd say the same of the earlier Barenboim recording. But for the rest -- after you own this one, you can dispense with them -- you've got all that you need.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable for any Beethoven lover., Jan. 13 2001
By 
This review is from: Beethoven: Favourite Piano Sonatas (Audio CD)
This was the first Beethoven disc that i heard, and it really touched me. This music is so filled with and arduous sense of tragedy, yet it conveys the essence of Beethoven: expressing feeling through music. These performances so beautifully demostrate the incalculable genius of the composer. Any beginer should be very satisfyed with this Duo Disc. An excellent value for money. The playing is of high standard, excellent i must say in the case of the Pathetique and Waldestein sonatas. Also, its important to mention that the performances are in a very german matter. The only stepback is the sound, which in the Appassionata is dry and opaque. All in all, indispensable.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not one of my "favourite" CDs, Dec 4 2000
This review is from: Beethoven: Favourite Piano Sonatas (Audio CD)
While Alfred Brendel is very popular, and said to be very good, and this CD set has many of the more famous Beethoven sonatas, this CD is terrible. The only reason I gave this two stars was because of the number of famous sonatas. Brendel's playing itself, however, is so unbelievably mechanical and "dry," I don't know how anyone can like him. He uses no pedal, which I had never heard before on a Beethoven CD, and have concluded that it sounds horrible. The only reason someone would buy this would be to at least have one, fairly cheap, copy of the famous Beethoven sonatas.
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1.0 out of 5 stars not recommended, March 16 2001
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This review is from: Beethoven: Favourite Piano Sonatas (Audio CD)
Very disappointing recordings from the 70's. Some odd choice of tempo from Brendel; the Adagio Cantabile from the Pathetique seems to drag with heavy accompaniment while some passages of the Rondo are so fast that in combination with mediocre sound quality they lose clarity. The Andante of the Appassionata is spoiled by an urgency rendering the final Allegro movement relatively less dramatic. Also the subjects in the Allegro do not sing out as they could - just listen to Barenboim's recording. Not recommended even if you are on a tight budget. Try Barenboim or Ashkenazy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Samples, April 27 2000
By 
"kv581" (Durham, NC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beethoven: Favourite Piano Sonatas (Audio CD)
The music on this CD actually comes from Brendel's set of complete Beethoven piano sonatas. If you do not want to spend tons of money (the Brendel set is currently $127.77(4-26-00)), and you only want the most popular sonatas anyway, then these two CDs are ideal for you. Seven named piano sonatas are represented here, and each one of them is a winner. Also, the recorded sound of the piano is clear despite its age. Buy this double CD for a quick and painless introduction to Beethoven's celebrated piano sonatas.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good Bargain, Feb. 15 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Beethoven: Favourite Piano Sonatas (Audio CD)
For the price, this CD set offers fine playing all around. Don't expect any great insights or revelations, though. These are nicely thought-out, middle-of-the-road performances from Brendel that are perhaps a bit bland but quite solid for the most part. If you need performances with a little more panache, try Artur Schnabel, Sviatoslav Richter, or even Maurizio Pollini.
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Beethoven: Favourite Piano Sonatas
Beethoven: Favourite Piano Sonatas by Ludwig Van Beethoven (Audio CD - 1993)
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