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The hightest level of playing Beethoven
on October 30, 2003
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!