Our Leif Ove Andsnes is out with a new CD. The
pianist has decided to grapple Five Haydn Sonatas. But why Haydn? Is his
sufficiently challenging for a pianist who has already established
himself in the
top layer of pianists in the world today, and whose name is nearly as
great in the
British Isles as it is here at home? Kulturspeilet asked Leif Ove
I started with Haydn. Thatīs where I started as a pianist. He
introduction to the Viennese Classics. For others it was Mozart. For me
Haydn. He is tragic, but never sentimental or melancholy. So his music
than Mozartīs with its layer upon layer of emotion. Haydn is a composer
balance, musically speaking. I donīt think Mozart is a greater musician,
shows a different kind of diversity.
How do you approach a new work? Do you go straight to the score
to find the
overall form, design elements, melody, harmony, counterpoint? Do you
pianists' interpretations in your ear?
I donīt hear other pianists' interpretations when I approach a new
the one dimension you talk of harmony, melody, counterpoint is
the other. My work is structured: I go through page by page. Everything
You have played Schumannīs Concerto in a-minor, Prokofievīs Third,
Beethovenīs Fifth, in Oslo in concerts over the last four months. Will we
these works on CDs in the near future?
I now have 22 piano concerts in my repertoire, three by Beethoven
the Choral Fantasy. Schumann is on the way- Iīm going to record one of
recorded two Haydn concertos already.
You already have a large repertoire, but everything points to
you are leaning
towards the great works of the Romantics?
Yes, thatīs where I started. It was natural for me as a young
choose compositions with great emotional and dynamic charge. I developed
as I went
along, in both directions historically. Iīve played Haydn, Carl Nielsen,
Szymanovskij. I would like to stretch even further out. Perhaps more
Mozart, but also more works from this century.
You have given us a beautiful interpretation of Fartein Valens
op.23. How do you feel about Valenīs music as a Westlander and Karmøy
I think his colours are often rather grey, compared to
Schoenberg, Webern and
Berg. He makes it difficult for the performer. For example Schoenberg
approached his variations differently, he would have coloured them in
dynamics. He would have given clearer and more detailed instructions than
Valen does. I
canīt listen to too much Valen without getting a little
Is that perhaps because of the many pale and toothless recordings
spiritless performances we have of Valenīs orchestral works?
We-e-ll! He did say himself that one should not interpret his
to the way he looked!!
Then doesnīt it therefore present a greater challenge to the
performer to form
the music with all the passion, temperament and nerve inherent in the
music? Is it
perhaps too easy an answer for the performer to require exact
instructions from the
hand of the composer?
That's one way of looking at it.