Alfred Brendel is one of my favorite pianists, and since his retirement a few years ago, I’ve been expecting a big box set of his works. But Brendel doesn’t seem interested in that exhaustive approach, and it may be a good thing. Not that he hasn’t made lots of recordings, but sometimes, in the “integral” box sets, there are recordings that just aren’t good enough.
Decca recently released an 18-disc set called Alfred Brendel: Concerto Recordings. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) The back of the box says “These recordings were personally selected by the artist,” similar to Brendel’s Artist’s Choice series some years back.
The set includes his Mozart concertos (though three of the concertos in this set are different from his integral box set of Mozart piano concertos on Decca/Philips), along with works by Beethoven, Weber, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, and Schönberg. If you’re an Alfred Brendel fan, you probably own many of these recordings; I have the Mozart concertos on CD, and bought the Beethoven by download some years back. But it will be nice to have this set, which also includes notes by Brendel himself. If you aren’t familiar with Alfred Brendel’s concerto recordings, his Mozart and Beethoven are excellent. It’s definitely worth getting this set.