Classical review: Jonathan Biss's piano recital

All said and played, Schumann, at the program’s end, was the recital’s consolation prize.

November 19, 2017 21:28
1 minute read.
A piano

A piano. (photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


The most recent work in the recital of pianist Jonathan Biss, a guest of the Jerusalem Music Center Mishkenot Sha’ananim, was American composer Leon Kirchner’s Interlude II.

Even though it is a contemporary piece, it sounds conservative, listener-friendly, without harsh dissonances, indeed almost Romantic.

It appeared as though Schumann’s Fantasie Op. 17 was closest to the pianist’s heart and sensibilities. The composer’s characteristic nervosity and tortured soul, as well as his moving lyricism, were conveyed with persuasive sensibility and intensity.

This is more than can be said about the preceding sonatas by Mozart, K. 310, and Beethoven, Op. 131/2 (Tempest). These were performed with sportsmanlike speed, as though competing with an invisible contestant to arrive first, ignoring Mozart’s prescription “Allegro maestoso” and storming ahead with an unmajestic prestissimo. Phrases flowed into each other without articulation or even a split-second breathing space.

In Mozart’s sonata, Viennese elegance was conspicuous by its absence. So was the melodiousness, in passages by this composer famous also for his arias and songs.

Beethovenian energies were appropriately expressed, but the recurring backbone motif of the fast last movement remained indiscernible.

All said and played, Schumann, at the program’s end, was the recital’s consolation prize.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Wildfires in Mevo Modi'm, May 23, 2019
May 26, 2019
Jewish Agency to provide aid to victims of Israeli wildfires