Young Brendel - The Vox Years (6cd)
Today Alfred Brendel is widely recognised as one of the greatest pianists of our day, but back in the 1950s and 1960s he was a secret known only to a select group of piano afficionados. In those days he made a series of recordings for the Vox label, which has kept them in print in various combinations ever since. This box set collects six hours' worth of the best. While he has a wider repertoire than most people acknowledge (from Bach to Schoenberg), Brendel's probably best-known for his recordings of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, and they form the heart of this collection. Brendel has also been one of the few pianists (along with Andras Schiff) to actively champion Haydn's piano music, and the recordings included here should go a long way to convincing any listener just how good they are. In the last three decades Brendel has pretty much re-recorded all of the works here (some more than once), in better sound and with even finer playing; but if you're a music lover on a budget, or just want to hear some remarkable performances, this box is well worth picking up at a bargain price.