Franz Liszt, BEETHOVEN: Piano Sonatas Nos 30-32, Opp 109-111

Dawn Chan

By Dawn Chan

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Beethoven's final three sonatas can be a hard listen since they lack the classical music equivalent of the "hooks" found in some of Beethoven's more popular early sonatas (try opuses 13, 53 and 57). Indeed, the last sonatas have a Nobel Prize-worthy complexity, as well as the kooky, prophetic flair of a genius who, growing old and deaf, no longer cares what other people think. Seven minutes into the Arietta — loosely formatted as a theme and variations — you'll find a section strangely prescient of the boogie-woogie, followed three minutes later by a hypnotic segment of minimalist alien-music. Unsurprisingly, few interpretations begin to do justice to these thorny works. With his straightforward style and clean technique, pianist Jeno Jando does the next best thing — he achieves a transcendent moment every now and then.