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Leif Ove Andsnes’s “Beethoven Journey”: new Sony CD and U.S. recital tour in March

March 11 brings the U.S. release of The Beethoven Journey: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 4, the second recording from 2013 Gramophone Hall of Fame inductee Leif Ove Andsnes in his long-term focus on the master composer’s five piano concertos. Like the first title in the series, which won both iTunes’ Best Instrumental Album of 2012 and Belgium’s Prix Caecilia, the new album was recorded for Sony Classical with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO) and directed from the keyboard by the Norwegian pianist himself. The new release heralds Andsnes’s return to the States this March, with an all-Beethoven solo recital program that takes him to the main stages of four of the nation’s leading venues – New York’s Carnegie Hall (March 19), Chicago’s Symphony Center (March 16), Atlanta’s Spivey Hall (March 14), and Princeton’s McCarter Theater (March 17) – crowning his epic 19-city, eleven-country tour across America, Europe, and Japan.
It is Andsnes’s close rapport with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra – his fellow travelers since the project’s inception – that anchors “The Beethoven Journey.” Selecting The Beethoven Journey: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 3 as its recording of the month, Gramophone magazine wrote,
“There’s so much more to this partnership than just exceptional playing; there’s a palpable sense of discovery, of living the music; [Andsnes] and the MCO players are already finishing one another’s musical sentences like an old married couple, but with an ebullience and mutual fascination that is anything but world weary.”
BBC Music magazine hailed the album as “an all-round winner of a disc, with superlative playing from both soloist and orchestra, and a recorded sound to match.”
For their new recording, Andsnes and the MCO turn to Beethoven’s Second and Fourth Piano Concertos, both of which the pianist has played extensively in concert, and which he calls “music that feeds me constantly with joy, surprise and discovery. There is of course much drama and intensity in this music, qualities we often associate with Beethoven, but there is also so much childlike beauty and innocence in these concertos, and a constant sense of wonder.” After he performed the Second and Fourth Piano Concertos with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel last fall, the Los Angeles Times concluded that “the two Beethoven concertos were in masterful hands,” thanks to the pianist’s “searching maturity coupled with good rhythm and sharp articulation.”
The pianist’s previous Carnegie Hall Beethoven recital prompted the New York Times to observe:
“Mr. Andsnes played with uncanny steadiness and magisterial sweep. … His playing was impressively pristine, lucid and supple. But the mystery and audacious imagination in the music came through all the more. The slow movement had eerie serenity. In the finale, the beguiling theme pierced through the hazy harmonies of Mr. Andsnes’s fluid, graceful arpeggios. How often do you think of the ‘Waldstein’ as wondrously beautiful? That is what Mr. Andsnes achieved.”
For his return to the States this spring, Andsnes’s all-Beethoven solo recital program comprises the Sonatas in F minor “Appassionata” (Op. 57), B-flat (Op. 22), and A (Op. 101), as well as the Variations in F (Op. 34). The four high-profile American concerts represent one of the high points of a monumental tour that takes the pianist to some of the world’s foremost concert stages, including London’s Barbican Hall, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Berlin’s Philharmonie, Vienna’s Musikverein, Rome’s Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and Tokyo’s Opera City. Andsnes’s solo Beethoven performance at the most recent Salzburg Festival inspired the Salzburger Nachrichten to conclude: “Leif Ove Andsnes is one of the most exemplary and serious musicians – not just of his generation.
For the final leg of “The Beethoven Journey,” Andsnes turns his focus to Beethoven’s Fifth “Emperor” Concerto and Choral Fantasy for piano, chorus, and orchestra, which he and the MCO look forward to touring and recording together in Italy, Norway, and the Czech capital (May 16-23). The pianist also performed both works with the Helsinki Philharmonic (Jan 22 & 23) and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra (Jan 28–Feb 2), while the “Emperor” concerto will serve as the vehicle for his upcoming appearances with the London Philharmonic (April 26) and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra (May 8 & 9). When “The Beethoven Journey” last took Andsnes to London’s Royal Festival Hall, for season-opening concerts in 2012, the Telegraph pronounced him “a wonderful soloist.”
A complete list of Andsnes’s upcoming engagements follows, and more information may be found at his web site: Current photos are available Here.
Leif Ove Andsnes: upcoming engagements
Jan 7-17
European recital tour with Matthias Goerne, baritone
Songs by Mahler and Shostakovich
Jan 7: London, UK (Wigmore Hall)
Jan 12: Oslo, Norway (Opera House)
Jan 15: Paris, France (Théâtre des Champs-Elysées)
Jan 17: Stockholm, Sweden (Konserthuset)
Jan 22 & 23
Helsinki, Finland
Music Centre
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra / Thomas Dausgaard
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”); Choral Fantasy for piano, chorus and orchestra
Jan 28–Feb 2
Norwegian Chamber Orchestra
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”); Choral Fantasy for piano, chorus and orchestra
Jan 30: Tonsberg, Norway
Jan 31: Oslo, Norway
Feb 1: Gothenburg, Sweden
Feb 2: Hamar, Norway
Feb 12–April 11
Recital tour of U.S., Europe, and Japan
Beethoven: Sonatas in B-flat, Op. 22; A, Op. 101; F minor, Op. 57 (“Appassionata”); Variations in F, Op. 34
Feb 11 & 12: Haugesund, Norway (Festiviteten Culture House)
Feb 14: Copenhagen, Denmark (Mogens Dahl Koncertsal)
Feb 16: Brussels, Belgium (Palais des Beaux-Arts)
Feb 18: Frankfurt, Germany (Alte Oper)
Feb 19: Leipzig, Germany (Gewandhaus)
Feb 21: Toulouse, France (Halle aux Grains)
Feb 23: Berlin, Germany (Philharmonie)
March 2: Stockholm, Sweden (Konserthuset)
March 4: London, England (Barbican Hall)
March 5: Cologne, Germany (Philharmonie)
March 14: Atlanta, GA (Spivey Hall)
March 16: Chicago, IL (Symphony Center)
March 17: Princeton, NJ (McCarter Theater)
March 19: New York, NY (Carnegie Hall)
March 26: Vienna (Musikverein)
March 28: Rome, Italy (Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia)
March 29: Florence, Italy (Teatro della Pergola)
April 6: Hyogo, Japan (Hyogo Performing Arts Center)
April 8: Tokyo, Japan (Musashino Civic Cultural Hall)
April 9: Tokyo, Japan (Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall)
April 26
London, UK
Royal Festival Hall
London Philharmonic Orchestra / Vladimir Jurowski
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”)
May 8 & 9
Swedish Chamber Orchestra / Katarina Andreasson
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”)
May 8: Karlstad, Sweden
May 9: Örebro, Sweden
May 16–23
Mahler Chamber Orchestra tour: “The Beethoven Journey”
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”); Choral Fantasy for piano, chorus and orchestra
May 16: Reggio, Italy
May 18: Torino, Italy
May 19: Lugano, Italy
May 20 & 21: Prague, Czech Republic
May 23: Bergen, Norway
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© 21C Media Group, February 2014


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