A final goodbye to the somber-looking one. Alfred Brendel gave his farewell recital this week in, where else, Vienna, home to many of the composers on which he made his career. I was never a huge fan, but over the years I grew to appreciate his un-flashy approach. His last concert here was particularly nice. But I will never warm up to his poetry.
Here is the AP story:
Pianist Brendel gives final concert in Austria
By VERONIKA OLEKSYN
Amid shouts of "bravo" and thundering applause, Alfred Brendel bid farewell to the concert hall Thursday, ending a six-decade career as one of the world's greatest pianists. Accompanied by the Vienna Philharmonic, Brendel performed Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 9 — known as "Jeunehomme" ("Young Man") or "Jenamy" — at the Austrian capital's prestigious Musikverein. He played two encores.
Brendel appeared energetic and entranced by the music, clearly captivating his audience in the packed Golden Auditorium.— as well as a piece he composed himself.
Brendel's adieu, coming just weeks before his 78th birthday, concluded a career that began rather unconventionally.
Born Jan. 5, 1931, in what is today the Czech Republic, he spent his childhood traveling through Austria and Yugoslavia. He took his first piano lessons at age 6 and had a series of teachers as his family moved around, but the little formal training he had ended when he was 16.
"Being self-taught, I learned to distrust anything I hadn't figured out myself," Brendel says on his Web site. "A teacher can be too influential."
"When I was young my overall career wasn't sensational at all, it rather progressed step by step," he says on the Web site.
To many, Brendel is one of a kind.
"After so many years of being at the top of his profession, it is hard to imagine musical life without Alfred's unique presence," Sir Charles Mackerras, who conducted the Vienna Philharmonic for Brendel's farewell performance, wrote in the concert program.
Brendel, who is also a poet, will continue to appear in public to lecture on music and to give poetry readings, his New York publicist said last year.