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Leif Ove Andsnes spring 2011 recital tour

After solo recitals in Copenhagen (for the benefit of Amnesty International) and Bergen, the celebrated Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes will head to the U.S. for a four-city recital tour that includes performances in Boston, MA (April 1), Chicago, IL (April 3), Champaign-Urbana, IL (April 5), and New York, NY (April 7 at Carnegie Hall). Two Beethoven Sonatas, No. 21, “Waldstein,” and No. 32, Op. 111, bookend works by Brahms (Four Ballades, Op. 10) and Schoenberg (Sechs kleine Klavierstucke, Op. 19).  After his U.S. performances, Andsnes returns to Europe for additional solo recitals in eleven cities, beginning in Rome on April 13 and ending in Toulouse, France on May 16.  Also this spring (on April 19 in the U.S.), EMI Classics releases Andsnes’s recording of Schumann’s complete works for piano trio with violinist Christian Tetzlaff and cellist Tanja Tetzlaff.
Andsnes comments on the significance of these two great sonatas of Beethoven, a composer whom the pianist will focus on intensively over the next few seasons:
“The ‘Waldstein’ marks the beginning of the last phase of Beethoven’s journey – a preview of what was to come.  With this work, which he completed in 1804, Beethoven was experimenting for the first time with the kinds of pure acoustical sounds that are so characteristic of his Opus 111.  This is music that is highly spiritual and not so earthy, foremost in the last movement of the ‘Waldstein,’ with the long pedals over the harmonies giving it an airy feeling of eternity and time standing still.  That’s something new in Beethoven’s development, a point of departure that leads to his last period.  Opus 111 is the peak, in a way.  It is such a revolutionary sonata in that it finishes with the second movement, the slow movement, but you can’t call it a slow movement because it’s a whole journey in itself: more than 15 minutes long, and such an incredible, deeply spiritual journey.”
The other works on Andsnes’s spring recital program offer both connections and contrasts to the Beethoven works.  Andsnes explains:
“Brahms found it difficult to walk in Beethoven’s footsteps.  Nevertheless, these early Brahms pieces are some of his deepest works.  In a way, especially in the last of the Four Ballades, Brahms was never closer to saying farewell.  There’s a strong connection to Opus 111, and to the world of late Beethoven.  It’s very autumnal, very much looking at eternity, looking at earth from a different place.  It’s incredible that Brahms was just 20 when he wrote the Ballades.  Clearly he was a young man with an old soul.”
Turning from Brahms to Schoenberg, Andsnes continues:
“Schoenberg’s Opus 19 is a pivotal work in his development, departing from tonality. It is not 12-tone, but rather from his fascinating ‘free tonal’ period, perhaps Schoenberg’s most exciting period.  In these very short pieces of Opus 19 every gesture means as much as other composers’ development in several minutes of music.  On this recital program, this very concentrated music of Schoenberg sets up the atmosphere we encounter in Beethoven’s Opus 111.”
Following his recital tour, Andsnes returns to Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto, performing it with Paavo Järvi and the Orchestre de Paris in that orchestra’s home city on May 25 and in Vienna on May 28.   Andsnes has performed this epic work a number of times this season, most recently in the U.S. with the Chicago Symphony and Gianandrea Noseda.  Reviewing the concert for the Chicago Sun-Times, Andrew Patner praised the pianist’s extraordinary talents:  
“Having followed his career for more than two decades and regularly visiting the chamber music festival that he co-led in Norway for many years, I think there is still something disarming about this man’s talent. Rarely does someone have his level of technical ability, interpretive insight, and sometimes almost otherworldly musicality without any trace of personal or performance eccentricity. Here again, he is a reminder of the sort of ideal player that Brahms and Schubert – a great Andsnes specialty – wrote for.  He is a technical wizard who meets the music on the composer’s terms and is carried away enough by that communion to move an audience as well.”
Andsnes’s spring dates conclude on June 8 with a chamber music concert at Berlin’s Philharmonie, where he has been Pianist-in-Residence with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra throughout the 2010-11 season.  During the residency, CNN caught up with Andsnes for a discussion about the greatest works of the piano repertoire; the interview was broadcast as part of CNN’s popular “Icons” series.  Speaking about Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata, Andsnes observed:  “There are so many things that we can experience in this music.  We can listen to it again and again and again and we never get tired of it.  We always hear something new.  So, a piece from the early 19tth century can seem completely fresh today.  That’s a miracle … That’s what we call genius.”   
A link to the complete CNN interview can be heard here
Leif Ove Andsnes: upcoming engagements
March 28
Copenhagen, Denmark
Recital to benefit Amnesty International
March 30
Bergen, Norway
April 1-7
U.S. recital tour
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 21 in C, Op. 53 “Waldstein”; Brahms: Four Ballades, Op. 10; Schoenberg: Sechs kleine Klavierstücke, Op. 19; Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111
   Jordan Hall, Boston, MA, April 1
   Orchestra Hall, Chicago, IL, April 3
   Krannert Center, Champaign-Urbana, IL, April 5
   Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, April 7
April 13 – May 16
European recital tour
   Rome, Italy, April 13
   Perugia, Italy, April 14
   St. Petersburg, Russia, April 16
   Berlin, Germany, Berlin Philharmonic Pianist-in-Residence, April 18
   Madrid, Spain, April 26
   Vienna, Austria, April 28
   Hamburg, Germany, May 8
   Geneva, Switzerland, May 11
   Dijon, France, May 13
   Glyndebourne, UK, May 15
   Toulouse, France, May 16
May 25
Paris, France
Orchestre de Paris / Paavo Järvi
Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2
May 28
Vienna, Austria
Orchestre de Paris / Paavo Järvi
Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2
June 8
Berlin, Germany
Berlin Philharmonic Pianist-in-Residence
Chamber concert

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