Leif Ove Andsnes’ performance of Britten’s Piano Conceto at the Proms last night with Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra is broadcast on BBCTV 4 tonight. Below are highlights of some of the today’s reviews and audiences can listen to the live broadcast on the BBC iplayer here for the next month.
The Telegraph: “Teaming up with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Edward Gardner, Andsnes played with all the brittle virtuosity required of a piece that finds its composer in modernist mode. This is one of a handful of works connecting Britten to the mainstream of European interwar composers, and if its outer movements have little more heart than, say, a Prokofiev concerto, it is no less effective.”
The Arts Desk: “It’s a curiosity of music that a performance can occasionally be better – more persuasive and impressive – than the work itself. Even Britten’s most devoted advocates would find it hard to rank the Piano Concerto among his masterpieces. In his account at the BBC Proms last night, however, Leif Ove Andsnes carved out a niche for the piece as a confident yet quizzical response to the genre, standing diffidently to one side.”
Bach Track: “The concert had opened with a rousing performance of Britten’s Piano Concerto, and the full panoply of the BBCSO seemed wonderfully energised by the youthful score. Leif Ove Andsnes ate up the outer movements’ ceaseless pianistic flourishes with a showman’s insouciance and interpreted the lolloping second movement as though it were an off-cut from a night at a Weimar cabaret. Gardner brought a lurid touch of the fairground to the second subject so that when the initial waltz returned to join it, the two moods cross-infected each other to become deliciously unhealthy and sinister. The Impromptu that followed was a haunting mesh of major and minor key melodic shapes: Andsnes played the opening bars as though they were by Erik Satie, but when the horns burst in they accentuated the glorious switchback ride between sunny tunes and blue notes. As for the strutting finale, I’ve never previously heard it build quite so emphatically towards the celebratory spirit of The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.”