2017-18 NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE LEIF OVE ANDSNES RELEASES SIBELIUS
Source: Christina Jensen
14/09/2017

Sibelius’s solo piano music – too long in the shadow of his symphonic writings – is the focus of Leif Ove Andsnes’ new Sony Classical recording, his first since the award-winning Beethoven Journey series. Recorded in Berlin last December, the album gathers together some of the Finnish composer’s lesser-known gems that Andsnes, who scoured the composer’s entire piano output to select them. Andsnes says, “There has been such a feeling of discovery. Everyone was astonished that there can be a major composer out there with such beautiful, accessible music that people don’t know. The fact that many will be hearing it for the first time, that’s a wonderful feeling.”

The album includes the composer’s own piano arrangement of his famous Valse triste, and excerpts from the popular Ten Pieces, Op. 24 and the piano score that is often considered his finest, Kyllikki (Three Lyric Pieces), Op. 41. Also featured are The Birch and The Spruce from his five “tree” pieces, and the final pair of his Six Impromptus, Op. 5, early pieces from the 1890s that reveal the influence of Finnish folklore. Andsnes explains: “There is an impressionistic, watery feel while Sibelius can almost feel like a Nordic Satie. It’s quite clear he experimented with very different approaches.”

The album also includes the first of the Three Sonatinas, Op. 67, composed during the early 1910s, when Sibelius famously compared his music – by contrast with the “cocktails” of other composers – to “pure cold water.” Andsnes says: “The first Sonatina is a real masterpiece – so simple and so sophisticated at the same time. It inhabits a very private world and is almost not a piece for the public, but something to play for a friend or even alone.”

Likewise, the pianist describes the Five Sketches, Op. 114 as “again, real masterpieces – unique in the way they describe Sibelius’s development as a composer.” All told, he explains: “There has been such a feeling of discovery. Everyone was astonished that there can be a major composer out there with such beautiful, accessible music that people don’t know. The fact that many will be hearing it for the first time, that’s a wonderful feeling. I really, really believe in this music and I want people to hear it. I feel like I’m on a mission here!”

Having developed a close musical partnership with the New York Philharmonic through two decades of collaboration, Leif Ove Andsnes has now been chosen as the orchestra’s 2017-18 Artist-in-Residence. Marking his only New York City appearances of the new season, the residency sees him give a solo recital at David Geffen Hall, perform chamber music with members of the orchestra, and join the full Philharmonic for works by Britten, Rachmaninoff, and Debussy. For his schedule with the New York Philharmonic, visit www.nyphil.org/about-us/artists/leif-ove-andsnes

Andsnes will perform selections from the new album at The Greene Space in New York City, presented by WQXR on October 16. For information, visit www.thegreenespace.org/events/thegreenespace/2017/oct/16/wqxr-presents-leif-ove-andsnes

In recital, he embarks on an extensive European tour to such key cities as London, Berlin, Leipzig, Vienna, Madrid, Milan, and Amsterdam, with a program that features a selection of pieces by Sibelius. For a full list of Leif Ove Andsnes’ tour dates, visit www.andsnes.com/calendar

Leif Ove Andsnes: Sibelius
Sony Classical
Release Date: October 6, 2017

1-2 Six Impromptus for Piano, Op. 5
Impromptu V
Impromptu VI

3-5 Kyllikki (Three Lyric Pieces for Piano), Op. 41
I. Largamente-Allegro
II. Andantino
III. Commodo

6-7 Ten Piano Pieces, Op. 24
No. 9, Romance
No. 10, Barcarola

Ten Pieces for Piano, Op. 58
No. 4, “The Shepherd”

9 Valse triste, Op. 44, No. 1 (arranged for piano)

10-12 Sonatina No. 1 in F-sharp minor, Op. 67, No. 1
I. Allegro
II. Largo
III. Allegro moderato

13-14 Five Pieces (The Trees), Op. 75
No. 4, “The Birch”
No. 5, “The Spruce”

15 Two Rondinos for Piano, Op. 68
Rondino II

16 13 Pieces for Piano, Op. 76
No. 10, Elegiaco

17-19 Six Bagatelles, Op. 97
No. 2, Song
No. 4, Humorous March
No. 5, Impromptu

20-24 Five Sketches, Op. 114
I. “Landscape”
II. “A Winter Scene”
III. “A Woodland Pond”
IV. “A Song in the Woods”
V. “A Vision in Spring”

 



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