For the start of the New Year,  Leif Ove Andsnes has joined forces with the baritone Matthias Goerne for a recital tour of Mahler and Shostakovich songs – the same programme which the two artists gave to great acclaim at the 2011 Verbier and Salzburg Festivals .  The tour launched at London’s Wigmore Hall on 7 January and is followed by performances at the Oslo Opera House (12 January),  the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris (15 January) and Stockholms’ Konserthus (17 January), where Leif Ove is currently Artist-in-Residence.

Of the London performance The Financial Times commented “Most recitalists treat programme-making as a secondary art: a bit of light and dark, fast and slow, to point up contrasts, modulate a theme and display a variety of skills. Matthias Goerne and Leif Ove Andsnes are made of sterner stuff. For their collaboration on Tuesday they chose a monothematic programme on the subject of death, comprising music by just two composers. Morbid? No, exquisite.”

The London Times went on to say  “No one does death like Matthias Goerne. The eyes stare, the body describes every melodic arc of anguish, the bass register penetrates the very heart of darkness. So a programme in which he interleaved six of Shostakovich’s death-permeated songs from the Michelangelo Suite with Mahler’s intimations of mortality was clearly going to sell out the Wigmore Hall. But would it work? Suffice it to say that so compelling was Goerne’s curating of this programme, and so entirely gripping both his performance and that of his pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, that the sensibility of both composers was thrown into new and revelatory relief.”