Pianist Leif Ove Andnes Plays Bach and Mozart (2005)

by | Nov 25, 2005 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Concert by Pianist Leif Ove Andnes (2005)

MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 18 in B-flat Major: Allegro vivace; BACH:
Klavier Concerto No. 5 in F Minor, BWV 1056: Largo and Presto; MOZART:
Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-flat Major, K. 271: Rondeau: Presto; Piano
Concerto No. 20 in D Minor, K. 466: Allegro and Romance
Leif Ove Andnes, piano/Norwegian Chamber Orchestra
Studio: EMI Classics
Video: 16:9 Widescreen Color
Audio: PCM Stereo, Dolby 5.1
Length: 63 minutes
Rating: ****

Recorded live at the Old Post Office, Oslo 30 September 2004, directed
by Kjetil Bie, this film does a fine job in capturing the spontaneous
rapport between pianist-conductor Andnes and his youthful ensemble, as
well as the informal comfort level that exists between players and
audience. Playing  an assortment of movements of one Bach and
three Mozart concertos, Andnes executes any number of brilliant touches
throughout, adding trills and grace notes ad libitum, while the
quick-moving cameras seem to anticipate the (absent) conductor’s role,
whipping to the individual instruments, the clarinets, oboes, horns,
and strings, and then overhead to the piano. Occasionally we see the
concert on a flat screen, projected against the Norwegian shore line,
even embedded in the rocks, a confrontation of Mozart and Nature,
perhaps a cinematic debt to Louis de Rochemont’s Cinerama film
Windjammer two generations ago.

Interspersed between concerto movements are a series of brief
interviews in Norwegian (with Sarah Natasha Melbye, unseen and no
subtitles), in which Andnes speaks about performance practice; the
full-length interview in English projects a combination of ego and
humility, with Andnes’ admitting he has a definite gift for music, how
he admires Mozart’s multi-faceted affects in the concertos, and how the
young musicians of Norway wish to reach out to their audience and not
permit formality and tradition to make music an elitist luxury. That
Andnes finds operatic elements in Mozart’s concertos only makes him
more eager to perform them, to seek out further characterizations in
the parts, to balance the comic and tragic impulses which drive these
works. There is nothing dainty nor precious in the manner of Andnes’
performances: they are full-blooded, impetuous assaults mitigated by
moments of tender beauty. An engaging, virile experience this video,
which has a way of ending much too soon.

–Gary Lemco

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