The following article is more of an appreciation than a review, since the concert in question was presented at a venue for which the author also writes program notes. The reader is thus notified of the possible conflict of interest.
Chopin, Preludes, B. Ganz
Ganz still has the impeccable hands of a competitive pianist, taking daring tempi in the outer movements of the first Beethoven sonata, the "Pathétique" (C minor, op. 13) and with absolute clarity down to the tiniest note. The surface perfection, though, was not the source of the performance's appeal, as Ganz told a story with the score, one of suffering in the Grave section of the first movement, balanced by a revolutionary fervor in the contrasting Allegro, an elegiac lyricism in the famous slow movement, caressing unusual harmonies and melodic turns, and a crisp, even merciless finale. It was in the other Beethoven sonata, the always surprising op. 109, that Ganz made his mark, with the serene main theme of the first movement unbalanced by parenthetical outbursts, a feeling matched in the mercurial middle movement. The sublime concluding variations, perhaps the composer's greatest achievement in this form that obsessed him in his final years, elicited from Ganz a riot of ideas, each one standing on its own and yet part of a continuous narrative.
Cecelia Porter, Pianist Brian Ganz’s fresh take on Debussy, Beethoven (Washington Post, September 16)