by Leif Ove Andsnes


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The piano music of Jean Sibelius would, for the most part, be classified as rare; the prevailing critical opinion has been that, in the words of critic Tim Page, "most of his piano music might have been churned out by a second-rate salon composer from the 19th century on an off afternoon." Leif Ove Andsnes has set out to excavate it, and lo, it turns out that it just awaited convincing performances. There are indeed some pieces of the salon sort here, but none is less than well-made, and there is just one arrangement of a non-pianistic work. The three larger works all bear traces of the world of Sibelius' orchestral masterpieces, in miniature scale, but full of the same musical ideas. The three-movement "Kyllikki, Op. 41," is in Sibelius' epic mode, although compact at about 11 minutes. Sample the finale of the "Piano Sonatina No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 67, No. 1," with its structural use of texture recapitulating in brief one of the lessons of the later symphonies. Most fascinating of all are the "Five Esquisses, Op. 114," completed in 1929 and among the last original music Sibelius composed. These are entirely innovative in structure and in their use of tonality (although not atonal, they make use of such devices as interlocking scales), and they may well have been related to ideas Sibelius was developing in his uncompleted and subsequently destroyed eighth symphony. Andsnes' precise, perfectly controlled, yet vigorous readings bring out the composer's thinking perfectly. Essential for those who think they know the Sibelius masterpieces.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/06/2017
Label: Sony Classics
UPC: 0889854085025
catalogNumber: 540850
Rank: 36496


  1. Esquisses (5), for piano, Op. 114
  2. Bagatelles (6) for piano, Op. 97: II. Lied. Andantino
  3. Bagatelles (6) for piano, Op. 97: IV. Humorous March
  4. Bagatelles (6) for piano, Op. 97: V. Impromptu Poco Moderato
  5. Pieces (13) for piano, Op. 76: 10. Elegiaco: Poco Agitato
  6. Rondinos (2), for piano, Op. 68: Rondino No. 2: Vivace
  7. Pieces (5) for piano ("The Trees"), Op. 75: 5. Granen: Lento - Risoluto - Lento
  8. Pieces (5) for piano ("The Trees"), Op. 75: 4. Björken: Allegro
  9. Sonatina No. 1, for piano in F sharp minor, Op. 67/1
  10. Valse triste, for orchestra (from Kuolema), Op. 44/1
  11. Pieces (10) for piano, Op. 58: 4. The Shepherd: Vivacetto
  12. Pieces (10) for piano, Op. 24: 10. Barcarola: Moderato Assai
  13. Pieces (10) for piano, Op. 24: 9. Romance in D-Flat Major: Andantino
  14. Kyllikki, lyric pieces (3) for piano, Op. 41
  15. Impromptus (6), for piano, Op. 5: Impromptu No. 6 in E Major: Comodo
  16. Impromptus (6), for piano, Op. 5: Impromptu No. 5 in B Minor: Vivace

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