From October 23 to December 3, Leif Ove Andsnes will take a new recital programme on tour across Europe with performances in Spain, Switzerland, Austria, UK Germany, Holland, Italy and Belgium.

The programme opens with five pieces by Sibelius which also feature in Leif Ove Andsnes’ latest Sony Classical release: The Birch, Impromptu No.5, Rondino, The Shepherd and Romance in D flat major. The album, which was released on September 1, has led to a greater understanding and appreciation of the Finnish composer’s piano miniatures, receiving a Diapason d’Or in the most recent issue of the French magazine and leading the Observer to comment “On closer listening you feel a door to Sibelius’s mysterious world has been unlocked.”

17 of Sibelius’s 119 opus numbers are pieces for solo piano, but the composer’s works for the instrument have long languished in the shadow of his orchestral music, often seen as lacking in the rich, sonorous textures that the composer brought to his full orchestral works and therefore largely disregarded.

Andsnes has scoured the composer’s entire piano output, carefully selecting the pieces he believes deserve recognition and with which he feels a strong personal connection: "There has been such a feeling of discovery in researching and recording this album. 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!"

Leif Ove Andsnes pairs the Sibelius with works by Jörg Widmann, Schubert, Beethoven and Chopin. "There’s a real connection between the Widmann’s Idyll and Abyss and Schubert’s Klavierstücke D946" he says in interview with bachtrack.com, "because the Widmann is a piece about Schubert’s mind. I think it’s a fantastic work and I’m impressed by how he has been able to incorporate Schubertian harmonies and style within a modern language. One moment it’s light-hearted like Schubert’s dances, and then the next moment you are in the other side of Schubert – extremely dark and touching. Beethoven’s "Tempest" sonata which I’m playing in the second half is a new piece for me – I’m really obsessed about it – and will fit really well with Chopin’s Ballade no. 1. There’s also a connection there."

 

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