poet (?) alfred brendel

Austrian pianist Alfred Brendel is an undisputed supreme master of his instrument, both as a soloist and as a partner with notables like the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, singers Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Matthias Goerne, and his own son, cellist Adrian Brendel.

Brendel is 80 years old now. Two years ago he stepped down from the concert stage to continue teaching, making recordings, and…writing poetry. He’s no stranger to writing, his first collection of essays was first published 35 years ago.  His first poetry collection came out seven years ago, and now he has a new poetry volume called Playing the Human Game. I heard a really interesting story on Brendel’s new book this week on the BBC’s arts and cultural feature, “The Strand”.

The story offers good insights to this extraordinary performer, who’s humility is as legendary as his artistry. He once said “I did not come from a musical or intellectual family….I have not been a child prodigy. I do not have a photographic memory; neither do I play faster than other people. I am not a good sight-reader.” Yet he is one of the finest pianists ever to play music by Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, and many others.

What an inspiration. I don’t have his book yet but I can’t wait to get it.


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