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Piano Festival

16.11.-24.11. 2019



    Igor Levit  piano
    Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827)
    Piano Sonata in A major, Op. 2, no. 2
    Piano Sonata in D major, Op. 10, no. 3
    Piano Sonata in F major, Op. 10, no. 2
    Piano Sonata in E-flat major, Op. 31, no. 3

    The relative popularity of the Beethoven sonatas is also connected with their nicknames. No wonder that the Pathétique, Moonlight, Waldstein, Appassionata, and Tempest Sonatas rank so high in terms of familiarity. And yet these titles tell us nothing about the artistic value of the corresponding works. Among the quartet of four “nameless” sonatas with which Igor Levit concludes the 2019 Piano Festival is one of his great favorites: the D major Sonata, Op. 10, no. 3. Levit thinks that the first movement in itself is “incredibly captivating.” But it gets even better with the Largo e mesto second movement: “I don’t know of any slow movement that goes as deep as this one.” He finds the minuet to entail a bizarre combination of “humor and religious devotion,” and he considers the finale almost downright phenomenal: “It is total inwardness. When a finale already starts out with a question …” Whenever he has completed a Beethoven recital, Levit admits, he feels an irresistible impulse: “I want to do it again, I want to do it again.” And we also want that: his cycle will continue in the summer of 2020.

    Igor Levit

    The pianist Igor Levit was born in 1987 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, and began his piano training at the age of three. In 1995, his family moved to Germany, where Levit continued his studies with Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, Matti Raekallio, and Bernd Goetzke in Hanover and later with Hans Ley-graf at the Salzburg Mozarteum. He won four prizes at the Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv in 2005 and was additionally a winner in the Hamamatsu Competition in Japan. Levit soon began appearing with such renowned orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic; the Cleveland Orchestra; the Bavarian Radio Symphony; the Dresden Staatskapelle; the Boston and London Symphony Orchestras; and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam. In the summer of 2018, he made his debuts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival and with the Vienna Philharmonic at the Salzburg Festival; he will make his first appearance with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in March 2019. Levit’s schedule for the 2018-19 season also includes recitals in Vienna, Munich, Paris, and Tokyo, and he will make three solo appearances at London’s Wigmore Hall. One of his major projects is the complete cycle of 32 piano sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven, which he will also perform at LUCERNE FESTIVAL beginning in 2019. Levit devoted his debut recording, which was released in 2013, to Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas. His account of Bach’s six Partitas followed in 2014, and in 2015 he released an album containing Bach’s Goldbergs and Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations as well as Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated. He received Gramophone’s Recording of the Year and Best Instrumental Recording Awards in 2016. Life (2018), his most recent release, contains the works heard on today’s recital. Igor Levit received the Gilmore Artist Award in 2018.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 11 September 2011 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski performing Scriabin’s Prométhée; most recent appearance on 23 November 2016 playing Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

    October 2018

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