Since the outset of his “Beethoven Journey,” Andsnes has not only performed Beethoven with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, but also as guest soloist with many of the world’s foremost orchestras.
September sees the celebrated pianist opening the new concert season with four performances of Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas (Sep 10–13) and returning to the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Disney Hall, where he and Gustavo Dudamel are set to finalize the three-season Beethoven cycle with renditions of of the “Emperor” Concerto and “Choral Fantasy” (Oct 9–12).
On hearing Andsnes play Beethoven’s First with the same forces, the Los Angeles Times noted: “His playing is exuberant. … He listens to the players and enters into dialogue with them. … There were marvelous intimate moments”; when they reunited for the Second and Fourth last season, the same journal found that “the two Beethoven concertos were in masterful hands.”
Beethoven Journey reaches its port of call in September
For Andsnes and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, September 15 marks the release of the third and final recording of their Beethoven Journey series for Sony Classical. Completing the cycle with accounts of Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto (“Emperor”) and “Choral Fantasy,” both recorded live in concert at the Prague Spring Festival, this once again features the pianist playing and directing the orchestra from the keyboard. The full Beethoven Journey series will be issued as a boxed set on October 28.
The series has already proved a resounding success. Andsnes’s first Beethoven Journey album, on which he and the MCO play the composer’s First and Third Piano Concertos, was named iTunes’ Best Instrumental Album of 2012, awarded Belgium’s Prix Caecilia, and hailed by BBC Music magazine as “an all-round winner of a disc, with superlative playing from both soloist and orchestra, and a recorded sound to match.” Similarly, on the second volume, on which they present the Second and Fourth Piano Concertos, Andsnes impressed the New York Times with his “elegant, vibrant performances,” while the UK’s Telegraph, in a five-star review, concluded: “This leg of Andsnes’s interpretative journey is a landmark of artistic integrity, intelligence, and musical insight.”