Beethoven 1802, Heiligenstadt
"In 1802, Beethoven described in his now famous “Heiligenstadt Testament”—a letter written to his brothers Carl and Johann—the mental torment caused by encroaching deafness. Yet, despite his fear that he would never compose again, that same year saw him at his most dazzlingly creative. In this superbly performed album, French pianist Jonas Vitaud assembles some of those incredible piano works, masterpieces that inspire more hope than despair. The Variations that opens the collection contains some of Beethoven’s boldest and wittiest piano writing, including an ingenious fugue in the final minutes, while the final movement of the otherwise anguished Sonata No. 17, Op. 31 No. 2 is surely one of his most exquisite creations. Along with the playful 7 Bagatelles, Op. 33, Vitaud paints a brilliant portrait of a defiant genius.