ALBUM TITLE: Ballad for Edvard Grieg
WORKS: Piano Concerto; Ballade in G minor; Six Lyric Pieces
PERFORMER: Leif Ove Andsnes (piano); Berlin PO/Mariss Jansons
CATALOGUE NO: 394 3992
The Concerto and the Lyric Pieces have appeared before so that attention focuses on the G minor Ballade written in the wake of his parents’ death. Much of his grief was poured into the Ballade, a set of variations on an old Norwegian folk song. Poignant and deeply felt, it is among his greatest works and such was the emotion it aroused and the pain which accompanied its composition that Grieg himself could hardly bear to play it in later life. Leif Ove Andsnes has the full measure of its depth and his beautifully recorded account is a mandatory acquisition.
The strength of his 2002 account of the Concerto with Jansons and the Berlin Philharmonic is well known. As I said at the time, although his virtuosity is commanding it is never at the expense of poetic feeling. Andsnes is an aristocrat among pianists who has the gift of uncovering new depths without any loss of spontaneity or the slightest trace of artifice.