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Alfred Brendel

One can never accuse Alfred Brendel of being dull. He has, on occasion, been a bit pedantic, a bit too conscious of making a point to make great music, but that phase seems to have been jettisoned.

Last week he gave a probing, majestic, powerfully delineated account of Liszt's Second Piano Concerto (with the Cincinnati Symphony under the pointed direction of Michael Gielen). A few nights later, again at Carnegie Hall, his recital boasted an impetuous, nervously electric account of the Berg sonata; a dreamy, rhapsodic performance of Schumann's Fantasy in C; and some full-blooded, cool, yet richly textured Liszt (''Funeraille'' and two ''Legendes'').

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At times his playing stints a bit on color, particularly in the Liszt, but he projects his viewpoint with power and clarity, and more often than not, that viewpoint is deeply provocative: One actually leaves knowing that he or she will never quite view that piece in the same way again.