Leif Ove Andsnes in Japan

Pianist Leif Ove Adsnes gears up for his busy autumn season with concerts in Japan and a new EMI Classics album.

Leif Ove Andsnes (ved sjøen) (foto: Simon Fowler)

Late August sees Norway’s most prominent pianist, Leif Ove Andsnes, performing a new work by French composer Marc-André Dalbavie at the Suntory Music Foundation's Summer Festival 2006. Joining the Norwegian composer for the Suntory concert is the renowned Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.

In addition to Dalbavie’s Concerto pour piano et orchestre (Japan Premiere) and a world premiere of a new work Commissioned by Suntory Hall, Andsnes will also present renditions of M.Lindberg’s Sculpture (2005, Japan Premiere) and Debussy’s La mer.

Strong European reviews

Leif Ove Andsnes’ spring recital tour in Europe garnered a string of strong reviews. Below are some excerpts of the many rave reviews:

The day before yesterday the audience was offered a true piano festival, with the visit of Leif Ove Andsnes ... In Zaragoza, Andsnes was in charge of the big German classics, with a brief contemporary sidestep into the dreamy "Shadows of Silence" by the Danish composer Bent Sorensen, a piece that Andsnes premiered himself a year ago. I do not know if the atmospheric work of Sorensen will gain with time .. but Andsnes presents it with his typical neatness and with a preciousness of sound that he always extracts from the keyboard ... The remainder of the concert was, without the smallest doubt, exceptional. It began with the Four Pieces Op. 32 of Schumann, a little played work but one which Andsnes does true wonders to. But that was small in comparison with his interpretation of the Schubert Sonata, a performance of incredible lucidity, carried through with severity, yet careful of the melodic aspects and without any concession to heaviness. I believe that this is the first time that I have heard the first movement of this famous sonata played totally convincingly ... It was another sonata, this time the number thirty-one of Beethoven, which closed the recital. The performance showed us new facets of a pianist which, above all, surprises us without surprises .
El Periodico, 23 March 2006

The pianist Leif-Ove Andsnes illuminates the great romantic music ... With Schubert, Schumann and Beethoven, three composers which he carries off to a new level of crystalline and clean sound, earning him the reputation as one of the most admired pianists of his generation.
El Pais, 23 March 2006

"Leif Ove Andsnes' Schubert flows. But it is like a tidal wave which invades, erupts and carries you off course. The Allegro of the D 958 follows a line like a cutting crest, breaking itself sometimes in a splash on a note or rhythm ... Sometimes he evokes the distance of the Earth to the Moon in this piano nocturne, a distance which he makes real so that it becomes an actual place rather than an interpretation. One could regret a certain mutism of the colours and contrasts if it were not for his unbelievable ability to evoke this distance, to put night into the music. This is carried off again in both the poignant "choral" of the slow movement and the melancholic, overlapping fantasy of the final "Allegro".
Le Monde, 31 March 2006

"a round yet slim tone, pliant, almost culinary phrasing, a satin touch to the runs, a full range of colours . Wow: The man is born to play a Steinway." Wiener Zietung, 7 April, 2006
"With subtle dynamic shading, transparency and detailed Tempi, Andsnes played Beethoven's late A flat major Sonata, Opus 110 and Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" which he played reflectively as a picturesque arch. This line continued in the three encores: an extract from Janáceks "In the Mist" and two Liszt-pieces. To begin the recital, Andsnes dedicated himself to Schumann's rarely performed "Vier Klavierstücken" Opus 32 in which he gave particular care to the intimate sections . Here already he showed his predeliction for clearly worked out polyphonic structures." Die Presse, 7 April 2006

’Autumnal Horizons’ – new CD on EMI Classics this autumn
This autumn also sees Andsnes releasing a new EMI Classics album.

Says Andsnes: “I grew up on the island of Karmøy on Norway's west coast, and whenever I go back what strikes me immediately is the horizon and the way it is constantly changing. It is always windy there, and as a result the sky always looks different.”

This Autumn EMI Classics will release a new recording which looks back at Leif Ove Andsnes’ remarkable career to date and traces his life from Karmøy to the international stage. Entitled “Horizons” the album contains a collection of some 20 short pieces which Andsnes has accumulated over the years, including some he learned in childhood. In a recent interview with Billboard announcing the album Leif Ove Andsnes commented "It's the kind of music I play for encores which I never get to record. There is such a diversity of repertoire here, from a Bach-Busoni chorale to Shostakovich. And some of the pieces are very attached in my mind to certain places and to certain times in my life. For example, there's a Jacques Ibert piece, 'The Little White Donkey,' which I played when I was 6 years old, and a concert study by Smetana that I connect with my teacher, a Czech pianist named Jiri Hlinka, whom I first met when I was 15."

With photographs of Karmøy featured throughout the album booklet as well as texts by Leif Ove this recording pays tribute to the Norwegian pianist’s roots: “My home country has shaped me as a person and as a musician, and its magnetic force is still very strong. It is a combination of the sky, the sea, the mountains, the seasons, the wind and the silence. These horizons have made their impressions on me, and continue to nurture me each time I return.”

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