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Andsnes does justice to the music of Sibelius


Sibelius, Piano Music Performed by Leif Ove Andsnes (Sony Classical).

Andsnes is right. He is prominently quoted on the album cover saying this: "Everyone was astonished that there could be a major composer out there with such beautiful, accessible music that people don't know. These are intriguing works with the wonderful Sibelius qualities we know. I really believe in this music and want people to hear it."

You'll be grateful when you do. And understand why Andsnes believe in it so much. For one thing, Sibelius' piano adaptation of his famous "Valse Triste" is, it seems to me, a natural for pianists who want repertoire both familiar and not-so-familiar. Andsnes admits that Sibelius' piano music is nothing if not uneven. But he also says, with enormous insight, that "it inhabits a private world. It is almost not something for the public, it is something to play for a friend or even alone." (Compare with the music if Satie and Mompou's "Musica Callada.") And that very intimacy characterizes both Andsnes' startling playing and the music itself.

Glenn Gould, another lover of musical "Nordicana" was another admirer of Sibelius' piano music. It's wonderful to find in the 21st century, yet another apostle of it.

3 1/2 stars (out of four)




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