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Grieg: Piano Concertos & Lyric Pieces / Andsnes

Andsnes,Leif Ove
Release Date: 01/08/2013 
Label:  Virgin Classics   Catalog #: 322862   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Leif Ove Andsnes
Conductor:  Dmitri Kitayenko
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

There are so many excellent versions of this concerto, and in choosing a reference recording I had a few criteria in mind:

First, I wanted a disc that featured this concerto alone, without the inevitable Schumann Piano Concerto in tow. Andsnes re-recorded this work for EMI, and very well (if differently) too, but it now comes coupled to a less interesting reading of the Schumann concerto.

Second, I see no reason not to choose a modern recording in modern sound. This isn’t the kind of piece where “golden age” recordings reveal any major advantage over those by today’s more imaginative contemporary artists.

Finally, I hoped to find a performance that brings some fresh ideas to a work whose ubiquity
Read more can make it sound hackneyed.

This recordings fulfills all of the above criteria. My colleague Jed Distler, whose views on piano recordings I disagree with only with great trepidation, expressed a slight preference for Andsnes’ later recording with Jansons and Berlin on pianistic grounds, but some of the points he views as less desirable in this first version–such as the sprint forward during the transition to the first movement’s second subject–I tend to regard as positive qualities if only on account of their newness. In any case, you can compare the two versions and judge for yourself.

Either way, Andsnes has proven himself in Grieg’s music, not merely because he’s Norwegian, but because he’s a splendid pianist both here and in the coupled Lyric Pieces. This, his first recording of the Concerto reveals a directness of phrasing and sense of discovery that had me listening to the work anew–it is surely a modern recording of reference.

By the way, if you do want this concerto with the Schumann, go for Fleisher/Szell or Arrau/Dohnanyi, very different but equally excellent conceptions of both works.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 16 by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Leif Ove Andsnes (Piano)
Conductor:  Dmitri Kitayenko
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868/1907; Norway 
Date of Recording: 06/1990 
Venue:  Grieghallen, Bergen, Norway 
Length: 30 Minutes 26 Secs. 
2.
Lyric Pieces (6), Book 3, Op. 43 by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Leif Ove Andsnes (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Norway 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh, England 
Length: 13 Minutes 54 Secs. 
3.
Lyric Pieces (6), Book 5, Op. 54 by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Leif Ove Andsnes (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; Norway 
Date of Recording: 10/1992 
Venue:  Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh, England 
Length: 22 Minutes 41 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op.16: I. Allegro molto moderato
Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op.16: II. Adagio
Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op.16: III. Allegro moderato molto e marcato - Andante maestoso
Lyric Pieces, Op.43: I. Butterfly (Schmetterling)
Lyric Pieces, Op.43: II. Lonely Wanderer (Einsamer Wanderer)
Lyric Pieces, Op.43: III. In My Native Land (In der Heimat)
Lyric Pieces, Op.43: IV. Little Bird (Vöglein)
Lyric Pieces, Op.43: V. Erotic (Erotik)
Lyric Pieces, Op.43: VI. To the Spring (An den Frühling)
Lyric Pieces, Op.54: I. Shepherd Boy (Gjaetergut)
Lyric Pieces, Op.54: II. Norwegian March (Gangar)
Lyric Pieces, Op.54: III. March of the Trolls (Troldtog)
Lyric Pieces, Op.54: IV. Notturno
Lyric Pieces, Op.54: V. Scherzo
Lyric Pieces, Op.54: VI. Bell-Ringing (Klokkeklang)

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