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Alfred Brendel

Kirsty Young talks to pianist Alfred Brendel.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the classical pianist, Alfred Brendel.

A performer of world renown, his career spans seven decades, and he is particularly famous for his interpretations of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Liszt. An Austrian who's lived in the UK for many years, he was born in 1931 in what is now the Czech Republic. Although not from a musical family, he began playing the piano aged six and gave his first recital aged 17. Largely self-taught, in addition to his live performances, he's enjoyed a long and successful recording career. Revered for his intellect and individual and original take on the world, he is also a published poet and essayist.

He says, "I regard pessimism as a sign of intelligence. Optimism is a very welcome and life-enhancing feature, a gift, but not necessarily a realistic outlook. I am a pessimist who enjoys being pleasantly surprised."

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Fri 15 Nov 2013 09:00

Music Played

  • George Frideric Handel

    Al lampo dell' armi (from Handel's Giulio Cesare)

    Performer: David Daniels. Performer: Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Performer: Sir Roger Norrington.
    • Handel: Operatic Arias.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Piano Concerto No. 5 in F minor – 2nd movement

    Performer: Edwin Fischer. Performer: Edwin Fischer Chamber Orchestra.
    • Bach: Piano Concertos Nos 1, 4 & 5.
    • EMI.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Zeffiretti lusinghieri (from Idomeneo)

    Performer: Sena Jurinac. Performer: Glyndebourne Festival Orchestra. Performer: Fritz Busch.
    • Mozart: Idomeneo.
    • URANIA.
  • Joseph Haydn

    String Quartet in D major, Op. 20/4 – 4th movement

    Performer: The Lindsays (Lindsay String Quartet).
    • Haydn: String Quartets vol. 4 The Lindsays.
    • ASV.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Ludwig van Beethoven

      String Quartet No.14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131 – 1st movement

      Performer: Busch Quartet.
      • Beethoven: String Quartets Nos. 12 & 14.
      • BIDDULPH.
  • Franz Schubert

    String Quartet No. 13 in A minor – 3rd movement

    Performer: Kolisch Quartet.
    • Quartet for Strings No. 13, D 804, A Minor, Rosamunde / Schubert.
  • Gustav Mahler

    Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht (from Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen)

    Performer: Dietrich Fischer‐Dieskau. Performer: Karl Engel.
    • Mahler: Songs of a Wayfarer.
    • BBC.
  • Arnold Schoenberg

    String Trio, Op 45

    Performer: LaSalle Quartet.
    • Schoenberg: Verklarte Nacht, String Trio.
  • Book Choice

    • Aphorisms - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  • Luxury Choice

    • Romanesque chapel adjacent to Montmajour Abbey in Provence


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Alfred Brendel
Producer Cathy Drysdale


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