“I DONT WANT to become bigger than this,” says Steinway Artist Leif Ove Andsnes, indicating the space around him, making a series of tight, vigorous circles with his hand as if to summon a small tornado. The gesture is apropos, given the contained, intense tornado of music that spun through the four days of the second annual Rosendal Chamber Music Festival, held in August of last year, which left the pianist exhausted but happy.
By not becoming “bigger,” Andsnes is speaking to the size of the casually dressed crowd, the length of the festival, the importance of maintaining the intimacy of chamber music — but also perhaps something more: the tight, cozy, even insular nature of Rosendal itself, reached via ferry from the airport in neighboring Bergen. Rosendal is set dramatically in a lush valley and boasts the Baroniet Rosendal Manor Houses and Gardens, which date from 1661. Time passes slowly here.
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