Leif Ove Andsnes continues his momentum with Mozart


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Leif Ove Andsnes — Mozart Momentum: 1786 (Sony Classical)

New Classical Tracks - Leif Ove Andsnes

“On stage you have to have a childlike openness,” Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes said. “There will be moments in concerts where I feel, ‘I’m creating now. It's actually happening in the moment.’ Also, there is nothing as beautiful as Mozart's music.”

Andsnes is an artistic partner of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble that has no home base. They’re constantly moving because it wants to make music that gets to the core of things. Together, they’ve taken a deep dive in the creation of The Beethoven Journey, and now they’re flowing in sync, with Andsnes conducting from the piano on his latest album, Mozart Momentum: 1786.

What kind of momentum was Mozart creating?

“It's about the piano concerto and what happened with that genre during Mozart's life. He writes a concerto in a minor key for the first time with very serious and dramatic music. He starts to separate the soloist from the orchestra. You have dramatic and restless music during the opening from the orchestra, but the soloist enters afterwards with completely different music.

“That's the very first time this happens in any concerto. Mozart must have thought, ‘Oh, I'm on to something new here.’ For me, it's a revolution. It expands the storytelling and the narrative of what a piano concerto can be. You can look at soloists as an individual and the orchestra as a society. There is new psychological drama in it.”

How did Mozart’s love of opera inspire his piano concertos that are on the album?

“He was writing The Marriage of Figaro during this time and we hear it during the woodwind solos. He gives tremendous individuality and personality to each of the woodwind instruments. There are sections where I'm listening with pleasure to what they do in these concertos.”

Can you talk about the energy in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24?

“Normally we feel that it's very classical and balanced. The phrases are often eleven bars followed by five and then seven. He always makes sure we don't know what's coming next, so we have to guess. That guesswork gives the concerto its restless energy and drama.”

Tell us about ‘Ch’io Mi Scordi Di Te?’ and the soprano who sings it.

“The concert aria ‘Ch’io Mi Scordi Di Te?’ is text from Mozart’s opera Idomeneo. It’s unique how he makes the beauty of the soprano voice blend with the piano. It's like a duet. You know where one is without words and the other tells the story. There's no other piece like this in the literature. “

To hear the rest of my conversation, click on the extended interview above, or download the extended podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.


Leif Ove Andsnes — Mozart Momentum: 1786 (Presto music)

Leif Ove Andsnes — Mozart Momentum: 1786 (Amazon)

Leif Ove Andsnes (official site)

348 episodes