"I have to say I think this is the great forgotten cycle of the 19th century piano music. Maybe those are big words, but I do feel that," states Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes about his latest release on Sony Classical. On this album, he presents the most substantial piano collection by the great Romantic composer Antonín Dvořák - the unjustly neglected Poetic Tone Pictures.
According to the Norwegian pianist, these undiscovered gems show an entirely different side to the composer known for his symphonies and string quartets. "I love this music and no-one seems to play it," says Andsnes, who also championed the rarely played piano works of Jean Sibelius with the release Sibelius in 2017.
The 13 postcards for piano that make up Dvořák’s Poetic Tone Pictures were written in the Spring of 1889, and signal a shift in style from a composer moving away from formal constructions towards a more free, inspired aesthetic. Among these charming pieces are evocations of magic and mystery (The Old Castle), rustic dances (Furiant and Peasant Ballad), nostalgic mood pieces (Twilight Way), and tragic reminiscences (At a Hero’s Grave). The works range from the deeply profound to the playful, from lighthearted to furious - "I feel a very strong, wonderful narrative in them," says Leif Ove Andsnes, who firmly believes Dvořák conceived the pieces of this ‘exceptional’ set as a cycle to be played together.
The full album is out now, stream and download it here.