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Leif Ove Andsnes - Chopin : Ballades - Nocturnes

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Chopin : Ballades - Nocturnes

Leif Ove Andsnes

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The four ballades of Chopin, more than the somewhat inaccurately named piano sonatas, are the composer's most complex works, both structurally and emotionally, and performances of them differ in substantial ways. They may emphasize sheer virtuosity, leading with Motorik rhythms in the big tunes toward blazing passages like the coda of the Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52. The Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes takes a different direction. He says that he has avoided playing the Ballades until he felt ready, and indeed his work here differs from his rather cool, clean way with Chopin in the past. "This is very personal music," he told Joshua Barone. "It’s not so often that you hear such a confessional quality: Give space for that when you listen to it." It's good advice: Andsnes' Ballades are ongoing monologues, with meter deemphasized and the virtuoso passages coming as explosions of passion that, as often as not, don't lead anywhere. This is arch-Romantic pianism of the best kind, even if it's rather low-key, and it's enhanced by the structure of the program: nocturnes serve as entr'actes between the four ballades. Sample one of these (perhaps the Nocturne in C minor, Op. 48, No. 1) to hear Andsnes' ability to put you in a state of suspended linear time here. Sony's sound from the studios of Radio Bremen is beautifully suited to Andsnes' reflective, intimate aims. The omission of the Ballade No. 4 from the booklet track list in the CD copy is a notable editorial flaw, but this is highly recommended.

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Chopin : Ballades - Nocturnes

Leif Ove Andsnes

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Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 23 (Frédéric Chopin)

1
Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 23 00:09:00

Leif Ove Andsnes, Piano - Frederic Chopin, Composer - John Fraser, Producer

© 2018 Sony Music Entertainment - ℗ 2018 Sony Music Entertainment

Nocturne No. 1 in F Major, Op. 15 (Frédéric Chopin)

2
Nocturne No. 1 in F Major, Op. 15 00:04:46

Leif Ove Andsnes, Piano - Frederic Chopin, Composer - John Fraser, Producer

© 2018 Sony Music Entertainment - ℗ 2018 Sony Music Entertainment

Ballade No. 2 in F Major, Op. 38 (Frédéric Chopin)

3
Ballade No. 2 in F Major, Op. 38 00:07:07

Leif Ove Andsnes, Piano - Frederic Chopin, Composer - John Fraser, Producer

© 2018 Sony Music Entertainment - ℗ 2018 Sony Music Entertainment

Nocturne No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 48 (Frédéric Chopin)

4
Nocturne No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 48 00:05:54

Leif Ove Andsnes, Piano - Frederic Chopin, Composer - John Fraser, Producer

© 2018 Sony Music Entertainment - ℗ 2018 Sony Music Entertainment

Ballade No. 3 in A-Flat Major, Op. 47 (Frédéric Chopin)

5
Ballade No. 3 in A-Flat Major, Op. 47 00:07:40

Leif Ove Andsnes, Piano - Frederic Chopin, Composer - John Fraser, Producer

© 2018 Sony Music Entertainment - ℗ 2018 Sony Music Entertainment

Nocturne No. 1 in B Major, Op. 62 (Frédéric Chopin)

6
Nocturne No. 1 in B Major, Op. 62 00:06:37

Leif Ove Andsnes, Piano - Frederic Chopin, Composer - John Fraser, Producer

© 2018 Sony Music Entertainment - ℗ 2018 Sony Music Entertainment

Ballade No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 52 (Frédéric Chopin)

7
Ballade No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 52 00:10:19

Leif Ove Andsnes, Piano - Frederic Chopin, Composer - John Fraser, Producer

© 2018 Sony Music Entertainment - ℗ 2018 Sony Music Entertainment

Album Description

The four ballades of Chopin, more than the somewhat inaccurately named piano sonatas, are the composer's most complex works, both structurally and emotionally, and performances of them differ in substantial ways. They may emphasize sheer virtuosity, leading with Motorik rhythms in the big tunes toward blazing passages like the coda of the Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52. The Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes takes a different direction. He says that he has avoided playing the Ballades until he felt ready, and indeed his work here differs from his rather cool, clean way with Chopin in the past. "This is very personal music," he told Joshua Barone. "It’s not so often that you hear such a confessional quality: Give space for that when you listen to it." It's good advice: Andsnes' Ballades are ongoing monologues, with meter deemphasized and the virtuoso passages coming as explosions of passion that, as often as not, don't lead anywhere. This is arch-Romantic pianism of the best kind, even if it's rather low-key, and it's enhanced by the structure of the program: nocturnes serve as entr'actes between the four ballades. Sample one of these (perhaps the Nocturne in C minor, Op. 48, No. 1) to hear Andsnes' ability to put you in a state of suspended linear time here. Sony's sound from the studios of Radio Bremen is beautifully suited to Andsnes' reflective, intimate aims. The omission of the Ballade No. 4 from the booklet track list in the CD copy is a notable editorial flaw, but this is highly recommended.

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