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Solo Piano - Released September 1, 2017 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Sibelius’s piano music remains a secret – chronically neglected or approached from an entirely unsympathetic aesthetic standpoint. Sometimes, criticism is justified. “I will be the first to admit that Sibelius’s piano music is uneven in quality”, says Leif Ove Andsnes, pointing to the composer’s own cynicism towards his piano works as a possible reason for the neglect of the genuine gems. But Andsnes also professes in no uncertain terms that he is “on a mission” to bring Sibelius’s piano works out of the shadows. “I really believe in this music and I want people to hear it”, he says. After scouring every published note of the composer’s piano music, Andsnes has selected works for this recording that speak to him not just as a pianist but as a musician who for a long time has felt particularly close to Sibelius. Here are piano works in which Sibelius’s orchestral thinking advances the language of the instrument even if it can test the technical orthodoxies of the player. As may be imagined, Andsnes masters them with elegance and ease.
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Classical - Released April 8, 2011 | Warner Classics

Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
Though often maligned as being less inventive examples of the composer's output, Schumann's piano trios are nonetheless important steps in his chamber music development and shining examples for his endless penchant for incorporating song-like melodies into any medium. Schumann did not turn to the genre until relatively late in his career -- 1842 -- and even then only in a set of four miniatures that he later revised and published as Op. 88. The first formal piano trio did not emerge until 1847, after the two famous trios of Mendelssohn and the increasingly popular trio of his wife, Clara. In total, Schumann turned to the piano trio three times. This EMI disc features the three formal trios along with the Op. 88 Fantasiestücke and the Theodor Kirchner piano trio arrangement of the Op. 56 Etudes; performing are pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and siblings Christian (violin) and Tanja (cello) Tetzlaff. Unlike some unions of prominent solo performers for the occasional chamber music collaboration, Andsnes and the Tezlaffs form a satisfyingly cohesive ensemble that could rival many long-standing trios. Schumann's trios thrive on energetic, driven performances and that is precisely what is offered here. Even the slow movements are pushed ahead to avoid even a hint of stagnation. Besides brilliantly matching technical components such as pitch, articulation, and dynamics, trio members also blend well musically; pacing and phrasing are organic and unified throughout. The only possible negative here is one of balance; surprisingly, the violin is sometimes a bit domineering, at times obscuring the cello. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 12, 2014 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama
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Classical - Released October 1, 2010 | Warner Classics

Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année
This release by Leif Ove Andsnes was anxiously awaited by both fans and EMI executives after the pop sales levels achieved by his album featuring the first two Rachmaninov concertos, and it seems likely that the Norwegian pianist will once again serve those who stand and wait. He has executed the undeniably neat trick of breathing new life into some of the most stolidly ensconced works of the piano concerto repertory, draining them of Russian sentiment and replacing those vital fluids with stunning technical mastery delivered at breakneck speed (especially in the outer movements of the Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 30), and with a sort of hard edge. In so doing he runs counter to the type established by generations of keyboard-pounding Russians, and those who want that kind of a reading have many other choices. It's clear, however, that Rachmaninov has survived the disrespect heaped on his music during the modernist tyranny, and that his music is strong enough to reveal unsuspected facets in new readings. Andsnes finds plenty of them; hence the excitement. The two concertos have different flavors, and buyers may prefer one or the other. The Piano Concerto No. 3, a work explicitly composed with blood-and-guts-desiring American audiences in mind, is a bigger surprise for the listener, while the delicate and even bluesy Piano Concerto No. 4, Op. 40, from late in the composer's life (played here in its 1941 revision), benefits from his subtle control over the entire range of the keyboard. Only confirmed members of the old school, however, should be discouraged from trying this out. Booklet notes are in English, German, and French. © TiVo
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Keyboard Concertos - Released February 14, 2014 | Sony Classical

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
The presence of the young Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the decision by pianist Leif Ove Andsnes to conduct it from the keyboard may lead you to expect a smaller-scale performance than listeners actually get here, in this second album of Andsnes' "Beethoven Journey." Certainly this isn't keyboard-pounding Beethoven. The slow movement of the Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58, has none of the giant-stomping-around quality it often received in golden-age recordings. But neither is the chamber-sized Beethoven. Instead, Andsnes and his young musicians focus on lithe dialogue between piano and orchestra, with grand gestures played down in favor of the threads that run through tutti and solos alike. In the entire Piano Concerto No. 4, where the thematic material is constantly being developed as it is batted between piano and orchestra, the effect is magical; Andsnes and the orchestra achieve a more sensitive balance than has been heard in some years. The Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 19, actually Beethoven's first concerto, is a bit less successful although it shares many of the other performance's virtues: the bumptious, syncopated quality of the young Beethoven's music gets lost in this very low-key reading. In general, though, this is a major, original statement in the field of the exhaustively recorded Beethoven concertos. © TiVo
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Solo Piano - Released September 7, 2018 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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. © TiVo
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Concertos - Released September 11, 2012 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
The "Beethoven Journey" (and, worse, the "Vision for Humanity") described in the graphics for this Sony Classical release is a pure marketing concept; what you get here are a pair of Beethoven's early piano concertos, recorded with Norwegian Leif Ove Andsnes, conducting the Mahler Chamber Orchestra from the keyboard. Andsnes, who isn't known as a Beethoven interpreter, decided to embark on a Beethoven concerto cycle, believe it or not, when he heard a pair of the concertos playing in a hotel elevator in Brazil. As it happens, his readings are very strong. He gets the real benefits available from the piano-and-conducting combination; the Mahler Chamber Orchestra seems very closely interwoven with what Andsnes is doing at the keyboard. In the Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15, effects of the historical-performance movement are audible although he is using a modern piano; in the opening movement Andsnes gives his horns and percussion plenty of space in the orchestral exposition and then answers them with a leisurely, discursive piano part that would be called lazy in mood if it were not so rigorously worked out in its details. Andsnes is not averse to pushing the tempos a bit -- listen to the piano entrance in the first movement of the Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37, where the second little chunk is pulled out of its rhythmic context quite dramatically -- but his rhythmic moves are always local and tailored to some specific purpose. The technical gifts that have made Andsnes a star are abundantly on display, with clean lines throughout and great power in the left hand. These are fresh, vital Beethoven performances that are well worth the attention of even those with several versions of these works in their collections already. © TiVo
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Classical - Released February 18, 2002 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released April 19, 2019 | harmonia mundi

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Justinus Kerner, a poet and a practicing physician fascinated with occultism, somnambulism and magnetism, inspired young Schumann who, at just seventeen, set to music the singular poet’s verses. He would eventually come back to it in 1840 with a strange cycle, “a masterpiece of dereliction” (according to Brigitte François-Sappey) he wrote as an exorcism for his mental illness: through a suite of twelve poems (Zwölf Gedichte Op. 35, better known as “Kerner Lieder”), Schumann projects his own destiny, questioning himself, trying to understand why sadness overwhelms his soul even though he’s in-love and newlywed.This pain produced a series of masterpieces that are still admired for their musical and philosophical reach. Liederkreis Op. 24 also dates back to 1840, a surprisingly prolific year for Schumann who composed like a mad man; his first cycle of lieder based on poems by Heinrich Heine about love and its inevitable consequences: expectations, hope, disillusionment and farewells.The result of many years of collaboration between Matthias Goerne and Leif Ove Andsnes, this album, recorded in Berlin in 2018, will undoubtedly be a landmark in Schumannian interpretation. The German baritone’s voice has grown deeper with age, giving a unique intensity rich with doubt and desolation, an impression reinforced by the strength and intensity of the Norwegian pianist’s performance. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released March 20, 2020 | Dacapo

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Sometimes, the reputation of a performer can be a powerful factor in unearthing a previously-unknown composer. This is the case with this monographic album dedicated to works by Danish composer Bent Sørensen (born 1958), written specially for three Nordic musicians: pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, clarinettist Martin Fröst and trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth. Bent Sørensen's deeply nostalgic music is listened to as one might look at a painting that has been aged by time, like those yellowed photos that one takes out from their cardboard box on a rainy day. It proceeds through reminiscence, with flushes of tonality and glissandos that blur the harmony, like a dream gradually disappearing from one's waking memory. With its five-movement structure, the Second Piano Concerto, La Mattina, written between 2007 and 2009, is based on the memory of an after-concert in a bar during which Leif Ove Andsnes had played a Choral by Bach transcribed by Busoni. Sørensen extends this magical moment throughout this score, which stretches towards the metaphysical from its classical bases, with instrumentation identical to Mozart's Concerto No. 17 . The result is unsettling and powerfully mesmerising. Serinidad, for clarinet and orchestra, dates from 2011. Throughout its composition, the writer was obsessed with the image of a clarinet hovering like a bird trying to escape from the orchestra and concert hall, as if to leave its nest. Here, melancholy joins a modern romanticism in which the voice of the soloist intervenes in a kind of sung murmur. The Trumpet Concerto (2012-2013) takes up the classical composition style of the works of Haydn and Hummel but with a modern sound. The music is born out of the rubbing of hands and sandpaper, creating a soundscape into which the trumpet enters, as one enters a forest with its mysteries and dark corners. Bent Sørensen's music, constantly oscillating between consciousness and unconsciousness, is a fascinating world; a perpetual source of dream and wonder. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 15, 2014 | Sony Classical

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Released as separate CDs between 2012 and 2014, Leif Ove Andsnes' recordings of Ludwig van Beethoven's five piano concertos and the Choral Fantasy have been brought together in this slip-covered package from Sony. The loose concept behind this project was to show how Beethoven's musical development reflected the events and journeys of his life, from his early Classical period through his heroic, visionary works. This simple theme, a commonplace in Beethoven biography, and Andsnes' speculative commentary, are secondary to the performances, though, which he delivers with a somewhat streamlined and muscular style in his readings with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. While using modern instruments and only approximating a Classical sound in the orchestra's lean textures, Andsnes offers little to appeal to early music enthusiasts, though his concessions to historically informed practice are noticeable. Overall, however, Andsnes' interpretations are fresh and energetic, and there is much in this set to attract mainstream classical listeners. © TiVo
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Classical - Released February 9, 1999 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released September 1, 2003 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released September 12, 2006 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released February 11, 2008 | Warner Classics

Leif Ove Andsnes has made many excellent recordings for Virgin and EMI over the long years of his association with those two labels. One thinks of his harrowing Janácek, his exhilarating Grieg, his ravishing Chopin, and his staggering Nielsen discs. Unfortunately, this two-disc set coupling Schubert's last four piano sonatas is not one of Andsnes' better efforts. It's not that his technique isn't as impressive as before. In the stormiest pages of the C minor Sonata's opening Allegro and the thorniest pages of the A major Sonata's central Andantino, Andsnes articulates every line, harmony, and rhythm with the utmost clarity and precision. It's that Andsnes seems out of touch with the spirit behind the music. Where one wants lyrical rapture in the A major Sonata's closing Allegretto, dramatic tension in the B flat major Sonata's opening Molto moderato, and intimacy in the same sonata's central Andante sostenuto, Andsnes seems stuck on the surface of the music, turning in perfectly balanced but ultimately uninvolving performances. Recorded in three different places at four different times between 2001 and 2006, EMI's digital sound here is nevertheless consistently clear, round, and deep. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 3, 2012 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released March 27, 2001 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released February 22, 2000 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released December 13, 2019 | Simax Classics

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Classical - Released January 1, 2000 | Warner Classics