Sony classical / 2014

Beethoven Journey: Piano Concerto No. 5 & Choral Fantasy

Mahler Chamber Orchestra

“Andsnes’s view of the Emperor Concerto’s slow movement may strike some listeners as less contemplative and poetic than usual, and it may be that his interpretation of the piece will deepend over time, but it’s beautifully played…Particularly notable in Andsnes’s performance of the first movement is the mysterious approach to the recapitulation, where he and the orchestra vividly convey the feeling of the music holding its breath.”
– BBC Music Magazine *****
The celebrated Norwegian pianist completes his multi-annual collaborative journey with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, dedicated to Beethoven’s five piano concertos. The Beethoven Journey is a four-year collaborative project between celebrated pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Together they have recorded all of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos, as well as the Choral Fantasy, with Andsnes not only playing but also directing the orchestra. The series began with the live recording of the Piano Concertos 1 & 3 at the Prague Spring Festival in the historic Rudolfinum building. The second CD, Piano Concertos 2 & 4, was recorded in London in 2013, and the final album was recorded again live at the Prague Spring Festival in 2014. Leif Ove Andsnes has devoted the majority of his performing and recording activities in the last 3 years to the music of Beethoven. Although Andsnes has an extensive discography, “The Beethoven Journey” is his first Beethoven recording ever.
Track Listing
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 ‘Emperor’
1. I. Allegro
2. II. Adagio un poco mosso
3. III. Rondo. Allegro

Beethoven: Fantasia for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra in C minor, Op. 80
4. I. Adagio
5. II. Finale. Allegro – Allegretto, ma non troppo, quasi andante con moto

Listen on Spotify
Andsnes manages to be lithe and spontaneous-sounding, and doesn’t overplaying hints of melodrama…In a way Andsnes reminds me of Schnabel in his sureness of touch, albeit in a very different style…The unanimity in the closing bars between Andsnes and his orchestra says it all. Having used up my stash of superlatives, all I can say is: go buy.

There is no absence of weight here or of rhythmic sinew, but the range of softer dynamics and the flux of light and shade are truly remarkable. With Andsnes, every note counts, and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra complements him in definition and refined phrasing. These are Beethoven performances of arresting maturity, stylistic acumen and utter delight.
The Telegraph