Press Room

Andsnes’s Beethoven is named iTunes’ Best Instrumental Album of 2012

Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes’s The Beethoven Journey has been named Best Instrumental Album on iTunes Best of 2012, capping a fall filled with glowing press for the disc on both sides of the Atlantic. The album – a recording of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 3 – is the first instalment in Andsnes’s complete Beethoven concerto cycle for Sony Classical, all with the pianist leading the Mahler Chamber Orchestra from the keyboard. The Beethoven Journey was also chosen as Gramophone magazine’s recording of the month for November, with a review stating: “This is something very special, and it marks an exciting debut for Leif Ove Andsnes on Sony… . There’s so much more to this than just exceptional playing; there’s a palpable sense of discovery, of living the music.”
Likewise, the UK’s Guardian observed:
“What these performances also have is…a real sense of enjoyment in playing, and the business of communicating that enjoyment to an audience. Whether it’s the purled-off runs in the first concerto or the dark ruminations of the development section of the Third’s opening movement, everything has its place in the bigger picture. The incidental beauties – the articulacy of Andsnes’s left hand is a marvel in itself, for instance – are all part of that, too.”
After Andsnes performed Beethoven with the New York Philharmonic in September, the New York Times was similarly impressed:
“True to form, Mr. Andsnes’s performance of the Third Concerto here combined effortless brilliance and scrupulous integrity… Mr. Andsnes’s playing had affecting naturalness and self-effacing beauty. Every note spoke; every phrase was shaped with grace; every rhythmic detail and harmonic twist came through vibrantly without anything seeming fussed over or underlined… At times, you might have thought that Mr. Andsnes was taking exceptionally brisk tempos, especially during the final rondo, played with zest, crispness and imagination. Actually, it was the uncanny clarity and lightness of his playing that made the tempo seem faster than it was. Yet what I will most remember is the tranquil elegance and nobility he brought to the slow movement.”
“The Beethoven Journey” is also the name given to Andsnes’s multi-season focus on the composer’s music. As well as performing and recording of all five Beethoven concertos with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, he will play them with other top ensembles and conductors around the world, from New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles to Liverpool, Munich, and Copenhagen. The Norwegian pianist’s immersion in the music of Beethoven has been widely celebrated; after ascribing to Andsnes’s Beethoven interpretations “a masterly refinement that was a privilege to hear,” the New York Times entreated: “Now that he has found his way into Beethoven, may he keep on going.”
In the New Year, Andsnes turns to Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto, performing the work with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic under Vasily Petrenko (Jan 24 & 27); on tour in Japan with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia (Feb 3–8); and on a ten-city European tour with the Mahler Youth Orchestra and Herbert Blomstedt (March 16–28). Directing from the keyboard, the pianist also pairs Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto with the Second for a Scandinavian tour with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra (Feb 20–24), a European tour with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (May 16–24) and a date with the Danish National Symphony (May 9).
For his part, Andsnes says: Beethoven’s music is for me the most human and deeply spiritual music there is. Beethoven believed that changing the world is possible and that music is truth. This touches me deeply.”
Available on iTunes: Leif Ove Andsnes & Mahler Chamber Orchestra: The Beethoven Journey – Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 3.
Leif Ove Andsnes: upcoming engagements
Jan 17, 18; Stavanger, Norway
Stavanger Symphony / Steven Sloane
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 2
Jan 24, 27; Liverpool, UK
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Vasily Petrenko
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4
Feb 2; Yokohama, Japan
Recital with Akiko Suwanai (violin)
Repertoire to include:
   Bartók: Sonata for violin and piano No. 2
   Webern: Four Pieces, Op. 7
   Beethoven: Sonata for violin and piano No. 9 in A, Op. 47, “Kreutzer”
Feb 3–8; Philharmonia Orchestra / Esa-Pekka Salonen, Japanese tour
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4
   Feb 3: Hyogo, Prefectural Arts Theater
   Feb 7: Tokyo Opera City
   Feb 8: Toyko Suntory Hall
Feb 15, 17; Falun, Sweden
Vinterfest Chamber Music Festival
Feb 20–24; Norwegian Chamber Orchestra (directing from keyboard), Scandinavian tour
Beethoven: Concertos Nos. 2 and 4
   Feb 20: Drammen, Norway
   Feb 21: Kristiansand, Norway
   Feb 23: Gothenburg, Sweden
   Feb 24: Oslo, Norway
March 6; Aalesund, Norway
Recital: Beethoven, Liszt, Chopin
March 8; Stavanger, Norway
Recital: Beethoven, Bartók, Liszt, Chopin
March 16–28; Mahler Youth Orchestra / Herbert Blomstedt, European tour
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4
   March 16: Lisbon, Portugal
   March 18: Barcelona, Spain
   March 19: Paris, France
   March 21: Bratislava, Slovakia
   March 22: Vienna, Austria
   March 23: Zagreb, Croatia
   March 24: Interlaken, Switzerland
   March 26: Birmingham, UK
   March 28: Aix-en-Provence, France
April 4–24; European recital tour
Beethoven: Sonata in F
Bartók: Suite Op.14
Liszt: Harmonies poétiques et religieuses
Chopin: Nocturne in C minor
   April 4: Bruges, Belgium
   April 5: Paris, France
   April 9: London, UK
   April 10: London, UK
   April 12: Pavia, Italy
   April 14: Munich, Germany
   April 20: Lisbon, Portugal
   April 21: Oviedo, Spain
   April 23: Madrid, Spain
   April 24: Bilbao, Spain
May 9; Copenhagen, Denmark
Danish National Symphony Orchestra (directing from keyboard)
Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 4
May 16–24; Mahler Chamber Orchestra tour
Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 4
   May 16: Pavia, Italy
   May 17: Lugano, Italy
   May 19: Torino, Italy
   May 21, 22: Prague, Czech Republic
   May 24: Bergen, Norway
June 13, 14, 15, 18; Chicago, IL (Orchestra Hall)
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.4


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