Warner Classics / 2007

Grieg & Schumann: Piano Concertos

Berliner Philharmoniker; Mariss Jansons, conductor

“His virtuosity is commanding but it is never at the expense of tenderness and poetic feeling. The performance, recorded live in Berlin, is ever spontaneous-sounding with soaring flights of the imagination.” – Penguin Guide to Classical Music
Track Listing
Grieg: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16
1. I. Allegro molto moderato
2. II. Adagio
3. III. Allegro moderato molto e marcato – Andante maestoso

Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54
4. I. Allegro affettuoso
5. II. Intermezzo (Andantino grazioso)
6. III. Allegro vivace

Listen on Spotify
It was the Grieg Concerto that first made the name of Leif Ove Andsnes on disc in 1990. The interpretation remains broadly the same, except that speeds are now rather brisker. However many times he’s performed the Grieg, Andsnes retains a freshness and expressiveness that always sounds spontaneous.

That inspirational quality is more markedly perceptible with the new version’s faster tempos, but the expressive flights remain just as broad. In that contrast, he’s firmly supported by Jansons and the Berlin Philharmonic, with playing not just refined but dramatic too in fiercely exciting tuttis. Schumann’s cello melodies are gloriously warm, with textures in both works admirably clear, and Andsnes fully responds to Schumann’s espressivo and ritardando requests.

…EMI’s finely balanced digital sound and the playing of the Berlin Philharmonic are also in this version’s favour. Andsnes also offers slightly faster basic speeds than his rivals; particularly enjoyable is the free-flowing tempo for the central Andantino grazioso of the Schumann, which you’d never mistake for a simple Andante.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide