Originating from a BBC TV program, Alfred Brendel in Portrait offers a wonderfully warm and detailed picture of the great pianist, on the occasion of his 70th birthday year.

Originating from a BBC TV program, Alfred Brendel in Portrait offers a wonderfully warm and detailed picture of the great pianist, on the occasion of his 70th birthday year. The main disc of the two-DVD set features the 70-minute documentary Man and Mask, as well as a half-hour of Brendel and Simon Rattle at the piano discussing Beethoven's Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3. The companion disc showcases Brendel in solo performance at the Snape Maltings Concert Hall in Suffolk, England, playing three of his specialties—Mozart, Haydn, and Schubert. It's a superlative production throughout, highlighting not only Brendel's renowned intellectual depth but his rare appreciation for the absurd (including readings of his own humorous poetry). The settings include Brendel's native Austria and home in London, with humanizing reminiscences from his family and longtime friends. Brendel in Portrait is an exemplary DVD production and an ideal accompaniment to the various new CD releases (Schubert, Mozart) and reissues (Beethoven, Mozart) from Philips this year marking the pianist's milestone. The Opus Arte imprint is newly distributed in the U.S. by Naxos/HNH International.—BB

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