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Arts Desk
Every week, WRTI features a different album on the air. Learn more about them here.

Classical Album of the Week: Two Live Performances by Pianist Alfred Brendel

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August 1, 2018.  It’s not new by any stretch, but it is new to us.  Alfred Brendel Live in Vienna is actually quite a find for lovers of this great pianist. Brendel has been making recordings for half a century, and yet there is still much we haven’t heard. 

This new release, for example, contains his never-released performances of works by Schumann and Brahms. 

The Schumann piano concerto was captured in 2001 during a residency in Vienna, the year Brendel turned 70.  The concert included inestimable partners in Sir Simon Rattle and the Wiener Philharmoniker and the artist writes “listening to this live recording I felt that, for once, I heard what I wanted to hear.”

There’s also a 1979 recording of Brahms’ “Handel” Variations from the Konzerthaus in Vienna. As with his Schumann performance, Brendel never recorded the “Handel” Variations in the studio and that makes this his first commercially available release of the work.

Brendel says he’s delighted the recordings are finally being published for listeners to enjoy.  Listeners, in turn, can delight in hearing a master in concert.