26 Feb 2024

Geirr Tveitt was a true radical born the year after Grieg died. Much of his music went up in flames but ”Andsnes has long been a champion of what remains.“ (Gramophone)

Schubert: Piano Sonata no. 14 in A minor, D.784
Tveitt: Piano Sonata no. 29 “Sonata Etere”, Op. 129
Schubert: Impromptu no. 1 in F minor, D.935
Brahms: 7 Fantasies for Piano, Op. 116

HAUGESUND Festiviteten 3 & 4 March
BAERUM Kulturhus 7 March
TRONDHEIM Frimurelogen 9 March
PERTH Theatre & Concert Hall 11 March
LUGANO Musica 13 March
AMSTERDAM Muziekgebouw 15 March
GHENT De Bikjloke 16 March
LYON Auditorium 18 March
BERLIN Boulez Saal 20 March

Leif Ove Andsnes has regularly championed little known works, giving rare gems a new lease of life and bringing them to audiences worldwide. Following his 2022 recital tour, which put the spotlight on Dvořák’s Poetic Tone Paintings, Andsnes’ latest solo programme features the only surviving piano sonata of his compatriot Geirr Tveitt, juxtaposed with works by Franz Schubert and Johannes Brahms. The 9 city tour which runs from 3 – 20 March, also sees Andsnes make his solo debut at the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin.

The Norwegian pianist-composer Geirr Tveitt (1908-81) was something of a cultural recluse, living most of his life on a farm in Hardanger collecting and arranging folk tunes. Often dismissed in his own lifetime for being a nationalist conservative, he was quietly rather more original than he was given credit for. Most of Tveitt’s music was never published and when his studio burned to the ground in 1970, some 80 per cent of his output was irretrievably lost. For Leif Ove Andsnes, who first championed Tveitt’s music on his 2007 EMI recording  “Long Long Winter Night”, the time is ripe to bring his characterful and idiosyncratic music to wider recognition.

Sonata Etere is one of Tveitt’s few large-scale works. Written in the early 1950’s and spanning 3 movements, the 35 minute sonata is a mono-thematic work in the grand style. «Tveitt studied both as pianist and composer in Leipzig, Paris and Vienna, and one can hear these traces in his piano writing, may be most clearly the influence from french piano music», says Leif Ove Andsnes  ”The Sonata is very colourful and he uses the instrument in the most imaginative ways. It`s an epic piece, but the simplicity of folk music runs through it. Tveitt wanted to get to the roots of the folk music, and he was quite obsessed with using different modal scales , which one often finds in folk music from different countries.”

In recital Andsnes frames Tveitt’s sonata with Schubert’s own Piano Sonata in A Minor and Impromptu no. 1 in F minor, and rounds off the programme with  Brahms’ Sieben Fantasien, Op. 116.

“Invariably, when I’m making a recital program now, I try to bring something that I’ve never played before,” continues Andsnes. “I’m getting to an age where I’ve played quite a bit in the past, and it’s exciting to bring things back that I haven’t played in a long time. I want to keep some of the repertoire that I have known for a while and also bring new things in. This program is a typical combination, the Schubert sonata I  played when I was 19, and until last year, I hadn’t played it for 25 years.”