Jonathan Biss has embarked on a nine-year, nine-disc project of recording the complete cycle of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. Considered the cornerstone of the pianist’s repertoire, the cycle comprises thirty-two sonatas in a range of emotional expressions. In addition, Biss’s e-book about his experience recording the sonatas, Beethoven’s Shadow, is available on Amazon.
“Beethoven’s sonatas have been a constant presence in my life for nearly as long as I have been playing the piano. ‘Presence’ is too mild a word, though: ‘force’ comes a bit closer to conveying the space he occupies in my heart and head. For 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.
“In 2011, I began recording the sonatas; my plan is to record all 32 by 2020. I hope and expect that my relationship with Beethoven will continue for many years beyond then, but the intensity of my current immersion with his music has become one of the most profound experiences of my life.”