Notes and Editorial Reviews
When Jonathan Biss played the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 24 in his Philadelphia Orchestra debut last spring, a distinctive voice was projected. He played with a concentrated intensity and seriousness of purpose that was beautifully tempered by fresh, sprightly vigor. It was only when the gangly twenty-three-year-old marched onto the stage, and, finally, flashed a big, delighted grin in the face of a genuinely enthusiastic audience, that his sweetly awkward post-adolescent youthfulness became apparent. Once seated at the keyboard, a timeless engagement with Mozart displaced any superfluous distractions.
This recital, from EMI’s Debut series, captures much of the spirit of that live performance. There is a clarity and sense of
momentum that works very well in the Beethoven, which springs to life. There are a few moments in the Schumann where the last degree of mystery and repose eludes Biss, but this is a quibble. I don’t think it is at all insignificant that Biss was a student of Leon Fleisher, whose students frequently reflect his intensely brilliant musicality. Above all, there is a thoughtfulness, even nobility about this playing that makes Biss stand out from the dozens of other fine young pianists who are tossed out into the sea of public music-making every year. Keep an ear open for this one.
Peter Burwasser, FANFARE
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