Leif Ove Andsnes has just returned from London following the first leg of his autumn recital tour which began in Spain and has received astonishing reviews:

“Since most things of depth, quality and true beauty have begun to disappear from the world to be replaced by the superficial, banal and spectacular, finding a pianist who dispenses with all things superfluous in his interpretation is a joy and comfort” wrote  Codalario.com from Madrid. El Pais agreed: “Andsnes has produced an extremely original programme, which contained authentic rarities, such as five pieces by Jean Sibelius or a composition by Jörg Widmann inspired by Schubert …  all played superlatively by the Norwegian.”

“Which pianist dares to start with a Sibelius selection?” asked Die Presse in Vienna. “But who, if not the most important Norwegian pianist of the present day, should dare to do so? Especially since these pieces are not easy to portray. One must already be particularly familiar with Sibelius’s style and the Norwegian way of life in order to get close to his idiom. For Andsnes apparently no problem. So naturally he tracked the moods of his varied selection of several cycles, emphasized their peculiar lyricism and presented their virtuoso outbursts brilliantly.”

“In lesser hands Jörg Widmann’s Idyll and Abyss of 2009 would simply sound like the homaged Schubert with wrong notes” wrote theartsdesk.com from London. “But around musical clock tunes frantically whirring in the extreme treble, Andsnes gave atmospheric space and the right depth to sonorities at either end of the keyboard. This was but a prelude to the very real thing – the three piano pieces from Schubert’s last year grouped together by Brahms 40 years later. The abysses between the main idyll of the central Allegretto were lightly viewed, but none the less startling for all that, the principal theme’s shift to the minor done unobtrusively with a master’s touch.”

With Beethoven’s Tempest Sonata “Andsnes marked the highest moment of his recital” wrote El Pais “especially in the masterfully graduated Allegretto final, which in itself would be sufficient to consider him one of the best pianists of today.”

To conclude – “Andsnes brings to Chopin a classical sensibility allied to the most ethereal of touches.” wrote the Financial Times “adorning Chopin’s bel canto melody with decoration of rare delicacy. His First Ballade combined a glowing beauty and a fearless but never reckless technique — the coda precipitous but never precarious. The audience’s rapt attention was rewarded with two encores, Chopin’s intimate Third Ballade and a ravishing Sibelius Impromptu (Op. 5 No. 5).”

 

The tour resumes in Leipzig on 8 November and is followed by performanes in CologneAmsterdamLucerneTurinMilanAntwerpBerlin  and Munich.

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