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Being Brendel

The great pianist's life seems to have passed him by without emotional impact. But he turns out not to be the "intellectual" pianist that people imagine.

By Ivan Hewett   January 2003

Book: The veil of order Author: Alfred Brendel in conversation with Martin Meyer Price: (Faber & Faber, ?25)

Alfred Brendel is one of Britain’s central European treasures. He, in turn, likes the British for their imperviousness to fanaticism and sense of the absurd. The first section of this book of conversations with the journalist Martin Meyer is called “Life,” and it reveals Brendel’s lifelong attachment to absurdity.

He had a peripatetic childhood, moving from one part of central Europe to another, including a spell on the Dalmatian island of Krk, where his father ran a hotel. He remembers two cabaret…

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