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HomeOperaFascinating and nourishing Leif Ove Andsnes Wigmore Corridor – Seen and Heard...

Fascinating and nourishing Leif Ove Andsnes Wigmore Corridor – Seen and Heard Worldwide


United Kingdom Varied: Leif Ove Andsnes (piano). Wigmore Corridor, London, 21.11.2022. (MB)

Leif Ove Andsnes © Helge Hansen

Aleksandr Vustin – Lamento
Janáček – Piano Sonata 1.X.1905, ‘From the Road’
Valentin Silvestrov – Bagatelle, Op.1 No.3
Beethoven – Piano Sonata No.31 in A-flat main, Op.110
Dvořák – Poetic Tone Footage, Op.85

Leif Ove Andsnes’s performances are at all times very effectively price listening to; this programme, mixing the acquainted and unfamiliar was no exception. The primary half supplied brief items by Russian and Ukrainian composers, both facet of Janáček’s tribute to František Pavlík, a employee killed demonstrating for a Czech college in Brno, adopted by Beethoven’s penultimate sonata: nonetheless one considers it, and nonetheless clichéd this will likely sound, a chic music from and to the human spirit and what it’d but obtain.

Aleksandr Vustin, invited by Andsnes in 2019 to his Rosendal Chamber Competition, in what was solely Vustin’s second journey outdoors Russia, died the next yr, an early sufferer of the coronavirus pandemic. His Lamento, itself impressed by the funeral of a pal and its sounds, is tonal, but strikes in usually shocking methods. Opening two-part left-handwriting quickly has a right-hand melody soar above — a recollection, I realized later, of a chicken that started to sing on the funeral and wouldn’t cease. It made for an attention-grabbing prelude to Janáček’s Sonata 1.X.1905, ‘From the Road’, its first motion in Andsnes’s efficiency each exact and suggestive: like work and composer, one would possibly say. Proudly turbulent in its post-Romanticism, passages of its music appeared virtually to accumulate proto-filmic character, maybe in gradual movement, in remembrance. The composer’s profound nationwide satisfaction sang forth nonetheless extra straight within the second motion, the stubbornness of his writing, not least in sheer persistence of figures, transmuted as soon as extra right into a declaration of spirit, made with a fantastic sense of musical drama.

One among Valentin Silvestrov’s Bagatelles supplied cool distinction, behaving (no less than I fancied) not fully in contrast to Vustin’s piece. The quiet dignity of Andsnes’s efficiency once more made for an attention-grabbing prelude to a sonata, this time Beethoven’s in A-flat main, Op.110. Its first motion sang with a simplicity each fragile and robust. Welcome, one would possibly say, to late Beethoven. Fractures have been usually solely implied; this was not probably the most modernist of accounts, nor was there any cause it must be. But implied they have been. The flip to the minor was communicated with ineffable disappointment, but by no means mawkishness. Once more, this was Beethoven. The scherzo’s gruff humour didn’t try to hide the difficulties of the trio. The overriding impression was of stunning concision. Mournful dignity characterised Beethoven’s Klagender Gesang within the finale, the fugue first providing launch and intensification, its voicing to die for: lovely, little question, but above all truthful. Distinction and complement of fabric registered and developed all through, the inverted fugue enabling but in no sense guaranteeing final triumph. There was, rightly, no simple path.

The second half was given to Dvořák’s Poetic Tone Footage, Op.85: new, I confess to me, and fairly a discovery. Andsnes had explored them throughout lockdown, welcoming the invention of ‘life-affirming music of the best invention and creativeness’. Dvořák can often pale alongside Janáček, however not right here. This work emerged as a Schumannesque assortment, performed with affection, characterisation, and acute understanding. Certainly, the scene-setting of its first piece, ‘Night time journey’ instantly introduced Schumann to thoughts: not that it sounded ‘like’ Schumann, however when it comes to the position it performed in introduction, and its vein of fantasy. Andsnes’s communication of the attraction and Romantic snares of this night time was finely judged certainly. A beautiful procession of characters, scenes, sketches in a robust sense ensued: not in contrast to an excellent novel, or maybe higher, a set of brief tales. ‘On the outdated fort’ haunted. A vigorous ‘Furiant’ put Andsnes’s fingers duly by their paces. Dances of all types, goblins and all, invited us in — not at all times with out hazard. Exuberance and introspection knowledgeable each other throughout extra elevated canvases and earthier songs. Andsnes’s cantabile within the ‘Serenade’ was simply the factor, as was his Lisztian grandiloquence in ‘At a hero’s grave’. Fascinating — and nourishing.

Mark Berry

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