Warner Classics / 2006
Horizons: A Personal Collection of Piano Encores
“I was lucky to grow up in a country where we can enjoy silence. To get to the mountains, to hear a brook running, a bird singing, that’s really music for me” Leif Ove Andsnes
2. Scriabin: 2 Impromptus, Op. 14: No. 1 in B Major (Allegretto)
3. Mendelssohn: 6 Lieder ohne Worte, Book 6, Op. 67: II. Allegro leggiero
4. Strauss, R: 6 Lieder, Op. 17: No. 2, Ständchen, “Mach auf, doch leise mein Kind” (Arr. for Solo Piano by Walter Gieseking)
5. Mompou: Paisajes: II. El lago (Larghetto. Placido)
6. Bach, J S: Busoni: 10 Chorale Preludes, BV B 27: V. Ich ruf’ zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ (After No. 40 from J . S. Bach’s “Orgelbüchlein”, BWV 639)
7. Chopin: Impromptu No. 1 in A flat major, Op. 29
8. Liszt: Liebestraum, S541 No. 3 (Nocturne in A flat major)
9. Shostakovich: Polka from “The Golden Age”, Op. 22b
10. Albéniz: Tango (No. 2 from Espana, Op. 165)
11. Mompou: Cançó i Dansa No. 1
12. Liszt: 6 Polish Songs, S. 480: V. Meine Freuden (After No. 12 from Chopin’s “Polish Songs, Op. 74”)
13. Liszt: Valse-Impromptu, S.213
14. Antheil: 2 Toccatas for the Piano: II. Allegro
15. Trenet: Chanson “Coin de rue”
16. Johan Halvorsen, Leif Ove Andsnes: Mosaique, Suite for Violin and Piano: IV. Veslemøy’s Song (Arr. for Solo Piano by Leif Ove Andsnes)
17. Grieg: 4 Humoresques, Op. 6: III. I Love But Thee!
18. Smetana: On the Seashore, Concert Study in G-Sharp Minor, B. 119
19. Scott, C: Lotus Land, Op. 47 No. 1 (W183)
20. Ibert: Histoires: II. Le petit âne blanc. Avec une tranquille bonne humeur
21. Debussy: Clair de Lune (from Suite Bergamasque)
22. Grieg: Moods, Op. 73: IV. Folksong
23. Grieg: Piano Transcriptions of Songs, Op. 52: V. Andantino
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Andsnes here reveals a hitherto hidden side to his art – the salon charmer. Some of the pieces are favourites from his childhood, though it is not every nine-year-old who has tackled Sibelius’s uncharacteristically jolly ‘Staccato’ Etude or mastered Chopin’s First Impromptu with such fluency and grace. Appealing, too, is the drama and sweep he brings to Liszt’s Liebestraum No 3 (though it will not suit everyone’s taste) and his avoidance of cliché, while the Norwegian’s own transcription of Halvorsen’s Chant de Veslemöy (originally for violin), Ibert’s Le petit âne blanc and Debussy’s Clair de lune are played with a beguil- ing innocence, ravishing tonal finesse and – most important – palpable affection.
Bravura highlights include Gieseking’s effulgent transcription of Richard Strauss’s Ständchen and Smetana’s Am Seegestade (‘By the sea’), reminiscent of Raff’s La fileuse and a rare example of a concert étude that opens in one key (B major) and closes a tone lower! Enterprisingly, Andsnes has tracked down a score of Charles Trénet’s song Coin de rue transcribed by the coyly named ‘Mr Nobody’ whom I have no qualms about outing as none other than Alexis Weissenberg.
The whole recital is superbly recorded. As Andsnes himself says, ‘It’s great to see people walk away from a concert with a smile on their face’. This disc has the same effect.
What these performances also have is a quality that is not always quite so obvious when he is alone on the concert platform – a real sense of enjoyment in playing, and the business of communicating that enjoyment to an audience…The incidental beauties – the articulacy of Andsnes’s left hand is a marvel in itself, for instance – are all part of that, too.