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Alfred Brendel is only the third pianist to be elected an honorary member of the Vienna Philharmonic, an honor which is surely a testament to the esteem in which the ensemble's members hold him and the musical relationship they forged with him over nearly 45 years. Simon Rattle's association with the orchestra is much newer, yet in just a few years he managed to form a bond with the players. Thanks to Philips, Brendel's label for many years, Rattle and Brendel's collaboration on the Beethoven piano concertos--which began with performances in Birmingham in 1991--has been preserved.
The issue of such a set begs the question of why--Brendel has recorded the complete concertos twice before these, and the catalog is hardly lacking in options. Yet with so fine an orchestra as the Vienna Philharmonic and so sensitive a conductor as Rattle, the recordings speak for themselves to give the reasons. Brendel has lived his life with this music and brings to it a sparkling technique and deep interpretive understanding. Rattle and the orchestra provide excellent support for one of the piano world's elder statesmen to create a set for which everyone's shelves have a place.
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  • Seller location: Nelson, Nelson Bays, NZ

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