Leif Ove Andsnes and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra have just returned home after performing residencies in Bonn, Hamburg, Lucerne, Vienna and Brusssels. Here are highlights of some of the reviews:
… An evening full of musical champagne because this concert will be forever etched in the memory! … In the second half is probably the best interpretation of the Emperor Concerto No. 5 we have ever heard. The direction was extremely delicate, the piano solo parts real floral outbreaks. Elegant, soft, sun set. The pianist, who radiates an intense charisma, epitomizes both the extreme humility and greatness of man. Fluidity, control, perfect balance. His keyboard touch is both the angel and the human in its firmness and nobility.
Arts et Lettres, 5 December 2014
Of course this concert was at least worth a Nomination for a Gold Award. Also platinum, diamond or anything … but something very rare … This is The Beethoven Journey in which Leif Ove Andsnes has led us through the five piano concertos arriving now at its final stage … With the first chords (of The Choral Fantasy): goosebumps. This is it. Andsnes at his very best. The tension in the room could be cut with a knife. Honestly, I have never heard such sublime runs. This is a transcendent experience …
The Fifth concerto – the “Emperor” – is like an obligatory passage in the career of every pianist but what Andsnes does defies (even surpasses) the imagination …
Milo Derdeyn. Klassiek Central, 8 December 2014
Andsnes, directing from the piano, created an ideal pace, fluid enough not to let the main theme seem cumbersome, but neither hurried. When did you last hear this orchestral introduction so finely played? One motif peels organically off from the other …
Helmar Dumbs, Die Presse, 3 December 2014
The Norwegian Leif Ove Andsnes, one of the outstanding pianists of our times … Exciting, full of depth and with sparkling punches.
Volkmar Parschalk, Krone Zeitung, 3 December 2014
Happiness – Imbued with crystalline clarity, animated by a bright tone – This is Leif Ove Andsnes’ Beethoven.
Jürgen Otten, Musik und Theater, November 2014
Just to play – not everyone can do. Just to play and then in addition constantly surprise – very few can achieve. And that these performances also sound so compelling, so “right”, is downright splendid. Andsnes’ immediacy, coupled with the sometimes crude Mahler Chamber Orchestra sound, is immensley intriguing. It is not romanticized in the slow movements and yet sung, it is played with exuberant happiness in the finales, but there’s always action and it is far from naïve.
Christian Berzins, Aargauer Zeitung, 14 November 2014
… voices came to light that one has never heard in the orchestral writing, as if personally coaxed from the piano.
Simon Bordier, Neue Luzerner Zeitung, 28 November 2014
Their great affinity with this music could be felt at every moment: attentively relaxed, carefully familiar and with a sense of security without it being routine. … Andsnes and the musicians resisted the temptation for any excessive drama and the superficial virtuoso appeal which lurks at every turn in these concertos. Instead, through the color and mood changes, the performance was tasteful and transparent …
Reinmar Wagner, Sarganserländer, 26 November 2014
Andsnes confirmed, and even surpassed, his reputation as one of the most distinguished Beethoven interpreters of our time.
Christian Strehk, Kieler Nachtrichten, 25 September 2014
Andsnes and the multinational elite group of the MCO have been working for years on the intricacies of their Beethoven-image. The blind understanding between the soloist and his partner could be felt in every bar of the piano concertos …
The pianist brings Beethoven down from the base of the “Titans” and provides him with both feet on the ground, where we can see him through the eyes of the soul. People rarely have the chance to come this close to Beethoven,
Marcus Stäbler, Hamburger Abendblatt, 27 September 2014
The dialogue with the wonderful orchestra left nothing to be desired. The slow movement of the G major concerto, whose theatrical effect repeatedly evoked comparisons with the ancient Orpheus saga, was here an expressive dialogue between the loud and threatening gestures from the orchestra and the soothing vocals of the piano part which Leif Ove Andsnes played with an extremely fine touch, beautifully nuanced. Here the whole depth and transcendence of this simple melody could be felt.
Bernhard Hartmann, Bonner Rundschau, 27 September 2014
Fritz Herzog, General Anzeiger Bonn, 29 September 2014
The C major Concerto is packed full of grace and the joy of life …
Gunild Lohmann, General Anzeiger Bonn, 30 September 2014