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Publisher's Summary

The American pianist Jonathan Biss is known to audiences throughout the world for his artistry, musical intelligence and deeply felt interpretations. What is less known until now is that Jonathan Biss writes about music in a most compelling and engaging way. For anyone who has ever enjoyed a Beethoven concert or a Beethoven recording or one of the many films about Beethoven, this audiobook is an inspiring listening experience. For those of you who have heard Beethoven in concert or listened to a Beethoven recording, Jonathan Biss takes you behind the scenes of those performances. If your musical interests are much broader than Beethoven or if your interests focus on the creative process , this will fully engage you.

“On April 24th, 2007, Beethoven’s Sonata Opus 109 made me lose my mind.” So Jonathan Biss opens this book. He goes on to describe the complex and by no means all positive impact of the technology of the recording process on the experience of performing and listening to music. He also describes the legacy of generations of teachers. You are there when Leon Fleisher teaches Jonathan Biss just as Artur Schnabel taught Leon Fleisher before him. You experience the growth of a talented young musician as he becomes a fully mature artist. Most compelling of all, Jonathan Biss creates an almost spiritual introduction to the making and experiencing of music. He has, in effect, invited the reader into the world of the composer and the performer.

Jonathan Biss includes an annotated audio guide to deepen the experience of anyone who enjoys listening to classical music.

It is an unforgettable experience.

Jonathan Biss has recently begun a nine year project of recording all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas.

©2011 Jonathan Biss (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Beethoven's Shadow

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Without the music itself this makes no sense as an audiobook

There’s no musical accompaniment to the text. The more I listened the less I could believe that anyone would produce this audiobook without the music. To have the author himself playing selections would make the most sense but any recordings of the relevant pieces would give invaluable context to this book. I’m dumbfounded that it wasn’t included. The book itself is a useful memoir, especially for musicians. But I imagine a physical copy would be far more useful than this production.

Not recommended.

11 people found this helpful

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Beethoven shadow

Mentions only op Numbers. Only uderstandable by experts.
No audio examples. A waste of audiobooks capabiliries
Written by an expert for experts
If you have less than 10 years of piano lessons, dont waste your time and money

5 people found this helpful

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Of greatest value to performers

As a lover of Beethoven, I found Biss's own obvious devotion to Beethoven to be moving. Professional musicians will find it most useful, since he is discussing the choices of a performer rather than simply analyzing Beethoven's music. It leaves me with a very high opinion of the sincerity and devotion of Jonathan Biss to Beethoven, and I will look for his CDs of the Beethoven cycle.

5 people found this helpful

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A must for piano and Beethoven enthusiasts

I've listened to a lecture series from Jonathan Biss and was awe-struck by his thorough analysis the valuable insights. This book was like a cherry on top and really strengthened my love and admiration for Beethoven and my admiration and gratitude for Mr Biss and his contribution to our world and my life. Thank you.

5 people found this helpful

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A Serious Musician

Jonathan Biss goes as far as humanly possible to describe a musician's relationship to music in terms accessible to non-musicians.

4 people found this helpful

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Required material for musicians!

I've never seen a more detailed and logical description of the rewards and challenges of musical performance.
If you want substance and not just a collection of anecdotes, this is the book for you.

4 people found this helpful

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inside Performance

What a wonderful, insightful story on the need to express through music, with all its considerations; passion, precedence and perfection among others. Jonathan Biss is an amazing musician and scholar focused on Beethoven and his piano sonatas. (he offers a class from Curtis on Coursera on this subject). He reveals his story using history and anecdotes with compelling thoughts from his teacher and teacher's teacher . Great insights for all musicians and lovers of the muse. iThe reading is fine but having heard Mr. Biss speak I really wished it was he that delivered his story.

4 people found this helpful

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Riveting

This book had my full attention beginning to end! Well paced, knowledgeable, and instructive. Heartfelt.

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  • 03-17-15

An insightful performer's review of Beethoven

As someone that just finished Jan Swafford's epic Beethoven biography and listened to 100s of hours of symphonies, quarters and sonatas in recent months, I found Biss's personal reflections on approaching Beethoven as a performer to be fascinating. To set expectations, this was a Kindle Single, so it's more like a (very) long, high-quality article than a book. If you've ever wondered what's going on in the mind of the performer as they play one of LVB's masterworks, this gives an interesting slice.

2 people found this helpful

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Biss Fully Grasps Beethoven’s Spirit

I was fortunate enough to take on online Curtis Conservatory course on the Beethoven Sonatas as he was recording them and it opened up so much in terms of understanding and enjoying Beethoven, especially the sonatas. This audio offering, Beethoven’s Shadow is a primer for his multi-semester course and a pleasurable refresher for me. The orator does a very good job though it would have been nice to hear Jonathan’s voice read his material. I highly recommend this Audible offering for any music-lover. I recommend listening to one or more of the sonatas after digesting this material; it truly does make a difference in tangible and delightful ways.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nicholas
  • 09-28-19

Excellent insight to the artists mind

I found this insightful. It deepened my knowledge and appreciation of Beethoven and simultaneously opened the door to the mind of a craftsman explaining his awe and analysis of the great composer he channels so graciously.

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  • Greg Gauthier
  • 09-15-16

Fascinating but dryly read

Biss' prose is good. I definitely got a good sense of the artists experience of Beethoven, and his insight into other artists thinking is fascinating. But the reading is dry and artificial, like someone reading marketing copy for a radio commercial. I could imagine the Rockwell Turbo Encabulator as I listened.