Recital 1

Igor Levit

Bach | Busoni | Schumann | Wagner et al.

Sat, 18501

KKL Luzern, Concert Hall

Vergangenes Konzert

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Piano Festival

17.11.-27.11. 2018



    Igor Levit  piano
    Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) / Johannes Brahms (1833–1897)
    Chaconne from the Partita in D minor, BWV 1004
    Ferruccio Busoni (1866–1924)
    Fantasia after Johann Sebastian Bach, BV 253
    Robert Schumann (1810–1856)
    Theme with Variations in E-flat major, WoO 24 Ghost Variations
    Richard Wagner (1813–1883) / Franz Liszt (1811–1886)
    Solemn March to the Holy Grail from “Parsifal,” S 450
    Franz Liszt (1811–1886) / Ferruccio Busoni (1866–1924)
    Fantasy and Fugue on the Chorale Ad nos, ad salutarem undam, S 259

    Igor Levit opens the 2018 Piano Festival with a program of works whose subject is music itself. Brahms and Busoni transferred pieces by Bach to the modern piano. Liszt arranged a march from Wagner’s “stage-consecrating festival play” Parsifal for the keyboard, while one of his own works, Ad nos, ad salutarem undem (originally written for organ) was transcribed by his colleague Busoni. Meanwhile, in Geistervariationen (“Ghost Variations”), his final piano work just before he suffered a mental breakdown, Schumann treated a theme that he believed angels had sung to him: the composer in dialogue with the hereafter. This spiritual component is a shared thread in Levit’s program as well: Bach’s work also suggests something of a spiritual retreat or prayer, Wagner’s Parsifal touches on sacred mysteries, and Liszt’s Ad nos is based on a chorale from Meyerbeer’s opera Le prophète. In other words, these pieces hint at higher truths. And who better to articulate them on the piano than the 31-year-old Levit, an artist known for exploring existential musical experiences?

    Lucerne Train Station Closure
    The train station in Lucerne will be closed for construction work on 17 and 18 November 2018. You can find further details here.

    You can purchase the digital concert program here.

    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

    Other dates

    17.30 | Introduction to the Concert (in German) with Susanne Stähr | KKL Lucerne, Auditorium