“His enviably natural, unforced clarity and musicianship shine through every bar.”
Leif Ove Andsnes’s new CD for EMI Classics features performances of some of his favourite contemporary repertoire including world premiere recordings of two 21st century compositions written for him: Bent Sørensen’s The Shadows of Silence for solo piano, and the Piano Concerto by Marc-André Dalbavie.
Andsnes also performs Witold Lutoslawski’s Piano Concerto and selections from Játékok (Games) by Gyorgy Kurtág. The Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and Franz Welser-Möst join Andsnes in the two piano concertos, both recorded live.
The Piano Concerto by Marc-André Dalbavie (b. 1961, France) was a co-commission of the BBC Proms, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Andsnes performed the world premiere with the BBC Symphony Orchestra/Jukka-Pekka Saraste at the 2005 Proms.
"I love working with him. I love his imagination." says Andsnes of Dalbavie. "He has such a colourful mind and always comes up with interesting thoughts and ideas which are very much reflected in his music.”
The CD’s title work, The Shadows of Silence by the Danish composer Bent Sørensen (b. 1958), was commissioned by Carnegie Hall for performance by Leif Ove Andsnes in his prestigious 2004-2005 “Perspectives” series.
"The Shadows of Silence is an engaging and unusually textured piece, filled with hushed, trembling sonorities drawn from the extremes of pitch at both ends of the keyboard. … evocative of an arctic landscape, with glistening watery surfaces stretching across vast spaces.”
(The New York Times)
Leif Ove Andsnes has said, “I play Shadows of Silence a lot in recitals because I love it so much. … It is very difficult … because [Sørensen] demands that you play the same notes many times, very fast but very soft. … there’s a kind of dreamlike landscape to it, which I really love being in.”
Witold Lutoslawski’s Piano Concerto, composed in 1987-88, is considered the great piano concerto of the second half of the 20th century. In four connected movements, it combines twelve-tone techniques, tonal and polytonal harmonies with hints of Chopin, Ravel, Bach and Eastern European folk music.
“With its large, sweeping gestures and dramatic interplay between the soloist and the orchestra, the piano concerto pays homage to this most popular of concert music genres.” (The New York Times)
György Kurtág began his Játékok series (Játékok means Games in Hungarian) in 1973. When he had completed his Opus 7 in 1968, Kurtág had a case of ”writer’s block” and decided to set himself the task of analysing works by other composers such as Beethoven, Bartók, Schubert and Debussy. One result was his ongoing series Játékok, short works for piano solo or piano four hands in which Kurtag comments on the works of these aforementioned composers and on questions that he feels they left behind. The Játékok are witty, understated, informal works in which the composer plays with ideas and familiar sounds in unfamiliar ways. Andsnes has often included the works on his recital programmes and has chosen eight of them for this recording.
Leif Ove Andsnes, an exclusive EMI artist for over a dozen years, has won four Gramophone Awards and the 2006 and 2007 Classical Brit Awards. His discography includes a wide variety of repertoire ranging from solo sonatas by Haydn, Chopin, Schubert and Schumann to piano concertos by Grieg, Haydn, Mozart, Brahms, Rachmaninov, Schumann, Shostakovich, Bartók and Britten. He has recorded Schubert Lieder with Ian Bostridge, Bartók Sonatas with Christian Tetzlaff and Brahms and Schumann Piano Quintets with the Artemis Quartet (for Virgin Classics). The Brahms and Schumann Piano Quintets CD won a 2008 Gramophone Award. Also released in 2008 were a CD and DVD, each titled Ballad for Edvard Grieg, commemorating the centenary of the composer’s death (The DVD won the Golden Prague “Grand Prix”) and a second Mozart concertos disc featuring Piano Concertos Nos. 17 & 20 (K453 and K466) in which Leif Ove also conducts the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra.
“Andsnes is two pianists rolled into one - a thoughtful musician and a breathtaking figure-skater of a technician, who delivers the piano equivalents of double axels and triple leaps with inimitable grace. Dalbavie called more upon the latter here, keeping Andsnes dashing up and down the keyboard with runs of semiquavers." - The Financial Times, Proms Concert 2005
Click here for further information about Leif Ove Andsnes on EMI Classics. Album tracklists and descriptions, biography, discography and tour dates