reviews Leif Ove Andsnes’ first chamber music concert with Guro Kleven Hagen and Eivind Holtsmark Ringstad at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London

“While Astrup’s genius throughout his life was to catch a tiny area of Norway in all its changing lights, this first of the two Dulwich recital programme ran the gamut of Norwegian moods. Geir Tveitt’s piano arrangements of four folktunes from Hardanger are either clever and atmospheric or too interventionist with the original melodies according to taste, but it was wonderful to hear three different colours evoked simultaneously in “Welcome With Honour”, and Andsnes has the true master’s touch in knowing how to round off a piece evocatively.

Viola player Eivind Holtsmark Ringstad  dug passionately into Arne Nordheim’s Fracture, with fabulous stamina for double-stopping, and the witty-grotesque moto perpetuo of Bjarne Brustad’s Troll’s Watermill; an arrangement of Grieg’s The First Meeting for viola and piano provided a still centre … Hagen’s musicianship runs no less deep, and they sounded absolutely as one in the dazzling Handel-Halvorsen Passacaglia, another crucial dimension to the recital. Hagen could not have been more poised, either, in a famous encore of restrained sentiment, Ole Bull’s The Herd Girl’s Sunday. It’s worth stressing Andsnes’ humble and natural demeanour in the programmes he puts together, in this case with the input of the DNB Foundation; as in Troldhaugen, he was playing alongside the brightest and best of Norway’s young musicians. That was the final icing on a rich art-and-music, youth-and-experience, old-and-new cake: skål to Dulwich and Bergen.”