The New York Times reviews Leif Ove’s Carnegie Hall recital

“Many young virtuoso pianists perform the Beethoven sonatas as a demonstration of their musical depth. But when he emerged as a major young artist, the Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes avoided Beethoven. He thought he should wait until he had “something to say,” as he explained in 2012 in an appearance at the Greene Space in the WQXR and WNYC radio studios.

… Well, from his playing on Wednesday, Mr. Andsnes has definitely found ways to connect with Beethoven’s pianistic sensuality. In the first movement of the Sonata No. 11, he brought milky textures and alluring colorings to bursts of undulant figures in the bass and stretches of passagework in the mercurial development. In the finale, each time the beguiling rondo theme returns, Beethoven makes it more elaborate and playful, qualities Mr. Andsnes conveyed with wondrous nuance and detail, while maintaining cool, almost sly control.

He then turned to a late work, the Sonata No. 28 in A (Op. 101), giving a noble and beautifully natural performance of a deceptively complex score, which ends with a joyous yet knotty fugue. After intermission, he offered an exquisite account of Six Variations on an Original Theme in F.

The “Appassionata,” the Sonata No. 23 in F minor, is a touchstone of Beethoven’s middle period. Many pianists make the most of the music’s stormy contrasts and intensity. Mr. Andsnes’s more magisterial interpretation allowed every stark element to come through while enhancing the dramatic sweep, especially during his uncannily controlled account of the onrushing finale.

In response to a standing ovation, Mr. Andsnes performed three encores: an impish Beethoven bagatelle; the perpetual-motion finale movement of Beethoven’s Sonata No. 22 in F; and, for a change, the last of Schubert’s “Moments Musicaux,” played with beguiling tenderness.”


Source: The New York Times