Norway’s Klassisk Magazine reviews Volume 3 of the Beethoven Journey

“The recordings to date in Leif Ove Andsnes’ ‘Beethoven Journey’ have been revelatory, bringing up each work as fresh as the day it was written, thanks both to Andsnes’ solo work and the orchestral playing. (It has been a literal journey, too: Andsnes and his colleagues have been touring these programmes around the globe.) This final leg of the journey is just as good: one hardly expects someone to find something new in some of the best-known music ever written, but this reading of the Fifth Concerto sparkles with life. There’s a paradox here: it’s obvious that an enormous amount of study has gone into these interpretations – rhythms have been rethought, textures clarified, balances reconsidered – and yet it all sounds as natural as a spring morning. I see that there are currently 322 recordings of the Concerto on the market; I haven’t heard them all, of course, but I don’t know one that has an equal shiver of excitement running through it; this one brings a real tingle. The Choral Fantasia is less familiar, of course, but here, too, Andsnes’ playing is both compelling and utterly natural – as are the many solo contributions from the members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the urgently communicative closing chorus from the Prague Philharmonic Choir. The recorded sound is beyond criticism, and Jürgen Otten contributes a booklet essay that also gets you to think about the music from a fresh angle. Performances like these stir many emotions, of course, but chief among them is joy – sheer unfettered elation that will have your heart knocking against the inside of your ribcage. By the time you read this, all three volumes of ‘The Beethoven Journey’ will have been released as a boxed set. If you’ve hesitated before now – after all, who needs another set of the Beethoven piano concertos? – do acquire this box: it will make you feel happy to be alive.”

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