reviews Leif Ove’s Royal Festival Hall performance of the Emperor Concerto with the London Philharmonic and Vladimir Jurowski

“With the Beethoven, Leif Ove Andsnes was suitably regal in his opening flourishes, the LPO equally imperious with authentic (smaller) timpani, crisply reacting to Simon Carrington hard-stick touch, and ‘period’ trumpets, less piercing than their modern counterparts. Put simply, this was a terrific performance, vital and fresh, Andsnes’s effortless technique always crystal-clearly serving the music’s brilliance, lyricism and egalitarian spirit, with the LPO and Jurowski vibrant, bespoke accompanists.

“A dynamic first movement, with some magical drops of volume, was followed by a sublime Adagio, given with starlit seduction, and then a finale that danced with joy and had its own sense of irresistible swing, and a few teases along the way – were the horns simply too early at one point or had Jurowski been doing some tinkering? Whatever, this was a notably ink-still-wet account; we were asked to listen anew. Had a bust of Beethoven been present, and the composer’s faculties restored, then a beaming smile of pleasure would surely have crossed its contours, for this was not only a very enjoyable traversal but something rather more, an ‘Emperor’ emeritus.”