Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing

Alfred Brendel. Photo by Barbara Klemm.

Throwback Thursday Quote – Alfred Brendel


After reading this quote, I feel that there is some hope for us all.  The indented italicized material below is from NPR, who holds the copyright.  Click here to read the full interview.

Fred Child: I just have more question for you, Mr. Brendel, about yourself as a child. Your own biography states rather succinctly, “He was not a child prodigy, his parents were not musicians, there was no music in the house. He himself admits he is neither a good sight reader nor is he blessed with a phenomenal memory.” That sounds like not a particularly winning combination for a young artist today. Given your own career background, what advice would you give to young up-and-coming pianists?

Alfred Brendel: Well as for myself, I have often been asked, “How did I make it at all?” I do not quite understand and cannot explain it. On the other hand, in hindsight I am very happy that by this constellation I had to find out things for myself, to start my own chain of experiences. And maybe, for that matter, my development has been a long one, and perhaps is still going on.

 You might also enjoy these:

 An A-Z of the piano: Alfred Brendel’s notes from the concert hall

 Alfred Brendel’s official website, which includes an audio player of selected excerpts of his recordings.

And this whimsical moment from the “semi-retired” Mr. Brendel.


3 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday Quote – Alfred Brendel

  1. Great quote! And what a fabulous musician- very, very bright indeed. Though I do think he’s perhaps a little modest (or maybe faux-modest).



  2. A name not in my mind for decades. Brendel was the performer, I believe, of a complete recording set of all Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas. I tried making my way through the vinyl, each one, 1967-68-69. Never succeeded but did get exposed to 2 that stick: the Waldstein, Opus 53, C Major, and the Appassionata, Opus 57, F Minor. Your citation of all this stuff is golden delightful, finding Brendel clowning around like Victor B.


    • You’re right about the sonata set, I found it on CD a few years ago, it’s a great recording. And I couldn’t resist posting that video when I found it. Stay tuned for a post on a resources on Beethoven’s piano sonatas.


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