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Mixed Company is written by Saint Paul Sunday staff, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the show and the classical music they love. We welcome your online comments.

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April 27, 2005

Integrated Pianist

Even thinking back over the tremendous artists who have appeared on Saint Paul Sunday over the years, its hard to come up with a partner whos more fun to make radio with than Leif Ove Andsnes, who brings a rare combination of high intelligence, lovely sense of humor, wisdom far beyond what you might expect in such a young artist and a fabulous willingness to dive into the radio experience. For Leif Ove, this radio program is not simply a performance, but a conversation, an exposition, an exchange of ideas. He offers his own experience of learning and performing the music, adds depth to whatever I might bring up and is only to happy to play a phrase at the piano to make what weve been talking about more clear.

Further, I ought to mention that Leif Ove is also one of the best pianists on the planet.

Listen to his performance of the Schumann, a tortured genius who continually struggled with what we would now call a bi-polar condition. Schumann even named the two principal sides of his personality Florestan, the extrovert and Eusebius, the sensitive poet. Faschingschwank aus Wien presents these two personalities side by side, again and again, sometimes uncomfortably close. The great virtue of Leif Oves reading is that he brings out fully the depth of these contrasts while somehow managing to hold the structure together. This is not only exciting and satisfying, its also high art, courtesy of this sensible and warm-hearted young pianist from Norway.

Posted by Bill McGlaughlin at April 27, 2005 2:47 PM




I'm listening from France by Internet your program with Leif Ove Andsnes : Congratulation for this superb program. Can you say me when it was record exactly please ?
Many thanks.

Best regards.

Claude Aubrun

By Claude Aubrun at May 1, 2005 8:50 AM


I am leaving for Norway this month. I would like the name and location of the small church in Norway Leif talked aobut where concerts are held. Thank you. Marky Thorsness, Durango, Colorado

By Marky Thorsness at May 1, 2005 10:03 AM


Utterly sensational rendering of Debussy's extremely demanding work. Thank you SO MUCH. JS

By Joe Stone at May 1, 2005 11:05 AM


Great, great program with the Norwegian pianist, Leif Ove Andsnes. Sat in may car until is was over. But I enjoy all your programs. I left the car, went in the house, filled out my pledge to KBYU in Provo, Utah for $120.00. Put my money where my mouth is.

By Steve Roper at May 1, 2005 9:44 PM


I've never been a fan of the Romantics, perhaps because modern pianists tend to over-romanticize these elements in their playing. For this reason I've avoided the works of Schumann--until now.

Leif Ove Andsnes played Faschingschwank aus Wien as I've never heard it before: by reining in the discordant and divergent elements of the piece(instead of making them more pronounced by adding emphasis) I was able to appreciate the melodic structure for the first time.

I know compare if favorably to some of Beethoven's sonatas.

Nicely done.

John Niesyn
Fairfield, CT

PS: Heard Rostropovich conduct the NY Philharmonic last night with M. Argerich as soloist. They rocked the joint.

By John Niesyn at May 1, 2005 10:17 PM


Marky, the festival that Leif Ove runs is in Risor, Norway...a tiny little fishing village that overflows with musicians once a year!

By Mary Lee at May 2, 2005 10:48 AM


I really enjoyed listening to your program with Lief Ove Andsnes yesterday morning on WFMT. My husband Peter and I attended a recent recital by Mr. Andsnes in Orchestra Hall in Chicago, in which he played Moussorgsky's Pictures at a Exhibition. We had long wanted to see it performed. It was a superb performance, not surprisingly. We were amused that the program also credited Mr. Andsnes tailor!

You indicated that you would welcome comments about future programming. Might I suggest Stuart Goodyear, a superb young Canadian pianist I've heard twice, in 2000 at Mandel Hall of the University of Chicago, and second at Orchestra Hall about a year ago. In each performance he played at least one on his own compositions. Also, in 2000 he visited one Chicago Public High School, Kenwood Academy (where I had taught, until retirement in 1994), and one "inner city," for want of a better term middle or elementary school. In each case he performed for the kids. I understand from a friend that at one school he was asked to play Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. He said he had never played it before (was he kidding?), then played it as if he had been playing it all his life! Additionally, very recently he received an outstanding review for his performance of the Hammerklavier Sonata in New York City.

Meanwhile, I really look forward to Exploring Music this evening -- Schumann!!!

With appreciation,

Fran Vandervoort
Chicago, Illinois

By Frances S. Vandervoort (Fran) at May 2, 2005 4:28 PM