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"The mix of thoughtfulness and brilliance that irradiates [Brendel's] performances infuses these spirited essays."—Susan Sontag Alfred Brendel, one of the greatest pianists of our time, is renowned for his masterly interpretations of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Liszt, and has been credited with rescuing from oblivion the piano music of Schubert's last years. Far "The mix of thoughtfulness and brilliance that irradiates [Brendel's] performances infuses these spirited essays."—Susan Sontag Alfred Brendel, one of the greatest pianists of our time, is renowned for his masterly interpretations of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Liszt, and has been credited with rescuing from oblivion the piano music of Schubert's last years. Far from having merely one string to his bow, however, Brendel is also one of the world's most remarkable writers on music—possessed of the rare ability to bring together the clarity and originality of expression that characterised his performances to the printed page. The definitive collection of his award-winning writings and essays, Music, Sense and Nonsense combines all of his work originally published in his two classic books, Musical Thoughts and Afterthoughts and Music Sounded Out, along with significant new material on a lifetime of recording, performance habits, and reflections on life and art. As well as providing stimulating reading, this new edition yields a unique insight into the exceptional mind of one of the outstanding musicians of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Whether discussing Bach or Beethoven, Schubert or Schoenberg, Brendel's essays are both illuminating and challenging, a treasure for the specialist and the music lover alike. Alfred Brendel is known for his recordings, international concert appearances and writings. He was awarded an honorary knighthood in 1989.


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"The mix of thoughtfulness and brilliance that irradiates [Brendel's] performances infuses these spirited essays."—Susan Sontag Alfred Brendel, one of the greatest pianists of our time, is renowned for his masterly interpretations of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Liszt, and has been credited with rescuing from oblivion the piano music of Schubert's last years. Far "The mix of thoughtfulness and brilliance that irradiates [Brendel's] performances infuses these spirited essays."—Susan Sontag Alfred Brendel, one of the greatest pianists of our time, is renowned for his masterly interpretations of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Liszt, and has been credited with rescuing from oblivion the piano music of Schubert's last years. Far from having merely one string to his bow, however, Brendel is also one of the world's most remarkable writers on music—possessed of the rare ability to bring together the clarity and originality of expression that characterised his performances to the printed page. The definitive collection of his award-winning writings and essays, Music, Sense and Nonsense combines all of his work originally published in his two classic books, Musical Thoughts and Afterthoughts and Music Sounded Out, along with significant new material on a lifetime of recording, performance habits, and reflections on life and art. As well as providing stimulating reading, this new edition yields a unique insight into the exceptional mind of one of the outstanding musicians of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Whether discussing Bach or Beethoven, Schubert or Schoenberg, Brendel's essays are both illuminating and challenging, a treasure for the specialist and the music lover alike. Alfred Brendel is known for his recordings, international concert appearances and writings. He was awarded an honorary knighthood in 1989.

30 review for Music, Sense and Nonsense: Collected Essays and Lectures

  1. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

    First of all, this book is only for you if you're a serious pianophile interested in diving deep into the differences between Beethoven, Schubert, and Liszt sonatas. As a series of essays, it is best read in small doses, preferably with scores and recordings at hand. At least that's the excuse I'm using for why it took 9 months to finally finish it. It does get better towards the end. Secondly, if you're over the age of 40 or ever need to squint to be able to read something, get the e-book so yo First of all, this book is only for you if you're a serious pianophile interested in diving deep into the differences between Beethoven, Schubert, and Liszt sonatas. As a series of essays, it is best read in small doses, preferably with scores and recordings at hand. At least that's the excuse I'm using for why it took 9 months to finally finish it. It does get better towards the end. Secondly, if you're over the age of 40 or ever need to squint to be able to read something, get the e-book so you can adjust the font size. The paperback is in the tiniest font I've ever seen in print. Finally, if you're looking for a bunch of thoughts on piano and music and life from a great pianist, Stephen Hough did it much better in his book, Rough Ideas. Brendel himself did it better in A Pianist's A–Z and his poetry is worth a read, but this book should wait until after these others.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joe Q.

    In this book, Alfred Brendel shows himself to be a thoughtful writer as well as a top-notch pianist. As an amateur musician, I enjoyed his insights into the musical character of the repertoire he plays so well, but struggled to understand many of his references and comments. Professional pianists who are intimately familiar with the classical repertoire (and who can instantly conjure up an idea of the melody of a piece solely based on its key and the name of the composer) will likely get a lot m In this book, Alfred Brendel shows himself to be a thoughtful writer as well as a top-notch pianist. As an amateur musician, I enjoyed his insights into the musical character of the repertoire he plays so well, but struggled to understand many of his references and comments. Professional pianists who are intimately familiar with the classical repertoire (and who can instantly conjure up an idea of the melody of a piece solely based on its key and the name of the composer) will likely get a lot more out of the book than I did.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Green

    Although I read it from beginning to end, a lot of the essays in this book were far too specialized for me and could only have been read properly by someone who is deeply familiar with the great piano literature of Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, etc. Or someone who was willing to take the time to listen to the pieces Brendel discusses in the light of his discussion. Brendel, who has retired as a performing musician, was a leading pianist, who has also left a large body of recorded performances. He wri Although I read it from beginning to end, a lot of the essays in this book were far too specialized for me and could only have been read properly by someone who is deeply familiar with the great piano literature of Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, etc. Or someone who was willing to take the time to listen to the pieces Brendel discusses in the light of his discussion. Brendel, who has retired as a performing musician, was a leading pianist, who has also left a large body of recorded performances. He writes clearly and insightfully. My interest in it was to see how an intelligent classical musician thinks about his art, and I got that, all right. Brendel is extremely conscientious. He examines the manuscripts of the pieces he plays to see whether the composer's intentions were faithfully published when the pieces were printed. He has a lot of interests beyond music, and he is very well read in German (his native language) and English.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Yuen

  6. 4 out of 5

    J

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anders

  8. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Ash

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christina

  10. 5 out of 5

    Di Zhang

  11. 4 out of 5

    JMH

  12. 5 out of 5

    Carlos

  13. 4 out of 5

    Roberto Brenes E.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lai Bo Ling

  15. 5 out of 5

    Keith

  16. 4 out of 5

    Boris

  17. 5 out of 5

    CBSD Library

  18. 5 out of 5

    Monica

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sirin Nabokov

  20. 4 out of 5

    Aloysius Tang

  21. 4 out of 5

    Yangze Zhang

  22. 4 out of 5

    William Toutant

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dmitry Hahalin

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mr R

  25. 5 out of 5

    Silviya

  26. 5 out of 5

    Roxanne Liu

  27. 4 out of 5

    Matt Hagle

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Z

  29. 4 out of 5

    gerald schroeder

  30. 4 out of 5

    Wireless Lee

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