For Leif Ove Andsnes and the Maher Chamber Orchestra, September 15 brings the release of the third and final recording of their Beethoven Journey series for Sony Classical. Completing the cycle with accounts of Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto (“Emperor”) and “Choral Fantasy,” both recorded live in concert at the Prague Spring Festival, this once again features the pianist playing and directing the orchestra from the keyboard. The full Beethoven Journey series will be issued as a boxed set on October 28.
The series has already proved a resounding success. Andsnes’s first Beethoven Journey album, on which he and the MCO play the composer’s First and Third Piano Concertos, was named iTunes’ Best Instrumental Album of 2012, awarded Belgium’s Prix Caecilia, and hailed by BBC Music magazine as “an all-round winner of a disc, with superlative playing from both soloist and orchestra, and a recorded sound to match.” Similarly, on the second volume, on which they present the Second and Fourth Piano Concertos, Andsnes impressed the New York Times with his “elegant, vibrant performances,” while the UK’s Telegraph, in a five-star review, concluded: “This leg of Andsnes’s interpretative journey is a landmark of artistic integrity, intelligence, and musical insight.”