Desert Island Discs

BBC Radio 4

Society & Culture, Personal Journals

Chart Positions

Personal Journals 34

Desert Island Discs was created by Roy Plomley in 1942, and the format is simple: a guest is invited by Kirsty Young to choose the eight records they would take with them to a desert island


Alfred Brendel

November 15th, 2013

Episode 374 of 567 episodes

Kirsty Young's castaway is the classical pianist, Alfred Brendel. A performer of world renown, his career spans seven decades, and he is particularly famous for his interpretations of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Liszt. An Austrian who's lived in the UK for many years, he was born in 1931 in what is now the Czech Republic. Although not from a musical family, he began playing the piano aged six and gave his first recital aged 17. Largely self-taught, in addition to his live performances, he's enjoyed a long and successful recording career. Revered for his intellect and individual and original take on the world, he is also a published poet and essayist. He says, "I regard pessimism as a sign of intelligence. Optimism is a very welcome and life-enhancing feature, a gift, but not necessarily a realistic outlook. I am a pessimist who enjoys being pleasantly surprised." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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