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Igor Levit has recently given highly acclaimed debuts in major musical centres across Europe and is being hailed by international critics as one of the most outstanding pianists of our time. Levit is a BBC Young Generation Artist and currently features in the “ECHO Rising Star” program of the European Concert House Organization. Not just another young aspiring pianist releasing his debut album, he is an outstanding artist who meets the exceptionally high technical and interpretative demands of this extraordinary repertoire. Despite his young age, Levit’s interpretations display a rare depth and maturity, making for extremely well-balanced renderings on an artistic level of the great piano masters of our age. The Russian-German pianist performs one of the largest chunks of piano repertoire – Beethoven much-revered five late sonatas opp. 101, 106 and 109–111. Here, Beethoven’s late piano sonatas can be discovered in a most natural & tonally beautiful way. Written between 1816 - 1822 when the composer was completely deaf, Beethoven’s last sonatas are highly subjective artistic and personal confessions. The sonatas constitute one of the cornerstones of Beethoven's mysterious late style next to the five last quartets.
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 28 in A Major, Op. 101
I. Etwas lebhaft, mit der innigsten Empfindung (Allegretto, ma non troppo)
II. Lebhaft, marschmäßig (Vivace alla marcia)
III. Langsam und sehnsuchtsvoll (Adagio, ma non troppo, con affetto)
IV. Geschwind, doch nicht zu sehr und mit Entschlossenheit (Allegro)
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-flat major, Op. 106 'Hammerklavier'
II. Scherzo. Assai vivace
III. Adagio sostenuto
IV. Largo - Allegro risoluto
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109
I. Vivace ma non troppo
III. Gesangvoll, Mit innigster Empfindung (Andante molto cantabile ed espressivo)
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 31 in A flat major, Op. 110
I. Moderato cantabile molto espressivo
II. Allegro molto
III. Adagio ma non troppo - Fuga. Allegro ma non troppo
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111
I. Maestoso - Allegro con brio ed appassionato
II. Arietta. Adagio molto semplice e cantabile
“Levit's is [a first choice], and he demands to be heard.”
“it quickly emerges that this is neither reckless nor arrogant but a debut of true significance. Everywhere you turn, you encounter thoughtfulness, an utter engagement with the composer and a clear sense of Levit’s personality, though never in a shouty ‘look at me, I’m playing the Hammerklavier fugue’ sort of way.”
“There is some scintillating playing here – and it all serves the music...It would be idle to suggest that these are definitive readings of these works...but they are full of character and insights and thus to be included in any library shortlist, and the immediate recording lucidly relays Levit’s palpable and deep-seated commitment to the music.”
21st August 2013
“there's certainly nothing callow or immature about any of them. And it's certainly hard to imagine that he will ever make these sonatas seem any more beautiful than they do here, for the evenness of the sound Levit produces is astonishing...It's all hugely impressive.”
“Levit’s affinity for the composer’s essentially linear style and intense expressivity borders on clairvoyance, if you’ll forgive the cliché...In short, this is Beethoven playing of the highest distinction, not to be missed.”
The New Yorker
14th April 2014
“After a few minutes, I was transfixed. Here was playing of technical brilliance, tonal allure, intellectual drive, and an elusive quality that the Germans indicate with the word Innigkeit, or inwardness.”
“Those who are searching for perfection can stop here...this set, the first solo recording from Russo-German pianist Igor Levit, sets a new standard that will be very difficult to surpass...I guarantee that you will only stop when you are sated with sublimity. Revelatory experiences like this don’t come often in a lifetime.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.