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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.
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.
A book of elation, really, perhaps bordering on boasting, but who can contain the joy of a successful life as a pianist? I didn't hold any boasting against him. The book covered what it felt like to receive lineage lessons to being in demand to make recordings of the full catalog of Beethoven's sonata's, so it is a nice slice of such a lucky mindframe.