- Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16
- Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54
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Poetry and power are the two words that come to mind while listening to Leif Ove Andsnes's highly anticipated recording of the piano concertos by Edvard Grieg and Robert Schumann. Both works require robust virtuoso techniques, along with a sensitively lyrical temperament, and Andsnes clearly has plenty of both. The opening volley of chords in the Grieg is full of muscle, while the following theme melts as gently as snow in a spring thaw. The rollicking finale, which can sometimes disappoint, is played with tremendous concentration here, not only by Andsnes but also by the Berlin Philharmonic, whose dark, burnished tone suits this music surprisingly well. The Schumann is given an unusually taut interpretation. Andsnes knows when to loosen the rhythmic reins, but both he and conductor Mariss Jansons make sure that the melodies flow inexorably to their destinations. There are many fine recordings of this coupling, including acclaimed versions by Radu Lupu and Murray Perahia, and there's no doubt that Andsnes belongs in their distinguished company. EMI's recording is state-of-the-art.