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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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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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Classical - Released October 1, 2010 | Warner Classics

Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année
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Solo Piano - Released September 7, 2018 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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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 May 28, 2021 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet
Thematic albums have become widespread, and often enjoy varying degrees of success. The pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, long known for his seriousness and exceptional musical talent, has chosen two crucial years of Mozart's output as the programme for this album and the one that is set to follow it. In 1785, Mozart was at the height of his genius. He had just been initiated into Freemasonry, which was then in vogue in Vienna; he had finished the 6 Quartets dedicated to his friend Haydn; he had begun composing the Marriage of Figaro and gave numerous "Academies", playing his own works on the piano.These productive times form the basis of Leif Ove Andsnes's project, which brings together three contemporary and very different concertos, from the dramatic D minor (n° 20, K. 466), to the luminous C major (n° 21, K. 467), and the most original (and longest at 23 minutes), the powerful E flat major (n° 22, K. 482). The prodigious year of 1785 also saw the creation of the Fantasia in C minor which seems to recall the teachings of the fickle Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, the Masonic Funeral Music in the same dark tone and the Quartet with piano in G minor, another key in which Mozart wrote some masterpieces. By turns a pianist, a chamber musician and a conductor, the distinguished musician Leif Ove Andsnes offers up an album that is as historically coherent as it is musically successful. © 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 18, 2002 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released April 19, 2019 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
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

Hi-Res Booklet
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 1, 2003 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released February 9, 1999 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released September 12, 2006 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released September 3, 2012 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released December 13, 2019 | Simax Classics

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Classical - Released September 12, 2014 | Sony Classical

Leif Ove Andsnes has treated his survey of the piano concertos of Ludwig van Beethoven as a journey of musical and historical significance, and this final CD in the series presents the Piano Concert No. 5 in E flat major (shorn of its nickname, "Emperor"), and the Choral Fantasy in C minor as a destination. It is Andsnes' position that the Fifth Piano Concerto was intended by Beethoven to be an act of defiance against Napoleon, so the work is not a glorification of imperial aims, but the opposite. Similarly, the concerto-like Choral Fantasy is an expression of liberation from oppression, and a musical declaration of Beethoven's humanist values. In terms of the performances, Andsnes and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra deliver streamlined renditions that are lean and muscular, if not exactly guided by period practices, and the orchestra sometimes approximates Classical textures without using historically informed techniques or original instrumentation. Of course, Andsnes' piano is a modern instrument, and this is always obvious, despite his caution in reining in its dynamics to match the smaller volume of the orchestra. Whether or not listeners want a pared-down and intimate version of the Fifth Piano Concerto, without a thorough period treatment, is a matter of taste, but Andsnes' compromise between styles of performance works for his purposes. The Choral Fantasy is similarly reduced in scale, which allows the soloistic instrumental writing to shine through wonderfully, though when the full Prague Philharmonic Choir enters, it is a bit out of proportion to what preceded it. Still, if expressing the joy of freedom is Andsnes' aim, he comes close to achieving that in this traditional conclusion. © TiVo
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Classical - Released February 22, 2000 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released November 19, 2012 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released September 1, 2017 | Sony Classical

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The piano music of Jean Sibelius would, for the most part, be classified as rare; the prevailing critical opinion has been that, in the words of critic Tim Page, "most of his piano music might have been churned out by a second-rate salon composer from the 19th century on an off afternoon." Leif Ove Andsnes has set out to excavate it, and lo, it turns out that it just awaited convincing performances. There are indeed some pieces of the salon sort here, but none is less than well-made, and there is just one arrangement of a non-pianistic work. The three larger works all bear traces of the world of Sibelius' orchestral masterpieces, in miniature scale, but full of the same musical ideas. The three-movement Kyllikki, Op. 41, is in Sibelius' epic mode, although compact at about 11 minutes. Sample the finale of the Piano Sonatina No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 67, No. 1, with its structural use of texture recapitulating in brief one of the lessons of the later symphonies. Most fascinating of all are the Five Esquisses, Op. 114, completed in 1929 and among the last original music Sibelius composed. These are entirely innovative in structure and in their use of tonality (although not atonal, they make use of such devices as interlocking scales), and they may well have been related to ideas Sibelius was developing in his uncompleted and subsequently destroyed eighth symphony. Andsnes' precise, perfectly controlled, yet vigorous readings bring out the composer's thinking perfectly. Essential for those who think they know the Sibelius masterpieces. © TiVo