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Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas & Concertos

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Customer Reviews

Mr Adrian Queen

What can I say other than this is Brendel at his very best. Fabulous interpretations of all the piano sonatas and piano concertos. The recording is excellent too, crystal clear and sparkling, doing full justice to Brendel's fantastic performances. Very reasonably priced. You could pay far more and receive vastly inferior recordings, even if the performances are quite good. However, when it comes to Beethoven (and Schubert, Liszt, Schumann etc), Brendel is very hard to beat. I have attended live recitals and he is clearly a true perfectionist. I am extremely happy with my purchase. The inclusion in this package of the originally intended slow movement of the Waldstein Sonata is a bonus, known as the 'Andante Favori' in F. Beethoven had intended this to be the second movement but replaced it with another movement following advice from a friend that the originally intended movement was too long. However, the replaced movement has survived as a separate piece and it has remained popular since Beethoven's day. It is very good to have it included here. You also get the Choral Fantasy. At this price you really can not complain. I have been saving my pennies for this for months!

Addendum:
I am now adding to this review several months on, following my reading of a subsequent review, written by by a listener who is clearly very happy with Brendel's performances, but clearly not at all happy with the recording quality. (Read next review) I stand by my original opinion of the recording as being fabulous. The subsequent (and so far only other) reviewer may have to consider that their equipment may not be up to the task of faithfully reproducing the original recording. ( What quality are your headphones, loudspeakers or amplifier?) An amplifier will determine the quality of all outputs, regardless of the quality of any headhones/speakers, however good! Your system will only be as good as your amplifier! Since reading this review which heavily criticises the recording and so called I tunes 'fix', I have concluded that the criticisms are completely unfounded. On my quite expensive and elaborate sound system I can find no grounds for slamming this brilliant recording (Also, on my I Pod Classic with decent headphones on a train!)
'Compression' is the technical term used to describe the so called problems here, but actually most radio broadcasts use this well established technique to narrow the gap between loud and soft passages. I Tunes cannot be blamed for the relatively minor recording glitches (including compression) of the original CDs. Has this reviewer actually listened to the actual original releases of this set on CD? Well I have, because my friend has them, and I was already very familiar with these recordings before downloading them through I tunes (hence why I was very keen to download them for myself). Speaking as a long standing professional musician and very experienced music teacher with a highly trained ear, I can actually perceive no difference at all with the download as compared to the original CDs. Any perceived problems with sound quality are very much a matter of opinion and personal taste, and the blame for any such minor issues (and they are indeed very minor, verging on the obsessive!) cannot be placed at I Tunes' door! Also, has this subsequent reviewer actually listened to all the tracks, or just based their controversial judgement on just a few sonatas? Also, what about the concertos? I think the balance between piano and orchestra is brilliiant actually.

In short, I am very disappointed about the subsequent reviewer's negativity. Even if the recording quality is as bad as they make out (which I completely disagree with!) then surely Alfred Brendel's superb performances save the day! Anyway, how are you listening to your downloads? Computer? Hi Fi system, if so how good quality? Headphones, if so how expensive? Amplifier? Playing directly from your I Pod? Downloads burned to CD? All these
factors can make a tremendous difference, so be careful when criticising recording quality before first checking your means of reproduction!

I was the first person to write a review on this collection, and therefore I am rather concerned and annoyed that someone has then come along and heavily criticised the recording when (in my opinion) this is totally unjustified. I stand by my original very positive judgement, and as I have said previously, at this price you really cannot complain! Anyway, while its always a bonus to have an excellent recording, don't get hung up on this and just enjoy the music for itself! This collection is truly a real bargain at the price, so don't complain so much about the recording quality. There are far, far inferior recordings and perfomances which are actually way more expensive than this! I still maintain that this is an excellent purchase, and I would hate to think that anyone would be put off by the subsequent reviewer's comments. Trust me, these performances/recordings are great! I wouldn't have spent so much time writing this review if I didn't truly believe this to be so!

Brendel & Beethoven - the pianoforte in all it's glory!

This is Beethoven at his best; in the hands of a master performer whos timing and touch are impeccable. Yes there are many great pianists and many great recordings; but Alfred Brendels reading of Beethoven always seems tro remember the dark forces that shaped both his life and his music. I thought at first listening that some of the tempi slow; until I realised I was hearing things I had previously missed in faster translations. The transitions from sombre dark moods to frolicking themes is effortlessly blended by this true master. All in all I can highly recommend this collection. With reference to another review; I play my collectiions usually through a Boze sound system from my iPod and I have found none of the problems of the reviewer. We are now in a digital age - like it or not. No one is going to record on wax and vinyl to give you the old fashioned atmosphere so live with it. Be grateful for the fact that everyone can now access these great performers at a reasonable cost for high quality recording.

Fantastic playing -- problem with sound!

Dear iTunes,

I bought this set on good faith that I would receive the highest-quality sound. Brendel indeed is marvellous, however I want to ask you why you have made the soft parts louder so that everything is within a very narrow band of dynamics -- why??? I can hear it on my headphones and on my speakers - I suppose this is a feature that appeals to people who listen to their music on an iPod on the train or something, but I want to hear the full dynamic contrast and not suddenly a lot of background noise because the music has gone quiet. What is the point of a 'subito forte' or a 'subito piano' when you ruin it with your 'auto-gain control' feature?

Please iTunes, can you get rid of this 'fix' especially for your classical music files?
Thank you
Jayson

Biography

Born: 05 January 1931 in Wiesenberg, Moravia

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

An internationally known, acclaimed, and respected classical pianist, Alfred Brendel was born on January 5, 1931, in Wiesemberg, Moravia (now the Czech Republic), spending his childhood in Yugoslavia and Austria. Far from a child prodigy, he started piano lessons at the age of six, and although he studied at Graz Conservatory, his formal training was effectively over by the time he was 16 years old. A year later he gave his first public piano recital. Brendel's first recording was released in 1972,...
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Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas & Concertos, Alfred Brendel
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  • £39.99
  • Genres: Classical, Music
  • Released: 01 January 2010

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