Pianists: A Later Vintage

Rain thrummed on the huge tent twice during the performance, but the audience at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado hardly seemed to notice. Onstage, the pianist leaned more intently over the keyboard and subtly adjusted his tone to bring the music out over the sound of the shower. Wet or dry, it was an excellent performance of Beethoven's last and perhaps greatest piano sonata (in C minor, Opus 111), a piece that alternates between demonic fury and lyric contemplation and requires more than mere competence to bring off.

The man who...

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