© Felix Broede/Sony Classical
© Felix Broede/Sony Classical
Recital Igor Levit 2
Igor Levit’s grand Beethoven cycle arrives at its final destination here: with the last three sonatas, which have attained mythic status. Beethoven composed them when he was already completely deaf – when he himself could no longer hear what he had achieved. This was no more and no less than a renewal and readjustment of his own art. In the E major sonata, according to Levit, he “reinvented the form of the variations” using a world-weary Sarabande, which he at times varies like a Bach invention, but at others with a melodic freedom that brings Chopin to mind. The A-flat major Sonata, Op. 110, reflects a process of recovery: an instrumental lament, the “Arioso dolente,” gives way to a light fugue that ascends into jubilation at the end – “pure happiness,” as Levit puts it. And with the C minor Sonata, Op. 111, according to Thomas Mann in his novel Doktor Faustus, the fate of the entire genre seems to have reached its fulfillment. A hymn-like chant resounds at the end, flowing in ever greater ecstasy and redeemed from all earthly burdens.
Igor Levit © Robbie Lawrence
The pianist Igor Levit was born in 1987 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, and began taking piano lessons at the age of three. His family moved to Germany in 1995, where Levit continued his studies with Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, Matti Raekallio, and Bernd Goetzke in Hanover before transferring to Hans Leygraf at the Salzburg Mozarteum. He won four prizes at the Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv in 2005 and was also a victor at Hamamatsu Competition in Japan. Levit soon began performing with such renowned orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Saxon Staatskapelle Dresden, and the Boston and London Symphony Orchestras. He made his debuts with the Vienna Philharmonic in 2018 and, in 2019, with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. In the 2020-21 season, Levit will be artist-in-residence with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and will also be the featured artists at the Essen Philharmonie. He will make his debuts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic under Herbert Blomstedt. Additional plans include concert engagements with the Orchestre de Paris, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the Royal Concertgebouworkest, and he will go on tour with the Hagen Quartet. Among Levit’s major current projects is the cycle of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas, which he is performing at LUCERNE FESTIVAL, the Salzburg Festival, and Musikfest Berlin, as well as in Hamburg, Stockholm, and London. He has also released his recording of the complete set. His other recordings include accounts of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, and Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated. Encounter, which contains works by Bach, Brahms, and Feldman, is his latest album and will appear in September 2020. Levit was named recipient of the Gilmore Artist Award in 2018, and in 2020 he received the Beethoven Prize for his political engagement.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 11 September 2011 as the soloist in Scriabin’s Prométhée with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Vladimir Jurowski.