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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 10 September 2014
If you think of the piano concerto as a deeply expressive genre -- as it became from late Mozart on -- then Haydn's three concertos (the only three that seem undoubtedly his) can seem slight by comparison. But they're lovely pieces, with plenty of energy and surprises in the phrasing, and Leif Ove Andsnes does a fine job with them here. His touch seems calculated to create something of the effect of a fortepiano, an effect that some reviewers find unduly percussive, but you can't make a modern concert grand sound totally like its predecessor, and there's warmth and color in Andsnes's phrasing, even in the quicker passages, that makes them arresting to hear. The slow movements have gravity and even solemnity in places, without approaching the richness of Beethoven or even Mozart, and in the slow movement of the No. 11, Andsnes plays with great warmth, and he unapologetically delivers Haydn's cadenza in that movement with tonal resources beyond the fortepiano. There's plenty of charm in the outer movements, but what keeps them from being merely charming is Haydn's wit and feeling for keeping the listener somewhat off-balance. Andsnes knows how to put this over, his chamber orchestra backs him well, and the sound of both piano and orchestra is very well caught. Not the greatest music in the world, then -- not even the greatest Haydn! -- but very well done here.
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on 23 March 2000
What I'd call perfect Sunday morning music, the sort of thing that literally lifts your spirits and convinces you (if you need convincing!) that life is a very wonderful thing. In form and sound if not genius, they're not dissimilar to the roughly contemporary Mozart piano concertos and Andsnes' modern piano sounds remarkably idiomatic, while offering a very non-period dynamic range. I can't imagine an 'authentic' orchestra or soloist giving a more splendid interpretation - the Norwegian orchestra are very good in the accompaniment with an extremely light touch. All in all a fantastic issue, especially if you love the Mozart concertos but want something new (all the music on this CD was unfamiliar to me, even though the Concerto in D is supposedly 'well-known'). My only gripe is the piano tuning; one key sounds to my untrained ear to be slightly 'out', which given the number of notes in these concertos does slightly get on the nerves by the end of the disc! Incidentally, if you like this, then also try the Hummel piano concertos released some years ago by Chandos, with Steven Hough the soloist. They're comparable on a musical level and the piano's in tune.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 25 January 2012
I bought this CD some years ago and have played it absent-mindedly a good few times without particularly responding to it, but it was only after reading less than glowing reviews by colleagues on Amazon.com that I actually listened to it properly - and, by jiminy, they are so right: while these performances have a certain breathless excitement to them they are utterly unvarying in their headlong rush towards the finishing post. There is no pointing of rhythms, no rubato, none of the witty little hesitations and ornamentations that bring out Haydn's sly humour. In fact they mostly resemble Glenn Gould's earlier assault on the Goldbergs, which I enjoy as a tour de force but is in a manner wholly inappropriate to Haydn. The mystery to me is, first, why Andsnes chose to play this music on a modern piano when he doesn't want to exploit its potential for colour or pedalling and secondly, why this is at modern pitch when the orchestra is scraping away in what at times sounds like a parody of HIP practice, they are so clipped, bland and bald in expression.

If you want this music treated with imagination and respect, there is perfectly lovely bargain account on Arte Nova.
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Haydn's music always brings a smile to my face especially when it is played as well as this. You can play this any time and it will brighten your day! Andnes is an excellent pianist and is on top form here and is nicely accompanied.

An easy recommendation.
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on 27 May 2016
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on 10 October 2014
Inebriates - step forward! Pay attention!

If you're tired of putting your head in a bathtub of icy water after a Close Encounter of the Fourth Kind, this disc is a viable alternative. It will also reduce your water-bill.

This is Haydn played icily as Johann Sebastian Bach. Indeed, I broke out into a cold sweat myself whenever a chance arose in the score to extemporise - would Andsnes embellish proceedings with a fugue or two part invention? Sure our Norwegian buddy uses a modern-day piano but he might as well being playing a harpsichord for all the licence he affords to it. Indeed, even Angela Hewitt in her wonderful survey of the Toccatas is less timorous of the beast at her disposal.

Reactionary old me - I thought that the old distinctions between Baroque / Classical / Romantic were still pertinent. In avoiding the excesses of the third category, performers such as Andsnes default to the first and thus bypass the rightful medium.

Elsewhere, the chamber orchestra is infected by Hogwoodism in everything but pitch. Worse still, the recital per se is devoid of humour. One only has to turn to Joseph Haydn: Piano Concertos to find its antithesis.

It's enough to make me hit the cask-wine. As least I do so in the knowledge that a remedy is at hand that will sober me up tomorrow and not make a mess in the bathroom. Cheers Leif!
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on 26 February 2002
These concertos seem like great music in Andsnes' hands . Quite marvellous and only Argerich in No 11 comes close .
A much more enjoyable CD than the Hummel - his concertos seem interminable for all Hough's efforts
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on 16 May 2009
This is a superb disc, superbly played and recorded. You'd be a pretty dull person not to get up and spontaneously jig around the room to No. 11.
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