Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Vol. 9

Jonathan Biss concludes his nine-year, nine-volume exploration of Beethovens piano sonatas with a recording for our times, one that asks profound questions about mankinds fragile existence. The final album in his critically acclaimed cycle, set for release on Orchid Classics, brings together three works that each stand as the last of a group of three sonatas. The American pianist begins with a masterwork of Beethovens early creative period, the Sonata No.7 in D major, Op.10 No.3. Its stop-start finale, punctuated by silences, prefaces a compelling interpretation of the Sonata No.18 in E flat major, Op.31 No.3, a work that blends unsettling introspection and playful high spirits. Biss ends his Beethoven odyssey with the Sonata No.32 in C minor Op.111, the composers farewell to the genre. It is a beautiful irony that these pieces feature so many more questions than they do answers that they offer so much more uncertainty than certainty, observes Jonathan Biss in his eloquent essay for the albums booklet. It is especially fascinating given that this is Beethoven, of all people: a composer of unmatched inner conviction and intensity. And yet, ultimately, this music is as much about his vulnerability as it is about his strength.