Albeniz • Antheil • Chopin • Debussy • Grieg

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COMPOSERS: Albeniz,Antheil,Chopin,Debussy etc,Grieg,Ibert,Liszt,Mendelssohn,Mompou,Scott,Scriabin,Shostakovich,Sibelius,Smetana
LABELS: EMI
ALBUM TITLE: Horizons
WORKS: Piano works
PERFORMER: Leif Ove Andsnes (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 341 6822

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Leif Ove Andsnes is master of the art of the encore, and all 22 of these tracks are potential encores. But his intention with this collection of salon pieces is a walk down memory lane, with Jacques Ibert’s ‘Le petit ane blanc’, which he played when he was seven, being the furthest point, and Sibelius’s brightly-coloured Etude Op. 76 No. 2 being the next.

But as Andsnes rightly points out, short works like these can be full of technical interest, notably when one composer arranges a piece by another. Thus we get Liszt’s exhilarating take on Chopin’s song ‘Meine Freuden’, Gieseking’s take on Strauss’s ‘Ständchen’, and Busoni’s majestic reworking of Bach’s ‘Ich rufe zu dir’, which Andsnes includes as a homage to his hero Dinu Lipatti.

Apart from an irritatingly twinkle-toed polka by Shostakovich, everything here is a delight. Mompou’s miniatures grow under Andsnes’s skilful hands, Scriabin exudes his perfume, and Smetana evokes the full-dress glory of Central European domestic pianism. Pieces by Grieg and Johan Halvorsen bring this patriotic Norwegian lad back home.

Michael Church