By Alfred Brendel
During this definitive assortment of a well known pianist's writings—some of them by no means ahead of released in English—Alfred Brendel brings the readability and originality of expression that signify his performances to the published web page. even if discussing Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Liszt, Schoenberg, or different pianists, his reflections will end up valuable to severe piano gamers and listeners alike.
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Diagnosing contemporary American life with narcissistic personality disorder, the book describes a society and culture obsessed with viewing reality in terms of a mirror: Notwithstanding his occasional illusions of omnipotence, the narcissist depends on others to validate his selfesteem. He cannot live without an admiring audience. His freedom from family ties or institutional constraints does not free him to stand alone or to glory in his individuality. On the contrary, it contributes to his insecurity, which he can overcome only by seeing his “grandiose self ” reﬂected in the attention of others, or by attaching himself to those who radiate celebrity, power, and charisma.
He’s a real wizard at it. What he does is alchemy, really. What Q-Tip describes is an update on the dusty divine-rightof-the-visionary idea, which holds that certain works of art owe their status qua art not to the hands that rendered the brushstrokes but to the presiding genius that commissioned them. Andy Warhol’s Factory springs to mind, but so does Steve Jobs’Apple. Viewed in this light, Kanye’s self-comparison to Jobs is less far-fetched. Jobs’ singular genius lay in his capacity to creatively synthesize art, technology, and commerce – to unite disparate and ostensibly nonessential elements into products of transcendental beauty, eating up market share in the process.
Some of the square-ﬁt teeth are white, some are gold, all are nightmarish. The cover is an astonishing portrait of how the human ego might look if we could capture its likeness in a fractional moment of chaos. Which incarnation of Kanye is this supposed to be? Is this the suicidal genius weathering dark weeks of the soul in an icy bedroom, howling out 808s & Heartbreak in the dead of night? Is it the mind of the interloper standing on stage with Taylor Swift that night in 2009, in the millisecond when the poison dart boos ﬁrst began to penetrate his adrenaline barrier?
Alfred Brendel on Music: Collected Essays by Alfred Brendel