Leif Ove Andsnes, Théâtre des Champs Élysées (TCE), March 26 2012
We all know that Leif Ove Andsnes is one of the best living pianists. What sets him apart --besides his dexterity and precision-- is that subtle character of his interpretative skills. He brings a bit of northern melancholy to his play, in addition to a multitude of strong but well tamed emotions. In his performances there are no grandiose fugues, there are no ostentatious gestures... it all seems fully focused onto bring the finest from the given score.
No, I don't exaggerate. He really is special, and I believe that --in many ways-- he's a genuine kind of the 21st century pianists. I knew that Parisians love Leif Ove, but I was still surprised to see the auditorium of TCE packed with people (nice weather and longer days...)
The program was pleasant even if too eclectic for my taste. It started with a cool rendition of the Haydn sonata in C minor (Hob. XVI/20, L. 33), and then shifted to "something completely different" - The Suite by Bartók (Op. 14, Sz.62). Bartók always strikes you with modernity and through the fingers of Leif Ove it attains the new heights. Then came the best part of the concert -- Images (Livre I) by Debussy. I've listened to this piece many times, but it never sounded quite like this. That's where you distinguish the artists from hard workers.
The second part of the concert was all-Chopin. The crowd always love Chopin. His take on Chopin is obviously fantastic, perfectly balanced, never too sweet... but I still believe that Chopin is the Krystian Zimerman's territory. ;)
The crowd obviously loved it and after a great round of applauses Leif Ove offered us four encores of which Yours Truly admired an excerpt from the Étude-Tableaux by Rachmaninoff.
Check out his calendar. If you can get to listen to his live performance, it is definitely a treat!
Two short YT videos to enjoy: