The founding director of Norway’s annual Rosendal Chamber Music Festival, Andsnes is an avid chamber musician. Next spring, he returns to the States for performances of Dohnányi’s Second Piano Quintet and Brahms’s sole example of the genre, on a five-city North American tour with the Grammy-nominated Dover Quartet. Bookended by dates at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC (April 23) and Carnegie’s Zankel Hall in New York City (April 30), this takes them to San Francisco (April 25), Toronto (April 28) and Aliso Viejo, CA, where Andsnes also performs selections from Brahms’s Fantasies for solo piano (April 26).
Brahms’s Fantasies figure prominently in both of the pianist’s upcoming recital programs. For his solo recital tour of Japan this fall (Oct 21–23), he combines the work with Beethoven’s “Pathétique” Sonata, Schubert’s A-minor Sonata and Dvořák’s Poetic Tone Pictures, of which his Sony Classical recording was selected as a Gramophone 2022 Critics’ Choice. Andsnes’s season-long advocacy for this ambitious but seldom-programmed work by a composer better known for chamber works and symphonies was the subject of a New York Times profile; running under the headline, “’The Great Czech Piano Cycle’ Arrives at Carnegie Hall,” this described the work as “a rarity being performed there for the first time.” A subsequent review in the same paper found Andsnes’s live performance “dreamily kaleidoscopic,” noting:
“His performance of the Dvořák – measured in appearance but interpretively varied, played with thorough commitment and characteristic wisdom – had the qualities of a standard-setting account. Even if Poetic Tone Pictures doesn’t return to Carnegie any time soon, Andsnes made a compelling argument for why it should: how, despite its unpianistic moments and longueurs, it is, in its entirety, a touching display of awe at life itself, told with a folk tune or a naïve melody, a solemn march or a sentimental dance.”
For his six-city, six-country European solo recital tour next spring (March 9–20), which includes dates at Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw (March 15) and the Boulez Saal in Paris (March 20), Andsnes reprises both Brahms’s Fantasies and Schubert’s A-minor Sonata alongside the Austrian composer’s First Impromptu and the “Sonata Etere” by Norway’s Geirr Tveitt. Andsnes explains:
“Tveitt was a formidable pianist. Like Bartók in Hungary, Tveitt was very influenced by folk music, and he collected hundreds of folk tunes from western Norway. He uses folk elements in his compositions, but this sonata is a mono-thematic piece in the grand style, like Liszt`s piano sonata, and the piano writing is very colourful and impressive.”