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Monday, Sept. 24, 2012

Leif Ove Andsnes

The Beethoven Journey (Sony Classical)

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Cynics will ask why the world needs another recording of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 3, and there is no better answer than this: they continue to provide a platform for great performances of music that should be allowed to endure. The Beethoven Journey is a great performance by the Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, whose fingers run lightly yet thoughtfully (and emotionally) over those two concertos. These works are historically important for coming at the dawn of the 19th century, when the modern piano took center stage, and the composer was keen to explore the instrument’s sonorous new possibilities. The Mahler Chamber Orchestra, accompanying Andsnes, emits the appropriate sturm und drang, although some might prefer to hear this music performed on solo piano in the intimate setting of a candlelit chamber.