The New York Times reviews Leif Ove Andsnes at the Mostly Mozart Festival

“The Mostly Mozart Festival, having opened its 50th season a week ago with “The Illuminated Heart,” a staged production of excerpts from Mozart operas, settled into something more routine a few days later, with its music director, Louis Langrée, conducting the festival orchestra at Alice Tully Hall. But routine has meant different things at various stages in the history of the now adventuresome festival, not all of them bad.

“This orchestral program, heard in the second of three performances, on Friday, was a gem in its simplicity and symmetry. In each half, a masterpiece of Mozart followed a relatively short work of Bach, in a modern transcription, contrasting Bach’s peerless mastery of counterpoint with Mozart’s deft adaptation of its principles in a wholly different style … However differentiated the Bach pieces were by their arrangers, the two Mozart works — the Piano Concerto No. 20, with Leif Ove Andsnes as soloist, and the Symphony No. 38 (“Prague”) — spoke to each other intimately … The concerto (1785), in D minor, opens with breathtaking urgency and suspense, as the upper strings push forward a quiet syncopated figure, the first violins sounding an insistent D. The air of mystery thus created carries through much of the work before dissipating completely in a jocular ending … Mr. Andsnes was typically excellent, playing with immaculate touch and a restrained theatricality of his own.

“As a lovely encore, he added Chopin’s Nocturne in F (Op. 15, No. 1). And on Friday and Saturday evenings, Mr. Andsnes offered an additional star turn in preconcert recitals, which Mostly Mozart often uses to showcase rising, lesser-known performers.”



Source: The New York Times