Music is kind of like go
— I love listening to experts dissect the esoterica of it and go on about subtleties my unschooled mind can never appreciate. Even understanding the vocabulary is tough — what does that mean, that one sonata is "thicker" than another or that the "color" is different?
The difference is that I know a tiny bit about go and actually enjoy it, whereas I have no musical taste at all, and less talent. I mean, sure, I listen to music, but I don't even know why rock fans say Nickelback sucks or Kurt Cobain was a genius. It's all noise to me, and some noise I like, some I don't. I like Beethoven and Mozart and Chopin, but to me it's all "piano music." I know, horrible, right?
So, this short, really an extended essay about the author's relationship with Beethoven's music, was kind of interesting to listen to but completely lost me, because my last experience with actually performing music was playing the clarinet in junior high school. (I sucked. Really, really sucked.) I've never even touched a piano except to plonk on the keys annoyingly. I could not distinguish between a good but not great piano player and a world-class virtuoso to save my life.
Jonathan Biss is apparently a world-class virtuoso. (Sorry, I'd never heard of him before.) And Beethoven's Shadow
is a 19,000-word musing on his musical education, and his project to play all of Beethoven's sonatas. I listened to it because it was a freebie on Audible, and I tend to download those if they look even half-interesting. This was about half-interesting to me, but I'm sure for a more refined and knowledgeable aficionado of Beethoven, or someone who actually knows how to play the piano
, it would be much more so.