The UK’s Telegraph pays tribute to the completion of the Beethoven Journey on CD giving Volume 3 five out of five stars:

“This is the final stop in Leif Ove Andsnes’s Beethoven Journey. Nowadays Andsnes prefers to concentrate on specific projects rather than trailing from venue to venue with different repertoire, and for the past several seasons his focus has been on Beethoven’s piano concertos. As far as CDs of the enterprise are concerned, 2012 brought the release of the First and Third Concertos, followed in 2013 by the Second and Fourth. Both of them are compelling testaments to Andsnes’s depth of study, his thorough immersion in the music and his ability both to communicate its spirit and to draw the ear into its expressive subtlety.

“The magnetism of his interpretations has been just as evident in the live performances that have featured prominently on this odyssey. In November I heard the Second, Third and Fourth Concertos at the Lucerne Piano Festival, and, last May, returning to his home country for the Bergen Festival, Andsnes played the two works on this new disc, the Fifth Concerto and the Choral Fantasy, with, incidentally, an even better chorus – the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir – than the one recorded here.

“While received opinion has it that the complexity of the Fourth and Fifth Concertos necessitates a conductor on the rostrum rather than a pianist directing from the keyboard, Andsnes has shown – in concert circumstances – that both gain from his approach in terms of intimacy and instrumental rapport.

“The Mahler Chamber Orchestra has been Andsnes’s more or less constant travelling companion on this Beethoven journey, and here again it shares and responds to his insight in all sorts of ways that make you listen and attend to this familiar music with fresh ears. Andsnes has no time for the “Emperor” tag traditionally attached to the Fifth, because, as other commentators have pointed out and as we can hear for ourselves, so much of the musical discourse takes place in passages of quiet reflection rather than on a podium of pomposity. There is no absence of weight here or of rhythmic sinew, but the range of softer dynamics and the flux of light and shade are truly remarkable.

“With Andsnes, every note counts, and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra complements him in definition and refined phrasing. These are Beethoven performances of arresting maturity, stylistic acumen and utter delight.”

Source: The Daily Telegraph

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