Over the next four seasons the Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes will be embarking upon a “Beethoven Journey” that will clock up 150 performances in 55 cities all over the world. At the heart of this expedition will sit the five Beethoven Concertos and Choral Fantasia all of which will be committed to disc by Sony Classical in recordings made in Prague and featuring the Mahler Chamber Orchestra directed from the keyboard by Andsnes. He has, of course, cherry-picked his way through Beethoven piano literature in the past but this intensive exploration has come as something of a calling at a time when he is feeling more than ever that he has something personal to say about these much-played pieces.
In this audio podcast which coincides with the first release of the First and Third concertos Andsnes talks about the extraordinary audacity of these pieces where nothing can be second guessed and nothing is accidental. He reflects on the tensions that exist in them between Beethoven the classicist and Beethoven the romantic and those extraordinary slow movements where the music seems to find its own space and time and place cease to exist.[Photograph by Ozgur Albayrak]