The New York Times reviews Leif Ove Andsnes’ recital at the Carnegie Hall

“Putting together a thoughtfully varied recital program can be as difficult as playing your chosen pieces beautifully. The Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes demonstrated how to pull off both feats in his superb recital on Monday evening at Carnegie Hall.

 The phrase “solo recital” was first used by Liszt in 1840 to describe his solo concerts. Audiences and critics were baffled. How can someone “recite” with a piano? Yet that’s exactly what Liszt did by selecting works that together created the musical equivalent of a varied literary reading. Mr. Andsnes played no Liszt on Monday. But his program exemplified the Lisztian recital heritage. There were also no contemporary works, which, for me, usually suggests that a pianist is playing it safe. Not this time. Mr. Andsnes opened with a 25-minute selection of seldom-heard Sibelius piano pieces from the early 20th century, music so jarringly, wondrously strange that it was like hearing bracing new works

… What could follow these Sibelius selections? Mr. Andsnes, who has been immersed in Beethoven’s concertos for the last few seasons, choose Beethoven’s Sonata No. 18 in E flat (Op. 31, No. 3), a playful, clearheaded piece that might seem a complete departure. But Mr. Andsnes conveyed the jolts of fervor beneath the impish surfaces. He dispatched the madcap finale with eerie coolness, even at a breathless tempo.”



Source: New York Times