MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Buy through MusicWeb for
£70/73.50/79 postage paid.

Musicweb Purchase button


The Brendel Edition
The Vox, Turnabout and Vanguard recordings
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Piano Concertos 9, 14, 17, 19, 20, 22, 25, 27
Quintet for piano and winds
Music for two pianos
Rondo K511
Sonata K310
Fantasy K396
“Duport” Variations
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Concertos 1-5
Piano Sonatas 1-32
Choral Fantasy
Diabelli Variations
Piano variations and short works
Quintet for piano and winds
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Sonatas D840, 958
Wanderer Fantasy (original and Liszt orchestration)
Moments Musicaux
Drei Klavierstücke
German Dances
Frederic CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Andante spianato et Grande Polonaise Brillante
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
É tudes Symphoniques
Fantasy in C major
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Piano Sonata in B minor
Dante Sonata
Paganini Études
Tre Sonetti di Petrarca
Hungarian Rhapsodies
Late works
Mephisto Waltz
Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881)
Pictures at an Exhibition
Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)
Petrushka Suite
Mili BALAKIREV (1836-1910)
Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951)
Piano Concerto
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Piano Concerto No. 5
Alfred Brendel (piano)
Various orchestras and conductors
Full tracklist at end of review
rec. various locations, 1955-1975. ADD
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 93761 [35CDs: c.39 hrs]
Experience Classicsonline

Next month (December 2008) Vienna will see the final concert given by one of the indisputably great pianists of the century. Alfred Brendel, soloist, accompanist, essayist, lecturer, cultural polymath, will retire after a career spanning more than fifty years. He has illuminated almost every corner of the piano repertoire and worked with some of the finest singers, conductors, instrumentalists and orchestras of our day. He will be greatly missed, and to mark his retirement Brilliant Classics have released this massive compendium (35 packed CDs) of his earliest recordings made on the Vox, Turnabout and Vanguard labels. It’s a bit of a mixed bag and on the whole, while it’s satisfying, it doesn’t reach the heights that Brendel attained in his later readings of most of these works. It’s well worth investigating, though, especially if you have an interest in the artist.
On 21 August 2008 I was lucky enough to catch Brendel’s farewell performance at the Edinburgh International Festival. It was a recital of extraordinary music-making: poetry and power combined in an evening of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, with a couple of encores. These so-called “Habsburg deities” – as the booklet note calls them – dominate this box too, and they are most welcome, though many will be interested in the works that we might be surprised to find in Brendel’s repertoire: the Schoenberg and Prokofiev concertos, for example. At any rate, the sheer volume of music on offer here is pretty staggering: the complete Beethoven concertos and sonatas, together with major chunks of Mozart, Schubert and Liszt, among others.
Brilliant have marketed this set as a window into Brendel’s early career, recordings which “put down a marker” for works which Brendel would become established with in his later years. These recordings are all made between 1955 and 1975, before Brendel was snapped up by Philips and, to be blunt, before he had matured into the artist we know so well. It doesn’t take much to deduce, then, that these readings tend not to be as polished or insightful as those he later recorded with Philips. It doesn’t help that this is effectively admitted in the booklet notes: Ates Orga, the author, uses phrases such as “big-boned, even gruff” to describe his Schumann, “exciting but unsophisticated” (Petrushka), “a certain blandness” to his Beethoven Choral Fantasy, and Mussorgsky’s Pictures “fare less well”. Not a ringing endorsement, then, and Brendel himself has been dismissive of these early versions. However Brilliant should be credited for being honest about what they have on their hands. This set is far from perfect, and it most definitely does not represent the finished article: instead it shows us the evolution of a genius, an artist still developing his interpretations of these great works. Often the result is all the more fresh and invigorating for that.
The collection of Mozart concertos is perfectly satisfying: No. 9 is a good opener to the set, with liveliness and charm in its opening, a broodingly intense slow movement and a witty, lithe finale. 14 is a fairly standard performance, while 19 has a sparky lilt in its dance-like rhythms. The orchestral sound is noticeably closer in this performance, though, and it’s that rather than the piano playing that lets a number of these works down. 25, for example, is majestic and exciting, though the balance places the orchestra too close to the ear. Similarly, No. 20 is dramatic and forthright, though the woodwind are distractingly prominent. Things improve noticeably by the fourth disc: Brendel’s performance of No. 22, my favourite among Mozart’s concertos, could compete with the best on disc, with a swaggering pomp to the opening movement, a sprightly jump to the finale, and an awesomely beautiful slow movement, the orchestra’s contribution being especially beautiful here. The orchestra is also a lot stronger for No. 27 which has grace and refinement, especially in the beautifully still slow movement. The Fantasy and Rondo are delicate and nuanced, while the sonata is vigorous, if a bit too abrupt in the finale. Perhaps the best performance of these opening discs, however, is the Haydn concerto, which positively leaps out of the speakers. It is charming and bright in Brendel’s hands, with an effective orchestral contribution, and here seems very much of the equal of its Mozartian associates. A point of caution, though: for nearly all of the concertos in this set Brendel uses his own cadenzas, and they seldom sound like improvements.
It is unsteady orchestral contributions which, again, let down the Beethoven concertos. No. 1 is fine and bouncy, especially in its first movement, while No. 2 is restrained and quite gentle. No. 3 has power and drama, though at the expense of refinement, and the orchestra is too up-front and in-your-face to blend effectively. 4 and 5 have the opposite problem: the playing is very good in both concertos, but the recording balance is poor; here, though, it’s the piano that is too close and it rings in the ear, muddying the orchestral colours. The orchestra is also rather rough round the edges in the Choral Fantasy, but they’re a lot better than the chorus who sound squally and under-rehearsed.
It’s impossible to generalise about Brendel’s Beethoven sonatas. Towards the end of his career they were the body of work with which he became most closely identified and the sheer diversity of these 32 works still leaves us in awe today. Brendel is very much still finding his feet in these recordings, though and while there are great successes there are also rather unexciting moments too. On the whole it is the early sonatas that come off best. Numbers 5 and 6, for example, sum up the direct simplicity which Brendel does very well at this stage of his career. The youthful drama and passion of No. 5 shine out in his hands, while there is beautiful poetry and richness in his reading of No. 6. The same is true of No. 13, a difficult work to pitch, but Brendel handles the different moods of its different movements with flair and confidence. Maybe it’s the effect of familiarity, but the Moonlight and Pathétique sonatas are appealing in the very simplicity with which Brendel plays them. The Appassionata is a bit lacklustre in its first movement, but has gorgeous playing to illuminate its slow movement. The later sonatas are more problematic: playing of genius sits next to more run of the mill fare. The Waldstein, for example, became one of Brendel’s greatest successes, but here its majestic closing movement left me unmoved. The Hammerklavier is somewhat aggressive in its outer movements, though some listeners will like this. He manages a beautiful stillness in the slow movement, though. Similarly, he achieves a genuine cantabile for the opening of No. 31and follows this with a strange beauty for the fugal finale. 32 has a busy, bustling opening movement, with a glorious, radiant stillness in the second movement, which builds with great momentum towards its close. So there are great things here, but the Beethoven sonatas are tarred with the same brush as the whole: Brendel achieved greater things in his later recordings. Beethoven’s other piano works are great, though. Variations show Brendel at his best because they test him to respond to the differing moods of each mini movement, and the sets of variations here, from the Eroica to the “easy” variations on a Swiss air, see him performing admirably. As expected, the Diabellis are muscular and exciting while the Bagatelles and Rondos belie any idea that this is merely fill-in music.
In light of Brendel’s majestic achievements in Schubert, it’s a pity that there are only two Schubert sonatas here. They’re perfectly fine performances of outstanding music, but again I was left wanting to turn to his later Philips recordings, particularly of the Impromptus which are up-close and dry here, while his later performances are surrounded by a lovely acoustic which brings the music alive. The Moments Musicaux and the German dances bustle along nicely, though. We are given two versions of the Wanderer Fantasy: in its original format and in Liszt’s orchestration. Both are very impressive and, heard side by side, provide very different experiences, though one wonders why the solo piano version is given in one long track, while the orchestral arrangement is divided into four bands.
The overt, rather in-your-face nature of the acoustic fits the Chopin Polonaises quite well: these are not, after all, subtle pieces, and the four here are played with panache and directness, while the Andante spianato has a more nuanced performance until the flags are unfurled for the Grande Polonaise brillante. The Schumann Fantasy is impressive, while the Etudes Symphoniques show off his remarkable technique with brilliance.
Liszt has always been a composer dear to Brendel: he dedicates ten of his Collected Essays to the composer, arguing that his undeniable flamboyance has led to his reception as a misunderstood genius. The Liszt performances here are perhaps the most entirely successful collection on the set. In his book Brendel devotes a whole essay to the B minor Sonata alone, and his performance of it here is quite breathtaking, coping with the fistfuls of notes with apparent ease, while building the structure with a symphonic sense of scale. Quite marvellous, with good sound to match. The Piano Concertos are fantastic too. No. 1 bursts onto the scene with the aggressive manner it should, and it takes no prisoners as pianist and conductor (Michael Gielen) hurtle through the music. Refreshingly they do not try to milk the slow music for its beauty: instead they see it as part of the extrovert whole so it fits into a wider picture with ease. The wind music which opens No. 2, on the other hand, is gorgeously languid, and this concerto has a far greater sense of new things unfolding from the original material. The sense of structure, so important in these works, is obvious and exhilarating. The Totentanz has a sense of inexorable doom about it, while the Petrarch Sonnets are more gentle and refined. I’ve never been a big fan of Liszt’s opera transcriptions, and these performances didn’t make me change my mind, but the playing is secure and he copes with the tempo and dynamic changes every bit as well as the impossibly difficult notes. The Hungarian Rhapsodies are suitably bright and playful.
Despite the lukewarm write-up in the booklet notes, I really liked Brendel’s Pictures at an Exhibition. There is a welcoming forthrightness to the Promenades and his playing of each movement matches its character most appropriately, from the troubadour’s song in The Old Castle to the frantic Marketplace at Limoges, and Baba Yaga’s demonic hut to the majesty of the Great Gate of Kiev. Balakirev’s Islamey, also on this disc, is super too, but in a much more delicate, filigree way. The Petrushka suite doesn’t work quite so well: there’s little in the way of nuance here and the mono sound is too close for comfort.
The biggest surprises on the disc are the Schoenberg and Prokofiev concertos, as they are so far from Brendel’s core repertory. The Schoenberg is a bit sluggish in its opening movement and Gielen doesn’t drive the orchestra in the way he should. The busier moments at the end work well, though, and Brendel’s contribution is secure throughout. The opening of the Prokofiev is jaunty, even humorous, as are the eager and bright middle movements. There is a warm peace to the Larghetto, and the Vivo finale is driven by a real partnership between soloist and conductor. The sound is in mono, but the blend between soloist and orchestra is often better than it is in the stereo recordings that came earlier in the set.
As I’ve noted a few times, the sound on these discs is inconsistent, and that can cause a problem. It’s not surprising, in view of the range of time over which these pieces were recorded, but that doesn’t make the balance problems in, say, the Beethoven concertos any easier to listen to. They are all in stereo, except the last two discs, and even there the mono sound doesn’t really get in the way. On the whole the sound tends to be serviceable enough, and it’s really very good for the Liszt recordings. If you’re thinking about buying the set then you shouldn’t let the matter of sound stop you, and at this price it would be churlish to complain too much about it.
To sum up, then: Brendel's genius as a performer is on display here for all to see, and while it’s by no means the finished article, that doesn’t make these recordings any less worthwhile. Yes, he surpassed nearly all of these performances later in his career, but those later recordings will set you back by a considerably greater amount than what’s being asked here and this set provides an interesting insight into his earlier days as a recording artist. If you already possess his Philips recordings of these works then you won’t feel the need to invest in this, but those with an interest in the man, or simply in good piano playing, should investigate further. Last but not least, don’t forget that there is probably no cheaper way to acquire such a huge bulk of music at such a low price. A welcome issue, then, but recommendable only with caveats.
Simon Thompson
Track details
CD 1
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756–1791
Piano Concerto No.9 in E flat major K271 ‘Jeunehomme’
1. I. Allegro 10:11
2. II. Andantino 12:50
3. III. Rondo 10:48
Piano Concerto No.14 in E flat major K449
4. I. Allegro vivace 8:49
5. II. Andantino 6:27
6. III. Allegro non troppo 6:19
Alfred Brendel
Alfred Brendel piano
I Solisti di Zagreb, Antonio Janigro
Total: 55:43
CD 2
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756–1791
Piano Concerto No.17 in G major K453
1. I. Allegro 11:44
2. II. Andante 10:48
3. III. Allegretto – Presto 7:37
Piano Concerto No.25 in C major K503
4. I. Allegro maestoso 13:56
5. II. Andante 7:40
6. III. Allegretto 9:19
Joseph Haydn 1732–1809
Piano Concerto in D major Hob. XVIII No.11
7. I. Allegro 7:50
8. II. Un poco adagio 6:48
9. III. Rondo all’ungarese, allegro assai 4:14
Alfred Brendel piano
Orchestra of the Vienna Volksoper (K453)
Pro Musica Orchestra, Vienna (K503)
Vienna Chamber Orchestra (Haydn)
Paul Angerer, conductor
Total: 79:57
CD 3
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756–1791
Piano Concerto No.19 in F major K459
1. I. Allegro 12:30
2. II. Allegretto 9:45
3. III. Allegro assai 7:48
Piano Concerto No.20 in D minor K466
4. I. Allegro 13:40
5. II. Romance 9:20
6. III. Rondo: Allegro assai 7:34
Alfred Brendel piano
Orchestra of the Vienna Volksoper, Wilfried Boettcher
Total: 61:00
CD 4
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756–1791
Piano Concerto No.22 in E flat major K482
1. I. Allegro 12:40
2. II. Andante 8:48
3. III. Allegro 12:15
Piano Concerto No.27 in B flat major K595
4. I. Allegro 14:27
5. II. Larghetto 7:58
6. III. Allegro 8:55
Rondo in D major K382
7. Allegretto grazioso – 5:43
8. Adagio – 2:15
9. Allegro 2:05
Alfred Brendel piano
Vienna Chamber Orchestra (K482)
Orchestra of the Vienna Volksoper (K595, K382)
Paul Angerer, conductor
Total: 75:39
CD 5
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756–1791
Piano Sonata in A minor K310
1. I. Allegro maestoso 6:04
2. II. Andante cantabile con espressione 7:10
3. III. Presto 3:00
4. Fantasy in C minor K396 9:12
5. Rondo in A minor K511 11:22
Variations in D major
on a Menuet by Duport K573
6. Theme 1:13
7. Variation 1 1:02
8. Variation 2 1:06
9. Variation 3 1:11
10. Variation 4 1:13
11. Variation 5 1:26
12. Variation 6 2:05
13. Variation 7 1:05
14. Variation 8 1:39
15. Variation 9 1:54
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 51:03
CD 6
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756–1791
Concerto in E flat major for two pianos K365
1. I. Allegro 9:43
2. II. Andante 7:48
3. III. Rondo: Allegro 6:53
Sonata in D major for two pianos K448
4. I. Allegro con spirito 7:28
5. II. Andante 8:33
6. III. Allegro molto 5:38
7. Fugue in C minor for two pianos K426: Allegro moderato 4:10
Quintet in E flat major for piano and winds K452
8. I. Largo – Allegro moderato 11:10
9. II. Larghetto 6:52
10. III. Rondo 5:17
Alfred Brendel and Walter Klien pianos (1-7)
Alfred Brendel piano
members of the Hungarian Quintet
Orchestra of the Vienna Volksoper, Paul Angerer
Total: 74:04
CD 7
Ludwig van Beethoven 1770–1827
Piano Concerto No.1 in C major Op.15
1. I. Allegro con brio 17:03
2. II. Largo 11:47
3. III. Rondo: Allegro scherzando 9:19
Piano Concerto No.2 in B flat major Op.19
4. I. Allegro con brio 14:48
5. II. Adagio 9:29
6. III. Rondo 6:15
Alfred Brendel piano
Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra, Wilfried Boettcher (1–3)
Orchestra of the Vienna Volksoper, Heinz Wallberg (4–6)
Total: 69:13
CD 8
Ludwig van Beethoven 1770–1827
Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor Op.37
1. I. Allegro con brio 15:03
2. II. Largo 10:10
3. III. Rondo 9:09
Piano Concerto No.4 in G major Op.58
4. I. Allegro moderato 17:52
5. II. Andante con moto 4:55
6. III. Rondo: Vivace 10:49
Alfred Brendel piano
Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Heinz Wallberg
Total: 68:24
CD 9
Ludwig van Beethoven 1770–1827
Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat major Op.73 ‘Emperor’
1. I. Allegro moderato 20:01
2. II. Adagio un poco mosso 8:33
3. III. Rondo: Allegro 10:25
4. Choral Fantasy in C minor Op.80 20:28
Alfred Brendel piano
Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Zubin Mehta (1–3)
Stuttgart Lehrergesangverein, Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra,
Wilfried Boettcher (4)
Total: 59:34
CD 10
Ludwig van Beethoven 1770–1827
Piano Sonata No.29 in B flat major Op.106 ‘Hammerklavier’
1. I. Allegro 11:06
2. II. Scherzo: Assai vivace 2:34
3. III. Adagio sostenuto 16:47
4. IV. Largo – Allegro risoluto 12:31
Piano Sonata No.32 in C minor Op.111
5. I. Maestoso – Allegro con brio e appassionato 8:28
6. II. Arietta: Adagio molto, semplice e cantabile 15:47
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 67:39
CD 11
Ludwig van Beethoven 1770–1827
Piano Sonata No.28 in A major Op.101
1. I. Allegretto ma non troppo 3:18
2. II. Vivace alla marcia 6:12
3. III. Adagio ma non troppo con affetto – Presto 9:57
Piano Sonata No.30 in E major Op.109
4. I. Vivace ma non troppo – Adagio espressivo 3:20
5. II. Prestissimo 2:22
6. III. Tema con variazioni 11:33
Piano Sonata No.31 in A flat major Op.110
7. I. Moderato cantabile, molto espressivo 5:31
8. II. Allegro molto – III. Adagio ma non troppo – 5:56
9. Fuga. Allegro ma non troppo 6:31
Piano Sonata No.27 in E minor Op.90
10. I. Mit Lebhaftigkeit und durchaus mit Empfindung und Ausdruck 5:26
11. II. Nicht zu geschwind und sehr singbar vorzutragen 7:38
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 68:20
CD 12
Ludwig van Beethoven 1770–1827
Piano Sonata No.23 in F minor Op.57 ‘Appassionata’
1. I. Allegro assai 9:41
2. II. Andante con moto 6:15
3. III. Allegro ma non troppo 8:08
Piano Sonata No.22 in F major Op.54
4. I. In tempo d’un menuetto 5:47
5. II. Allegretto 6:15
Piano Sonata No.26 in E flat major Op.81a ‘Les Adieux’
6. I. Les Adieux: Adagio – Allegro 6:14
7. II. L’Absence: Andante espressivo 3:09
8. III. Le Retour: Vivacissimamente 5:37
Piano Sonata No.16 in G major Op.31 No.1
9. I. Allegro vivace 6:26
10. II. Adagio grazioso 9:53
11. III. Rondo: Allegretto 6:20
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 73:49
CD 13
Ludwig van Beethoven 1770–1827
Piano Sonata No.17 in D minor Op.31 No.2 ‘Tempest’
1. I. Largo – Allegro – Adagio 7:47
2. II. Adagio 7:45
3. III. Allegretto 5:53
Piano Sonata No.18 in E flat major Op.31 No.3
4. I. Allegro 8:07
5. II. Scherzo: Allegretto vivace 4:52
6. III. Menuetto: Moderato e grazioso 3:36
7. IV. Presto con fuoco 4:57
Piano Sonata No.21 in C major Op.53 ‘Waldstein’
8. I. Allegro con brio 11:10
9. II. Introduzione: Adagio molto 3:43
10. III. Rondo: Allegretto moderato – Prestissimo 9:50
Piano Sonata No.19 in G minor Op.49 No.1
11. I. Andante 3:57
12. II. Rondo: Allegro 3:39
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 75:21
CD 14
Ludwig van Beethoven 1770–1827
Piano Sonata No.1 in F minor Op.2 No.1
1. I. Allegro 4:06
2. II. Adagio 4:13
3. III. Menuetto: Allegretto – Trio 3:28
4. IV. Prestissimo 5:21
Piano Sonata No.25 in G major Op.79
5. I. Presto alla tedesca 4:59
6. II. Andante 2:29
7. III. Vivace 2:01
Piano Sonata No.5 in C minor Op.10 No.1
8. I. Allegro molto e con brio 6:08
9. II. Adagio molto 8:37
10. III. Finale: Prestissimo 4:08
Piano Sonata No.6 in F major Op.10 No.2
11. I. Allegro 5:21
12. II. Allegretto 4:21
13. III. Presto 4:16
Piano Sonata No.9 in E major Op.14 No.1
14. I. Allegro 7:01
15. II. Allegretto 3:33
16. III. Rondo: Allegro comodo 3:14
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 73:23
CD 15
Ludwig van Beethoven 1770–1827
Piano Sonata No.10 in G major Op.14 No.2
1. I. Allegro 7:08
2. II. Andante 3:40
3. III. Scherzo: Allegro assai 3:47
Piano Sonata No.13 in E flat major Op.27 No.1
4. I. Andante – Allegro – Andante 4:26
5. II. Allegro molto e vivace 2:00
6. III. Adagio con espressione 3:12
7. IV. Finale: Allegro vivace 6:06
Piano Sonata No.14 in C sharp minor Op.27 No.2 ‘Moonlight’
8. I. Adagio sostenuto 6:01
9. II. Allegretto 2:18
10. III. Presto agitato 7:47
Piano Sonata No.15 in D major Op.28 ‘Pastoral’
11. I. Allegro 9:55
12. II. Andante 7:30
13. III. Scherzo: Allegro vivace – Trio IV. Rondo: Allegro ma non troppo 7:26
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 71:20
CD 16
Ludwig van Beethoven 1770–1827
Piano Sonata No.7 in D major Op.10 No.3
1. I. Presto 6:51
2. II. Largo e mesto 10:10
3. III. Menuetto: Allegro 2:52
4. IV. Rondo: Allegro 3:40
Piano Sonata No.2 in A major Op.2 No.2
5. I. Allegro vivace 7:06
6. II. Largo appassionato 6:34
7. III. Scherzo: Allegretto – Trio 3:29
8. IV. Rondo: Grazioso 6:35
Piano Sonata No.3 in C major Op.2 No.3
9. I. Allegro con brio 10:28
10. II. Adagio 7:52
11. III. Scherzo: Allegro – Trio 3:20
12. IV. Allegro assai 5:31
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 74:47
CD 17
Ludwig van Beethoven 1770–1827
Piano Sonata No.8 in C minor Op.13 ‘Pathétique’
1. I. Grave – Allegro di molto e con brio 9:08
2. II. Adagio cantabile 5:44
3. III. Rondo: Allegro 4:16
Piano Sonata No.11 in B flat major Op.22
4. I. Allegro con brio 7:53
5. II. Adagio con molto espressione 6:38
6. III. Menuetto 3:37
7. IV. Rondo: Allegretto 6:29
Piano Sonata No.12 in A flat major Op.26 ‘Funeral March’
8. I. Andante con variazioni 7:53
9. II. Scherzo: Allegro molto – Trio 2:57
10. III. Maestoso andante ‘Marcia funebre sulla morte d’une Eroe’ 5:40
11. IV. Allegro 3:04
Piano Sonata No.24 in F sharp major Op.78
12. I. Adagio cantabile – Allegro ma non troppo 7:02
13. II. Allegro vivace 2:44
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 73:35
CD 18
Ludwig van Beethoven 1770–1827
Piano Sonata No.4 in E flat major Op.7
1. I. Allegro molto e con brio 8:11
2. II. Largo con gran espressione 8:20
3. III. Allegro 5:06
4. IV. Rondo: Poco allegretto e grazioso 7:11
Piano Sonata No.20 in G major Op.49 No.2
5. I. Grave – Allegro, ma non troppo 4:31
6. II. Tempo di menuetto 3:32
Quintet for Piano and Winds in E flat major Op.16
7. I. Grave – Allegro, ma non troppo 11:33
8. II. Andante cantabile 7:59
9. III. Rondo: Allegro ma non troppo Members of the Hungarian Quintet 6:31
10. Rondo in B flat major G151 Orchestra of the Vienna Volksoper, Wilfried Boettcher 10:01
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 72:55
CD 19
Ludwig van Beethoven 1770–1827
1. ‘Eroica’ Variations in E flat major Op.35 22:40
Piano Sonata No.20 in G major Op.49 No.2
2. I. Allegro ma non troppo 4:31
3. II. Tempo di menuetto 3:32
4. 5 Variations on ‘Rule Britannia’ in D major WoO 79 4:28
5. 7 Variations on ‘God Save the King’ in C major WoO 78 8:42
6. 12 Variations on a Russian Dance from Wranitsky’s Ballet Das Waldmädchen’ in A major WoO 71 11:35
7. 6 Variations on an Original Theme in F major Op.34 12:41
8. 6 Variations on a Theme from ‘The Ruins of Athens’ in D major Op.76 5:49
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 74:58
CD 20
Ludwig van Beethoven 1770–1827
1. 32 Variations on an Original Theme in C minor WoO 80 11:04
2. 7 Variations from Winter’s Opera ‘Das unterbrochene Opferfest’ in F major WoO 75 10:49
3. 24 Variations on Righini’s Air ‘Venni amore’ in D major WoO 65 15:57
4. 6 Variations on the Duet from Paisello’s ‘La Molinara’ in G major WoO 70 4:38
5. 8 Variations on Süssmayr’s Theme ‘Tändeln und Scherzen’ in F major WoO 76 8:09
6. 13 Variations on Dittersdorf’s Air ‘Es war einmal ein alter Mann’ in A major WoO 66 11:58
7. 10 Variations on Salieri’s Air ‘La stessa, la stessissima’ in B flat major WoO 73 9:43
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 73:11
CD 21
Ludwig van Beethoven 1770–1827
1. 6 Easy Variations on a Swiss Air in F major WoO 64 2:48
2. 9 Variations on Paisello’s Air ‘Quant’è più bello’ in A major WoO 69 5:27
3. 6 Variations on an Original Theme in G major WoO 77 4:50
4. 8 Variations on Grétry’s Air ‘Un fièvre brûlante’ in C major WoO 72
5. Rondo in G major Op.51 No.2 9:46
6. Allegretto in C minor WoO 53 3:49
7. 6 Ecossaises WoO 83 1:55
8. Bagatelle in A minor ‘Für Elise’ WoO 59 2:44
9. Polonaise in C major Op.89 5:31
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 44:58
CD 22
Ludwig van Beethoven 1770–1827
Diabelli Variations in C major Op.120
1. Theme: Vivace 0:52
2. Alla marcia maestoso 1:53
3. Poco allegro 0:47
4. L’istesso tempo 1:21
5. Un poco più vivace 0:55
6. Allegro vivace 0:55
7. Allegro, ma non troppo 1:41
8. Un poco più allegro 1:20
9. Poco vivace 1:25
10. Allegro pesante e risoluto 1:45
11. Presto 0:39
12. Allegretto 0:55
13. Un poco più mosso 0:46
14. Vivace 0:58
15. Grave e maestoso 4:02
16. Presto scherzando 0:34
17. Allegro 1:00
18. Allegro 1:07
19. Moderato 1:39
20. Presto 0:54
21. Andante 2:11
22. Allegro con brio 1:20
23. Molto allegro 0:40
24. Assai allegro 0:51
25. Fughetta: Andante 3:43
26. Allegro 0:49
27. Allegro 1:00
28. Vivace 0:58
29. Allegro 0:59
30. Adagio, ma non troppo 1:19
31. Andante, sempre cantabile 2:30
32. Largo, molto espressivo 4:26
33. Fuga: Allegro 2:53
34. Tempo di menuetto, moderato 3:49
11 Bagatelles Op.119
35. Allegretto in G major 2:33
36. Andante con moto in C major 0:55
37. Allemande in D major 1:30
38. Andante cantabile in A major 1:30
39. Risoluto in C minor 1:02
40. Andante in G major 0:30
41. Allegro ma non troppo 1:21
42. Moderato cantabile in C major 1:07
43. Vivace moderato in A minor 1:54
44. Allegramente in A major 1:54
45. Andante ma non troppo 1:53
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 68:20
CD 23
Ludwig van Beethoven 1770–1827
6 Bagatelles Op.126
1. Andante in G major 3:02
2. Allegro in G minor 2:53
3. Andante in E flat major 2:47
4. Presto in B minor 3:57
5. Quasi allegretto in G major 2:35
6. Presto – Andante in E flat major 4:38
7. Rondo a capriccio in G major Rage over a lost penny’ Op.129 6:06
8. Rondo in C major Op.51 No.1 5:45
7 Bagatelles Op.33
9. Andante, quasi allegretto in E flat major 3:45
10. Scherzo: Allegro in C major 2:38
11. Allegretto in F major 1:59
12. Andante in A major 3:42
13. Allegro ma non troppo in C major 3:08
14. Allegretto in C major 2:48
15. Presto in D major 2:01
16. Andante favori in F major WoO 57 8:49
17. Ziemlich lebhaft in B flat major WoO 60 1:14
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 62:00
CD 24
Franz Schubert 1797–1828
Piano Sonata in C minor D958
1. I. Allegro 7:59
2. II. Adagio 8:11
3. III. Menuetto – Trio 3:29
4. IV. Allegro 9:03
Piano Sonata in C major D840 ‘Unfinished’
5. I. Moderato 10:35
6. II. Andante 9:19
German Dances D783
7. No.1 0:47
8. No.2 1:02
9. No.3 0:32
10. No.4 0:34
11. No.5 0:40
12. No.7 1:00
13. No.8 0:29
14. No.13 0:38
15. No.14 0:41
16. No.9 0:26
17. No.10 1:11
18. No.11 0:26
19. No.12 0:28
20. No.15 0:48
21. No.16 0:30
22. No.6 0:34
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 59:46
CD 25
Franz Schubert 1797–1828
Impromptus D899
1. No.1 in C minor: Allegro molto moderato 8:30
2. No.2 in E flat major: Allegro 4:19
3. No.3 in G flat major: Andante 5:18
4. No.4 in A flat major: Allegretto 7:06
Moments musicaux D780
5. No.1 in C major: Moderato 4:46
6. No.2 in A flat major: Andantino 5:45
7. No.3 in F minor: Allegro: Moderato 1:40
8. No.4 in C sharp minor moderato 4:39
9. No.5 in F minor: allegro vivace 2:04
10. No.6 in A flat major: Allegretto 6:23
Drei Klavierstücke D946
11. No.1 in E flat minor 8:52
12. No.2 in E flat major 9:41
13. No.3 in C major 5:03
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 75:04
CD 26
Franz Schubert 1797–1828
1. Wanderer Fantasy in C major D760 22:10
Impromptus D935
2. No.1 in F minor: Allegro moderato 9:00
3. No.2 in A flat major: Allegretto 5:23
4. No.3 in B flat major: Andante: Theme, Variations ‘Rosamunde’ 10:30
5. No.4 in F minor: Allegro scherzando 5:23
Franz Schubert 1797–1828 realised by Franz Liszt 1811–1886
Wanderer Fantasy in C major for piano, orchestra
6. Allegro – 6:20
7. Adagio – 7:31
8. Presto – 4:52
9. Allegro 3:26
Vienna Volksoper Orchestra
Michael Gielen
Total: 74:56
CD 27
Frédéric Chopin 1810–1849
1. Polonaise in A flat major Op.53 ‘Heroic’ 6:42
2. Polonaise in C minor Op.40 No.2 6:01
3. Polonaise in F sharp minor Op.44 11:22
4. Polonaise-fantaisie in A flat major Op.61 11:58
Andante spianato et Grande Polonaise brillante in E flat major Op.22
5. Andante spianato 4:32
6. Grande polonaise brillante 9:17
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 50:14
CD 28
Robert Schumann 1810–1856
Fantasy in C major Op.17
1. Durchaus phantastisch und leidenschaftlich vorzutragen 12:55
2. Mässig, durchaus energisch 8:10
3. Langsam getragen, durchweg leise zu halten 10:35
Études Symphoniques Op.13
4. Theme 1:16
5. Étude No.1 1:19
6. Étude No.2 3:38
7. Étude No.3 1:17
8. Étude No.4 0:58
9. Étude No.5 1:23
10. Étude No.6 0:54
11. Étude No.7 1:16
12. Étude No.8 2:03
13. Étude No.9 0:39
14. Étude No.10 1:19
15. Étude No.11 3:04
16. Étude No.12 6:42
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 57:49
CD 29
Franz Liszt 1811–1886
Piano Concerto No.1 in E flat major
1. Allegro maestoso – Tempo giusto 5:42
2. Quasi adagio – 4:42
3. Allegretto vivace – 4:29
4. Allegro marziale animato 4:18
Piano Concerto No.2 in A major
5. Adagio sostenuto assai – 7:27
6. Tempo del andante – 5:44
7. Allegro deciso – 3:03
8. Marziale un poco meno allegro – 1:12
9. Un poco meno mosso – 2:33
10. Allegro animato 1:43
11. Andante – Allegro – Allegro moderato 2:09
12. Variation I 0:59
13. Variation II 0:18
14. Variation III 0:30
15. Variation IV 9:20
16. Variation V 3:15
17. Cadenza 1:23
18. Variation VI 3:08
19. Cadenza 0:50
20. Allegro animato 0:35
21. Malédiction 14:32
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 72:52
CD 30
Franz Liszt 1811–1886
Piano Sonata in B minor
1. Lento 3:27
2. Grandioso – 8:09
3. Andante sostenuto – 6:51
4. Fugue, allegro energico – 5:41
5. Stretta quasi presto 4:35
Années de Pèlerinage: Deuxième Année, Italie
Piano Sonata ‘après une lecture de Dante’
6. Andante 1:46
7. Presto agitato 2:47
8. Tempo I 3:06
9. Più tosto 5:46
10. Più mosso 2:29
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 72:55
CD 31
Franz Liszt 1811–1886
Opera transcriptions and paraphrases
1. Lucia di Lammermoor: Sextet (Donizetti) 5:27
2. Il trovatore: Miserere (Verdi) 8:13
3. Norma Fantasy (Bellini) 15:39
4. Oberon Overture (Weber) 9:05
5. Benvenuto Cellini: Benediction, Oath (Berlioz) 7:20
6. Tannhäuser: Pilgrims’ Chorus (Wagner) 5:16
Paganini Études
7. Tremolo in G minor 4:40
8. Octave in E flat major 5:49
9. La campanella in G sharp minor 5:02
10. Arpeggio in E major 2:10
11. La Chasse in E major 3:16
12. Variations in A minor 5:14
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 77:44
CD 32
Franz Liszt 1811–1886
Années de Pèlerinage: Deuxième Année, Italie
Tre Sonetti di Petrarca
1. No.47 5:58
2. No.104 6:02
3. No.123 6:59
4. Venezia e Napoli – Tarantella 9:17
Harmonies poétiques et religieuses
5. Invocation 7:10
6. Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude 15:38
7. Pensées des morts 11:17
8. Funérailles 10:55
9. Cantique d’amour 6:21
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 79:55
CD 33
Franz Liszt 1811–1886
6 Hungarian Rhapsodies
1. Hungarian Rhapsody No.15: ‘Rakoczy March’ 5:33
2. Hungarian Rhapsody No.3: Andante 5:28
3. Hungarian Rhapsody No.2: Lento a capriccioso 10:26
4. Hungarian Rhapsody No.13: Andante sostenuto 9:31
5. Hungarian Rhapsody No.8: Lento a capriccio 7:28
6. Hungarian Rhapsody No.17: Lento 3:16
7. Csárdás obstiné 3:17
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 45:32
CD 34
Modest Mussorgsky 1839–1881
Pictures at an Exhibition
1. Promenade 1:16
2. Gnomus 1:59
3. Promenade 1:16
4. The Old Castle 4:45
5. Promenade 0:25
6. Tuileries 0:57
7. Bydlo 2:22
8. Promenade 0:39
9. Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks 1:03
10. Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle 2:16
11. Promenade 1:18
12. The Marketplace at Limoges 1:16
13. Catacombae 1:23
14. Cum mortuis in lingua mortua 1:49
15. Baba Yaga (The Hut on Fowl’s Legs) 3:16
16. The Great Gate of Kiev 4:55
Igor Stravinsky 1882–1971
Petrushka – Suite
17. I. Danse Russe 2:31
18. II. Petrushka’s Room 4:52
19. III. Shrovetide Fair 9:02
Mili Balakirev 1836–1910
20. Islamey – Oriental Fantasy 8:49
Alfred Brendel piano
Total: 55:46
CD 35
Arnold Schoenberg 1874–1951
1. Piano Concerto Op.42 20:58
Sergei Prokofiev 1891–1953
Piano Concerto No.5 in G major Op.55
2. I . Allegro con brio 4:59
3. II. Moderato ben accentuato 3:13
4. III. Toccata: Allegro con fuoco 2:06
5. IV. Larghetto 5:57
6. V. Vivo 5:17
Alfred Brendel piano
Symphony Orchestra of Southwest German Radio Baden-Baden,
Michael Gielen (Schoenberg)
Vienna State Opera Orchestra, Jonathan Sternberg (Prokofiev)
Total: 42:33


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing




Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.