reviews Leif Ove Andsnes and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in Dublin

I was struck by the calmness and the simplicity of Andsnes’ playing. This was a fresh-voiced interpretation of Beethoven, allowing us to become reacquainted with an exceptionally familiar work in an authentic, mature rendition. The most stunning moment of the second movement was the stillness and peace Andsnes achieved in the cadenza. It is quite a rare gift that a pianist can compel the audience to listen to the notes dying away and to the silence that ensues. The orchestra entered in with becoming sensitivity. The rondo is a cheeky, good-humoured movement and both soloist and orchestra were brimming with vibrancy and jocularity.

… If expectations were high following the first Beethoven concerto, then they were amply fulfilled with a magisterial rendition of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no. 4. The surprising introductory chords by the piano were magical, while these same chords in the recapitulation had a full, fortissimo sound. The filigree was mercurial and sparkled brilliantly due to Andsnes’ sparse pedalling. This meant that when he did use the pedal in the legato sections, it was instantly arresting. There was nobility in the piano’s quiet, insistent melody versus the gruff orchestral response in the second movement. The Rondo third movement was a high-spirited and highly charged account by both orchestra and soloist, Andsnes notching up the excitement with an electrifying cadenza. Here the fortissimo sounded steelier to similar dynamic markings found in the second piano concerto. The rapt standing ovation of the audience showed that the audience realised how fortunate they were to be witnesses of this special “Beethoven Journey”.