The Veil of the Order
Conversations with Martin Meyer
The book The Veil of the Order collects the conversations between the pianist and writer Alfred Brendel and journalist Martin Meyer which took place between January and July of 2000. The title refers to a sentence of Novalis («In a work of art, chaos must shimmer through the veil of order»), as explained in the first chapter, and aims to trace the artistic development of the pianist.
The Veil of the Order is divided into three chapters (Music, Interpretation, Writing), where the two voices converse freely, mixing the arguments as in a real conversation and sometimes returning to the same subject at different times, deepening different aspects. In this free, but never unorganized way, Meier and Brendel talk about the beginnings of the pianist, the importance of literature (also) for a musician, the memories of recordings or concerts, and especially of colleagues, such as Alfred Cortot and Wilhelm Kempff, and composers, among whom stands out Beethoven, Liszt, Schubert and Schumann, to whom is dedicated lenght discussion in the second part of The Veil of the Order. Besides the classics, some contemporary composers deserve attention, as in the case of Arnold Schonberg, whose name recurs quite often in the book.
These issues may be more or less detailed, sometimes they are more effective as cues that as studies in depth, but the reading is pleasant and unconventional, sometimes seasoned by irony or by the interesting and funny anecdotes of Brendel, who, as he repeated several times (even in the closing acknowledgements), is really surprised of the great attention reserved to him.