Friday, April 4, 2014

The Sublime Empiricism of Beethoven - Two Recordings...

The Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes has, at long last,  decided to record Beethoven for the first time by way of the Concertos; and. for me, it constitutes a fateful decision.
The pianist, during the past year and a half, has recorded the first four of the five Concertos of the composer (hopefully, the fifth will soon be recorded). The first and third are on one disc, recorded in Prague. The second and fourth were recorded in a suburb of London. The Mahler Chamber Orchestra is involved on both discs.
My "review" will be brief. The reason for the brevity is quite simple; that is, I cannot adequately find a way to describe my reaction to what I have heard in these performances.
Andsnes, from my perspective, has found a pathway to the power of Beethoven's language - the ways of projecting the reality of Beethoven as a supreme example of a Child of the Enlightenment; the portrayal that Andsnes divulges to me of the nature and fiber of Beethoven's existential manner of defeating personal tragedy by way of a form of positivism so intransigent in  its message; music, without a word, so clearly  finding a way to poke a finger directly into the Eye of Fate; certifying that  the composer's  early testament in 1802 which begins with contemplation of suicide is utterly and permanently  demolished in the music which follows.
Additionally; Andsnes, as Director of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, while performing on the piano, finds a way of 'wrapping' the sound of the orchestra  around the piano, creating a kind of "oneness" that results in a fusion I have not experienced before.
The Andsnes incarnation, for me, is more than thrilling. It is the most efficacious example of telling me more about  the core of Beethoven's message than I have could possibly  have contemplated before hearing these performances.

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