Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes has released an album featuring solo piano music of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. Sibelius composed fewer than 20 works for the piano, and his orchestral music is far better known.
With this album, Andsnes explored all of Sibelius’s piano music in search of pieces that he thought were most representative of the composer’s style. According to Andsnes in the press release, “I really, really believe in this music, and I want people to hear it. I feel like I’m on a mission here!”
The music on the album is arranged chronologically, starting with early impromptus from opus 5 and ending with the Five Sketches from opus 114. The piece range from the harmonically progressive Sonatina in F-sharp minor (which Andsnes says “inhabits a private world”) to folk-like miniatures such as “The Spruce” and “Song in the Forest.”
In the liner notes, Andsnes writes, “Everyone was astonished that there could be a major composer out there with such beautiful, accessible music that people don’t know.” With this album, he attempts to bring the solo piano music of Sibelius more attention.