Fearless Instead of Reverent: Jonathan Biss In The Berlin Philharmonic Chamber Hall

04.22.12
Jonathan Biss
Der Tagesspiegel – Kurz& Kritisch

The piano recital series gives the Berlin Philharmonic chamber hall an impressive number of visitors. It has become common knowledge that astonishing and talented pianists sit at the Steinway. The 31-year-old Jonathan Biss fits perfectly into this series. He has just started to record all the Beethoven sonatas. His involvement with the 32-headed dragon is so compelling as some of his colleagues would like to play. For his recital debut Mr. Biss combines Beethoven three times and twice Janacek. Such a program can be played only by whom who is self-confident and certainly not afraid of confessions.

Mr. Biss, American professional musician in the third generation, is fearless in a modest way, of slender figure but nevertheless a powerful performer. As he opened Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 in C minor with no-frills forward thrust - sinewy, full of voices -, pulls directly into the spell. Mr. Biss emphasizes not excessive, the fragility that lies behind this vitality. In not every phrase lurks an abyss, but in each work it does. In Janacek's "In the Mist" he lifted the fog without taking the pieces of its basic searches, as impressive as the unspent lifting "Moonlight Sonata". Janacek's piano sonata between anticipation and sadness Mr. Biss develops from an intimate connoisseur, Beethoven's "Les Adieux" Sonata makes the reunion furious frenzy for questions. Big applause!