reviews Leif Ove Andsnes performance of the Britten Piano Concerto with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Jacob Hrusa

“Britten’s Piano Concerto, written for the composer to make a splash on the London scene as a virtuoso, is a younger composition, published when he was 25. Although there are snatches of Britten to be found throughout – the third movement is certainly full of dark, Peter Grimes-esque colour and beauty, he does seem to have been trying on musical idioms from Prokofiev to Stravinsky to Bartok. The opening movement is reminiscent of Prokofiev’s Sixth Symphony, full of percussive drive. Leif Ove Andsnes drove into the keyboard with fingers of steel and crystalline clarity, his scales and trills gleaming. He seemed to relish the percussive, rhythmic elements and his judicious use of pedal – never hiding behind the sound, but using it to create colour and effect – was exemplary …

“Like a paperweight made from different stones, shells, rocks and bits of glass, connected by petrified sand, this was a programme full of beautiful, varied yet seemingly unrelated moods and moments, held together by the glue of artistic prowess and a thoroughly enraptured audience.”