A Recital: Jonathan Biss plays Beethoven Sonatas IBack To Calendar
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BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 15 in D major, op. 28, “Pastoral”
BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 20 in G major, op. 49, no. 2
BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 3 in C major, op. 2, no. 3
BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 27 in E minor, op. 90
BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major, op. 101
For Jonathan Biss, “playing Beethoven does not feel like a matter of choice: his concerns are so all-encompassing, his mastery so astonishing, his personality so combative (yet, somehow, also so sympathetic), one cannot look (listen?) away.”
Last summer in Aspen, Biss began his journey of playing all thirty-two sonatas over three years. He resumes this summer with the calm and lilting Sonata No. 15, nicknamed “Pastoral” by its London publisher. In spite of its later number, the Sonata No. 20 was composed around the same time as the Third Sonata. Beethoven’s brother published it a decade later against the composer’s wishes. Had Beethoven a say in the matter, he probably would have called it a “sonatina” due to its modest proportions. The Third Sonata was dedicated to Haydn and is often considered Beethoven’s first truly virtuoso sonata. Two middle period works take up the program’s second half; the two-movement Sonata No. 27 was written after a four-year hiatus from sonatas, symphonies, and string quartet composition. Beethoven was almost totally deaf when he wrote the Sonata No. 28, which he described as “a series of impressions and reveries.”
See Biss play more Beethoven piano sonatas on August 8.