GRIEG Lyric Pieces – Andsnes
Once again on home ground, Andsnes reminds you of his capacity to go directly to the heart of the matter. Taking you on a journey of increasing subtlety and introspection, he makes you aware that so much of this music is for those long winter nights. At the same time the music is so richly varied: the insistent dactylic rhythm of ‘Melody’ creates a strange unsettling poetic ambience, while the central oasis of calm in ‘Wedding Day at Troldhaugen’ would surely melt a heart of stone.
All Andsnes’s performances have that deceptive simplicity which is his touchstone. His playing is always sensitive, never sentimental and with a bracing and essential ‘touch of the codfish’ (Grieg) when required. And while one would never want to be without Gilels’s rapt DG performances (see below), praise could hardly be too high for a pianist who so enviably captures the poignant nature of a composer who Tchaikovsky once claimed had ‘a glance like a charming and candid child’. Grieg’s piano, with its distinctive timbre, provides an added touch of nostalgia.