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Andsnes and Tetzlaff: a duo with staying power

January 25, 2009 |  9:00 am

PianoNorwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and German violinist Christian Tetzlaff have flourishing careers as soloists. But for the last 17 years, they also have been a dynamic duo, playing together for recordings and in much-praised recitals such as the one that will bring them to Walt Disney Concert Hall this week.

As David Mermelstein reports in the Arts & Books section, their partnership didn't jell immediately, though. "It took us a few years to adapt to each other's personalities and ways of playing," Andsnes told Mermelstein. "We had a couple of tours where I remember feeling a bit of frustration that we didn't really click, but after a year or two of working together, it was fine."

In fact, the pair say they've become good friends as well as committed colleagues. For one thing, they share a passion for raw fish. "There was a certain time when we couldn't eat anything but sushi," Andsnes said. And then there's the highbrow-lowbrow humor of Peter Schickele, alter ego of the "forgotten" composer of the Bach family, P.D.Q. Bach.

Andsnes credited Tetzlaff with introducing him to P.D.Q. and said that when he visits Tetzlaff in Germany, they listen to Schickele recordings looking somewhat less dignified than they appear in the concert hall: "We lie on the floor laughing."

-- Craig Fisher

Photo: Christian Tetzlaff, left, and Leif Ove Andsnes. Credit: Alexandra Vosding