Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto must come with the territory if you’re a Norwegian pianist, yet Leif Ove Andsnes hasn’t played it for a dozen years. All that changed yesterday evening in Tivoli Gardens, kicking off a run of 21 performances around the globe this autumn, mostly touring with the Oslo Philharmonic, to mark the work’s 150th anniversary. What marked out this performance as especially noteworthy was that Andsnes was playing an 1867 Blüthner with period instrument band Concerto Copenhagen, in the very city in which Grieg’s concerto premiered.Leif Ove Andsnes and Concerto Copenhagen in rehearsal at Tivoli

Andsnes has form playing period instrument Grieg, having recorded a selection of the Lyric Pieces on the piano at the composer’s Bergen home, Troldhaugen, in 2001. But how would such a mighty concerto fare in period colours? Despite a hollow bass A after the grand opening flourish, the Blüthner stood up pretty well, with hardly any brittleness and a sweet kernel in its middle register. Immaculately tailored and sitting straight-backed, Andsnes gave a remarkably fresh – and refreshing – account, devoid of the bombastic pounding that some pianists can inflict upon this evergreen concerto.

Read the full review at Bachtrack.com

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