As winter comes to a close and there is the expectation of Spring in the air,  Leif Ove Andsnes is joining forces with Marc André Hamelin for a tour programme fittingly featuring Stravinsky’s piano arrangement of The Rite of Spring and Concerto for Two Pianos as well as Mozart’s Larghetto and Allego in E flat and Debussy’s En blanc et noir.

The tour starts in Rotterdam (28 March) and takes the two pianists to Dortmund (29 March), London (30 March), Dublin (1 April), Chiasso (2 April), Florence (3 April) and Einhoven (4 April) before continuing in the States – Seattle (24 April), San Francisco (25 Aprl), Los Angeles (26 April), New York (28 April), Chicago (30 April) and Washington (1 May).

About this program, Andsnes explains:

“I first performed The Rite of Spring in 2009, also with Marc-André Hamelin. You really experience different aspects of it on two pianos. The rhythmic patterns become very precise, and the harmonies, which can sometimes be blurred in the larger orchestration, become so clear.

   “Mozart’s Larghetto and Allegro in E-flat major is a wonderful piece, but it’s unfinished. These days we have a few completions by different people to choose from. The one we are performing was completed by pianist Paul Badura-Skoda.

“Stravinsky’s Concerto for Two Pianos is rarely performed. It is a very good title because it really is concerto-like for both instruments. It’s a virtuoso piece – I’ve been studying it for months, and it’s like learning a big piano concerto. It’s full of colors and rhythmic excitement.

En blanc et noir (“In Black and White”) is one of Debussy’s last pieces. It was written during the First World War, and the second movement actually depicts a battle scene. It’s wonderfully elusive and enigmatic, full of light and shadows. The coloring and harmonic language is unbelievable – I have loved it for many years, and I’m happy to be able to do it on this tour.”

Leif Ove and Marc André will record the two Stravinsky works for an upcoming CD release on the Hyperion label