Magazine article Gramophone

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas-No 3, Op 2 No 3

Magazine article Gramophone

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas-No 3, Op 2 No 3

Article excerpt

Beethoven

Piano Sonatas--No 3, Op 2 No 3; No 25, Op 79; No 27, Op 90; No 28, Op 101

Jonathan Biss pf

JB Recordings/Meyer Media (F) MM16030 (66' * DDD)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

As in Jonathan Biss's first four Beethoven discs, Vol 5 offers a mix of works from various periods. It adds up to a well-contrasted programme that would work just as well in recital as it does for home listening. In Op 2 No 3's opening movement, Biss revels in Beethoven's Allegro con brio directive albeit without Pollini's edgier demeanour and more pronounced fortes. The Adagio, however, gains in expressive complexity by virtue of Biss's scrupulous attention to articulation, dynamics and rests. Similarly, Biss shapes the Scherzo's detached phrases with the utmost specificity, never accenting or flattening out the main theme's up-beats. For all the finale's impressive poise and polish, Biss doesn't give in to the music's drive and bravura in the manner of Paavali Jumppanen's recording (Ondine, 5/14). If Schnabel's brand of 'sophisticated simplicity' eludes Biss (and most other pianists, to be fair) in Op 79, it's still a fine and straightforward reading. …

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