Feb 28, 2003

So Tuesday night after spending a few hours roaming the streets we ended up at Carnegie Hall. A pretty decent-sized crowd for a Tuesday night was on hand to hear Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes in recital. I’d never heard him before, not even on CD I think, but it was a good concert, not terribly long, certainly not flashy, but with a good mix of romantic and early 20th century works that all seemed to fit together. Andsnes has a very good touch, and was particularly at home in several of Grieg’s Lyric Pieces, none of which were familiar to me. Beth liked the programmatic aspect of the titles, and they all seemed to evoke exactly what their titles promised. Of the five, he played March of the Trolls fourth, and then finished the set with “Bell Ringing”, a sort of quasi-impressionist piece. As if to bring more attention to the contrast, Andsnes went right into the next grouping without a break, two Debussy etudes and L’isle Joyeuse. It was interesting to juxtapose Grieg with Debussy in this case and hear how the former prefigured the latter to some extent. The second half started with a short work called “En Vers” by Miyoshi, a student of Takemitsu, dating from 1980. Fortunately not too heavily influenced by Takemitsu, and as evocative as the Debussy in a much more contemporary style. The program began and ended with late Chopin, the Polonaise-Fantasie at the beginning and the third Sonata at the finish. These were very competent performances, I think the Polonaise-Fantasie fit right in with the rest of the program, the Sonata less so. The overall program was relatively short, and the crowd was enthusiastic, so Andsnes played four encores, including more Grieg (Wedding Day at Troldhaugen), more Chopin (the first impromptu) and two unfamiliar pieces by Strauss (“Standchen” arranged by Gieseking) and Scriabin.(Impromptu Op 14 #1 according to the web site). The Grieg was probably the highlight of the evening (his recording of a lot of the Lyric Pieces was a Grammy nominee this year), enough so that I’d like to seek out both the recording and the music at some point.

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