Among the many enlightening and amusing things concert pianist Brendel says in this book-length interview is, "I specialize in what I am not playing." As followers of his career know, he never plays French or Russian music, adhering instead to Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Liszt; some Schumann and Brahms; and Schonberg's concerto. In these pages, they will find out his reasons for making such choices; his evaluation of how he and pianists he admires, as well as some he doesn't, have interpreted the Middle European heart of the piano literature; his estimation of the music he plays and doesn't play; and something of his life and his chief nonmusical pursuit: his sharply intelligent, lightly absurdist humorous poetry, which can be sampled in English in One Finger Too Many
(1999). Astonishingly for so erudite a musician, he was the first in his family to pursue music at all. Equally astonishing to his detractors, who dislike his intellectuality, may be his emphatic dedication to emotional expression in piano playing. Must reading for serious music lovers. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
"Me of All People is rather what one might expect from a talk with this pianist—it is erudite, wide-ranging and a little dry. . . . While parts of the book may be a little technical for non-musicians, the force of Brendel's intellect is a welcome change from the usual pabulum dished up in interviews with 'star' performers."—Washington Post Book World, 1/26/03
"It should go without saying that Me of All People, which summarizes much that Brendel has said elsewhere about composers, performing, and other pianists, is a compendium of observations that will entertain music lovers. It could serve as a model of how such books should be presented."—Michael Kimmelman, The New York Review of Books, Vol. L, No. 10
"This provocative book, written in his 70th year, reveals just how different Alfred Brendel was, and his, from his keyboard colleagues, in more respects than merely his unique mastery of the Central-European piano repertoire."—Michael Church, Financial Times, December 2002.
"I think you will find everything readable and stimulating."—Vroon, American Record Guide, Jan/Feb. 2003.
"Today, it is harder than ever for aspiring performers to sustain successful careers. For them, Me of All People offers much timely insight. Brendel . . . shares a lifetime of wisdom on such topics as the importance of virtuosity, the changing tastes of audiences, the relevance of critical reviews, and the challenges of recording. As a bonus, alert readers can glean valuable lessons about life."—Richard Bobo, American Music Teacher, December/January 2003/2004