Beethoven Journey Is Named Best Instrumental Album on iTunes Best of 2012

Loa itunes

“Effortless brilliance and scrupulous integrity, affecting naturalness and self-effacing beauty.” New York Times on Andsnes’s Beethoven 

Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes’s The Beethoven Journey has been named Best Instrumental Album on iTunes Best of 2012, capping a fall filled with glowing press for the disc on both sides of the Atlantic. The album – a recording of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 3 – is the first instalment in Andsnes’s complete Beethoven concerto cycle for Sony Classical, all with the pianist leading the Mahler Chamber Orchestra from the keyboard. The Beethoven Journey was also chosen as Gramophone magazine’s recording of the month for November, with a review stating: “This is something very special, and it marks an exciting debut for Leif Ove Andsnes on Sony... . There’s so much more to this than just exceptional playing; there’s a palpable sense of discovery, of living the music.”

Likewise, the UK’s Guardian observed:

“What these performances also have is…a real sense of enjoyment in playing, and the business of communicating that enjoyment to an audience. Whether it’s the purled-off runs in the first concerto or the dark ruminations of the development section of the Third’s opening movement, everything has its place in the bigger picture. The incidental beauties – the articulacy of Andsnes’s left hand is a marvel in itself, for instance – are all part of that, too.”

After Andsnes performed Beethoven with the New York Philharmonic in September, the New York Times was similarly impressed:

“True to form, Mr. Andsnes’s performance of the Third Concerto here combined effortless brilliance and scrupulous integrity… Mr. Andsnes’s playing had affecting naturalness and self-effacing beauty. Every note spoke; every phrase was shaped with grace; every rhythmic detail and harmonic twist came through vibrantly without anything seeming fussed over or underlined… At times, you might have thought that Mr. Andsnes was taking exceptionally brisk tempos, especially during the final rondo, played with zest, crispness and imagination. Actually, it was the uncanny clarity and lightness of his playing that made the tempo seem faster than it was. Yet what I will most remember is the tranquil elegance and nobility he brought to the slow movement. 

“The Beethoven Journey” is also the name given to Andsnes’s multi-season focus on the composer’s music. As well as performing and recording of all five Beethoven concertos with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, he will play them with other top ensembles and conductors around the world, from New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles to Liverpool, Munich, and Copenhagen. The Norwegian pianist’s immersion in the music of Beethoven has been widely celebrated; after ascribing to Andsnes’s Beethoven interpretations “a masterly refinement that was a privilege to hear,” the New York Times entreated: “Now that he has found his way into Beethoven, may he keep on going.” 

In the New Year, Andsnes turns to Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto, performing the work with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic under Vasily Petrenko (Jan 24 & 27); on tour in Japan with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia (Feb 3–8); and on a ten-city European tour with the Mahler Youth Orchestra and Herbert Blomstedt (March 16–28). Directing from the keyboard, the pianist also pairs Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto with the Second for a Scandinavian tour with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra (Feb 20–24), a European tour with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (May 16–24) and a date with the Danish National Symphony (May 9).

For his part, Andsnes says: Beethoven’s music is for me the most human and deeply spiritual music there is. Beethoven believed that changing the world is possible and that music is truth. This touches me deeply.”

Available on iTunes: Leif Ove Andsnes & Mahler Chamber Orchestra: The Beethoven Journey – Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 3.


Leif Ove Andsnes: upcoming engagements

Jan 17, 18; Stavanger, Norway

Stavanger Symphony / Steven Sloane

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 2


Jan 24, 27; Liverpool, UK

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Vasily Petrenko

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4


Feb 2; Yokohama, Japan

Recital with Akiko Suwanai (violin)

Repertoire to include:

   Bartók: Sonata for violin and piano No. 2

   Webern: Four Pieces, Op. 7

   Beethoven: Sonata for violin and piano No. 9 in A, Op. 47, “Kreutzer”


Feb 3–8; Philharmonia Orchestra / Esa-Pekka Salonen, Japanese tour

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4

   Feb 3: Hyogo, Prefectural Arts Theater

   Feb 7: Tokyo Opera City

   Feb 8: Toyko Suntory Hall


Feb 15, 17; Falun, Sweden

Vinterfest Chamber Music Festival


Feb 20–24; Norwegian Chamber Orchestra (directing from keyboard), Scandinavian tour

Beethoven: Concertos Nos. 2 and 4

   Feb 20: Drammen, Norway

   Feb 21: Kristiansand, Norway

   Feb 23: Gothenburg, Sweden

   Feb 24: Oslo, Norway


March 6; Aalesund, Norway

Recital: Beethoven, Liszt, Chopin


March 8; Stavanger, Norway

Recital: Beethoven, Bartók, Liszt, Chopin


March 16–28; Mahler Youth Orchestra / Herbert Blomstedt, European tour

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4

   March 16: Lisbon, Portugal

   March 18: Barcelona, Spain

   March 19: Paris, France

   March 21: Bratislava, Slovakia

   March 22: Vienna, Austria

   March 23: Zagreb, Croatia

   March 24: Interlaken, Switzerland

   March 26: Birmingham, UK

   March 28: Aix-en-Provence, France


April 4–24; European recital tour

Beethoven: Sonata in F

Bartók: Suite Op.14

Liszt: Harmonies poétiques et religieuses

Chopin: Nocturne in C minor

   April 4: Bruges, Belgium

   April 5: Paris, France

   April 9: London, UK

   April 10: London, UK

   April 12: Pavia, Italy

   April 14: Munich, Germany

   April 20: Lisbon, Portugal

   April 21: Oviedo, Spain

   April 23: Madrid, Spain

   April 24: Bilbao, Spain


May 9; Copenhagen, Denmark

Danish National Symphony Orchestra (directing from keyboard)

Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 4


May 16–24; Mahler Chamber Orchestra tour

Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 4

   May 16: Pavia, Italy

   May 17: Lugano, Italy

   May 19: Torino, Italy

   May 21, 22: Prague, Czech Republic

   May 24: Bergen, Norway


June 13, 14, 15, 18; Chicago, IL (Orchestra Hall)

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.4












© 21C Media Group, December 2012


#          #          #




© Holger Talinski
© Holger Talinski
CC (BY 2.0) 2011, Beatrice Murch (flickr.com)
CC (BY 2.0) 2011, Beatrice Murch (flickr.com)
CC (BY 2.0) 2009,David Berkowitz (flickr.com)
CC (BY 2.0) 2009,David Berkowitz (flickr.com)
CC (BY 2.0) 2010, Johan Hansson (flickr.com)
CC (BY 2.0) 2010, Johan Hansson (flickr.com)
CC (BY 2.0) 2009, David Friel (flickr.com)
CC (BY 2.0) 2009, David Friel (flickr.com)
© Liv Øvland, http://www.livovland.no/
© Liv Øvland, http://www.livovland.no/
© Özgür Albayrak
© Özgür Albayrak
© Özgür Albayrak
© Özgür Albayrak
CC (BY 2.0) 2009, Nicolas de Camaret (flickr.com)
CC (BY 2.0) 2009, Nicolas de Camaret (flickr.com)
© Bastian Seiler
© Bastian Seiler
Stig Nygaard, http://www.rockland.dk/, 2009
Stig Nygaard, http://www.rockland.dk/, 2009
CC (BY 2.0) 2010, mendhak (flickr.com)
CC (BY 2.0) 2010, mendhak (flickr.com)