France’s leading classical music website,, has just gone live with a review of the new Chopin album, making it one of their “Les Clefs de mois” discs:

“… Unlike those of Johannes Brahms’ opus 10, for example, Chopin’s four ballades, whose composition spans thirteen years, do not constitute a homogeneous universe, let alone a cycle. Andsnes’ stroke of genius is to interpose three nocturnes, handpicked, kind of ideal and timely transitions, through the play of tones and their proximity of climates with the ballades that frame them. The pianist’s approach is at the same time classic in its highly studied and powerfully architected design, romantic in the natural effusiveness of the musical narrative, and modern in its factual approach, in the infinitesimal control of the nuances, in the completion of the phrasings … But the miracle of this album goes beyond this well-thought-out conception or realization. Above all, there is the total freedom of tone that underlies the fulfillment of the poetic or dramatic path of each ballade, of their modesty each time opening up to the almost inflammatory bestowal of their coda …  Of course, many eminent Chopin pianists have recorded these almost inexhaustible works from Alfred Cortot to Krystian Zimmerman, Claudio Arrau to Maurizio Pollini, with fascinating and sometimes opposing approaches. But rare are the performers who, like Leif Ove Andsnes, have been able to make tangible the malaise of a child of the romantic era in some of his most heartbreaking confessions, with a fullness of sound and current reality. No doubt, one of the great piano discs of this year or even this decade!

To read the full review in French click here