It was in solo recital that Leif Ove Andsnes proved himself “one of the finest musicians working today” (Washington Post). Next week, the celebrated Norwegian pianist gives a recital of Mozart, Beethoven, Dvořák and Janáček in UC Berkeley’s “Cal Performances at Home” series. Captured in the pianist’s native city of Bergen, Norway, at Håkon’s Hall – once a 13th-century royal residence – a film of the recital will debut to streaming audiences worldwide on Thursday, December 3 at 7pm PST (10pm EST), and will then be available on demand until midnight on January 3.


Håkon’s Hall, Bergen (photo: gsfoto)

When Andsnes performed Mozart’s C-minor Fantasia at London’s Wigmore Hall last winter, The Arts Desk compared his interpretation to “the music of the future glimpsed by a prophet with dark visions to impart.” In the first half of his upcoming recital, the pianist pairs the Fantasia with Beethoven’s beloved “Pathétique” Sonata. As he points out:

“There are several similarities between them, and the final passage of the Fantasy is identical to the solo entrance in Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto.”

The second half of his program offers selections from two great Czech cycles: Janáček’s On an Overgrown Path, Book 1, as heard on the pianist’s acclaimed Virgin Classics recording, and Dvořák’s little-known Poetic Tone Pictures. Describing the latter as “prime-time Dvořák,” Andsnes explains:

“It’s a real discovery for me. It’s a major piano cycle of 13 pieces that’s rarely performed, even though it’s very imaginative, full of melodic and harmonic inventions, and offering surprisingly colorful writing for the piano.”

Now an exclusive Sony Classical artist whose discography has been recognized with eleven Grammy nominations and six Gramophone Awards, the pianist looks forward to recording the complete Dvořák cycle for the label in February.

An interview with Andsnes by Cal Performances Executive and Artistic Director Jeremy Geffen will stream 30 minutes before the recital premiere, and an expanded version of their conversation will be available on the Cal Performances website from December 3.