Leif Ove Andsnes is currently in the United States performiing Grieg’s piano concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons. Following hugely successful concerts in Boston they take to the stage tonight in New York’s Carnegie Hall. Here’s what the critics said of the Boston performances:
“The old cliché is true: absence makes the heart grow fonder. Certainly that’s true for Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and the Piano Concerto by Norway’s most iconic composer, Edvard Grieg. The piece was one of Andsnes’s calling-cards for many years — he has recorded it twice, and played it at the Last Night of the Proms in 2002 — but then, he took a 12-year break from the beloved warhorse concerto. No longer; this fall, he’s playing it all over America, Europe, and Asia with some of the world’s top orchestras, and it’s our luck that the Boston Symphony Orchestra is one of them.
Though the concerto took up less than half the concert’s total run time, there’s no contest that it was the most memorable event on Thursday evening, showing both soloist and orchestra at their best. Andsnes carried the solo with comfortable, assured authority; this was a performer who had absolutely nothing to prove. At the center of the solo’s virtuosic brilliance and fleet-fingered theatrics lay a sense of deep blue calm … So many of this concerto’s familiar melodies are easily overcooked, and none of them were on Thursday. The piece felt fresh in its marriage of technique and artistry, all elements combining to give it that indefinable quality called soul … ”
” … Andsnes’s Symphony Hall performance on Friday afternoon equaled any I had heard before. The opening outburst established his authority; he really socked the bottom A (lowest note on the keyboard) with his right hand. His cool and precise but dramatic execution of the overwrought first-movement cadenza stunned us. The lyrical second section of the third movement, by contrast, came across as a warm cantabile, from the hills and meadows rather than the mountain peaks and fjords. Andris Nelsons coordinated expertly at every moment in this concerto, in which flexibility of tempo is an essential ingredient of overall expression.”
Source: Boston Globe