Renowned pianist Jonathan Biss performs from a place within himself where skill, mind, and heart thrive in perfect synchronicity. A dedicated fan of the masters, Biss has undertaken the recording of Beethoven’s full suite of piano sonatas. A natural teacher, Biss is capable of describing beautifully what music is meant to do to player and to audience. In Beethoven’s Shadow Biss describes his love of and voyage into the world of music, and focuses especially on his ghost-mentor, Beethoven. His explanation of Beethoven’s mission and divine successes resound with love. Biss cares about what the composers he loves meant to achieve with each piece. To play is to honor. Narrator Jeff Woodman’s warm voice celebrates this sincere work.
The American pianist Jonathan Biss is known to audiences throughout the world for his artistry, musical intelligence and deeply felt interpretations. What is less known until now is that Jonathan Biss writes about music in a most compelling and engaging way. For anyone who has ever enjoyed a Beethoven concert or a Beethoven recording or one of the many films about Beethoven, this audiobook is an inspiring listening experience. For those of you who have heard Beethoven in concert or listened to a Beethoven recording, Jonathan Biss takes you behind the scenes of those performances. If your musical interests are much broader than Beethoven or if your interests focus on the creative process , this will fully engage you.
“On April 24th, 2007, Beethoven’s Sonata Opus 109 made me lose my mind.” So Jonathan Biss opens this book. He goes on to describe the complex and by no means all positive impact of the technology of the recording process on the experience of performing and listening to music. He also describes the legacy of generations of teachers. You are there when Leon Fleisher teaches Jonathan Biss just as Artur Schnabel taught Leon Fleisher before him. You experience the growth of a talented young musician as he becomes a fully mature artist. Most compelling of all, Jonathan Biss creates an almost spiritual introduction to the making and experiencing of music. He has, in effect, invited the reader into the world of the composer and the performer.
Jonathan Biss includes an annotated audio guide to deepen the experience of anyone who enjoys listening to classical music.
It is an unforgettable experience.
Jonathan Biss has recently begun a nine year project of recording all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas.
Biss' prose is good. I definitely got a good sense of the artists experience of Beethoven, and his insight into other artists thinking is fascinating. But the reading is dry and artificial, like someone reading marketing copy for a radio commercial. I could imagine the Rockwell Turbo Encabulator as I listened.
There’s no musical accompaniment to the text. The more I listened the less I could believe that anyone would produce this audiobook without the music. To have the author himself playing selections would make the most sense but any recordings of the relevant pieces would give invaluable context to this book. I’m dumbfounded that it wasn’t included. The book itself is a useful memoir, especially for musicians. But I imagine a physical copy would be far more useful than this production.
A book of elation, really, perhaps bordering on boasting, but who can contain the joy of a successful life as a pianist? I didn't hold any boasting against him. The book covered what it felt like to receive lineage lessons to being in demand to make recordings of the full catalog of Beethoven's sonata's, so it is a nice slice of such a lucky mindframe.
I've listened to a lecture series from Jonathan Biss and was awe-struck by his thorough analysis the valuable insights. This book was like a cherry on top and really strengthened my love and admiration for Beethoven and my admiration and gratitude for Mr Biss and his contribution to our world and my life. Thank you.
I've never seen a more detailed and logical description of the rewards and challenges of musical performance.
If you want substance and not just a collection of anecdotes, this is the book for you.
What a wonderful, insightful story on the need to express through music, with all its considerations; passion, precedence and perfection among others. Jonathan Biss is an amazing musician and scholar focused on Beethoven and his piano sonatas. (he offers a class from Curtis on Coursera on this subject). He reveals his story using history and anecdotes with compelling thoughts from his teacher and teacher's teacher . Great insights for all musicians and lovers of the muse. iThe reading is fine but having heard Mr. Biss speak I really wished it was he that delivered his story.
As someone that just finished Jan Swafford's epic Beethoven biography and listened to 100s of hours of symphonies, quarters and sonatas in recent months, I found Biss's personal reflections on approaching Beethoven as a performer to be fascinating. To set expectations, this was a Kindle Single, so it's more like a (very) long, high-quality article than a book. If you've ever wondered what's going on in the mind of the performer as they play one of LVB's masterworks, this gives an interesting slice.