The New York Times interviews Leif Ove Andsnes on the day that his new recording of Chopin is released:

According to Leif Ove Andsnes, some piano classics can survive bad performances. The greatness of Beethoven and Brahms come through no matter what. Not so much with Chopin.

“In mediocre performances,” Mr. Andsnes said in a recent interview, “great pieces of Chopin’s seem mediocre.”

This is acutely apparent in the composer’s four famously difficult Ballades, which Mr. Andsnes has recorded for his new album, “Chopin,” on the Sony Classical label. Getting the notes right — a challenge for even the most experienced pianists — is just the beginning.

Pianists playing the Ballades have to balance multiple voices, and tame their rhapsodic, mercurial nature. They must find where to breathe, but also where to maintain momentum, in music full of emotional extremes and Romantic grandeur.

“They are pieces you really have to live with for years,” Mr. Andsnes said, “and try again and again.”

Read the full interview online at the New York Times