In Thursday’s (1/5) Daily Telegraph (London), Ivan Hewitt writes about pianist Jonathan Biss’s new e-book, Beethoven’s Shadow, “a meditation on the art of performing Beethoven’s piano sonatas. He’s following in the footsteps of great pianists who’ve written about performing Beethoven, above all Artur Schnabel, who made the first complete recording of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas in the mid-1930s…. Why did he do it? ‘Two reasons, I guess,’” says Biss in the article. “‘I wanted to approach the thing I love from a different angle, so it wasn’t just about giving concerts and making recordings. And I also wanted to offer people a way into this incredible music.’ … Biss is a remarkably articulate musician, but when I ask what [Beethoven’s] elusive ‘spiritual’ quality consists in, words fail him. ‘Oh Lord, if I knew the answer to that I wouldn’t need to play the music!’ … ‘My model for the reader was someone who knew they loved music in general, but certainly not someone who would know how Beethoven’s sonata Opus 109 goes. I didn’t want to preach to the converted.’”

Posted January 6, 2012