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Solo Piano - Released October 5, 2018 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Pianist Igor Levit moved from Russia to Germany when he was eight, but there's still a lot of Russian in his outlook: an attraction to the pure virtuoso tradition, and a tendency toward big statements and the big questions. Nowhere has this been more true than on Life, an album that succeeds both thematically and as a thrilling embodiment of late-Romantic pianism at its best. The title, and the contents, refer to the album's memorial function: Levit chose the program to honor a close artist friend who died in an accident. The music is monumental enough to live up to its death-haunted theme, rising out of silence in the Fantasia after J.S. Bach of Busoni and continuing with a remarkably sustained mood of soberness and dignity, punctuated by frenetic outbursts. Busoni is one major presence on the program; the other is Liszt, and the two come together in the Busoni transcription of the Fantasy and Fugue on the Chorale Ad nos, ad salutarem undam of Liszt, originally for organ and an impressive virtuoso task on the piano. So the program works well also as a revival of pure late-Romantic pianism: you can easily imagine that Liszt would have loved this, and loved to play it. A third theme interweaving the works on the program is that of reinterpretation, as in the Brahms transcription of the Chaconne from the Bach Partita for solo violin in D minor, BWV 1004; the fact that Levit has played these works in different orderings in recital testifies to the program's remarkable cohesiveness. There is music by Frederic Rzewski in a memorial vein, and Bill Evans' serene Peace Piece is a lovely conclusion. Bravo! © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 13, 2019 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Pianist Igor Levit came on the scene with an album devoted to Beethoven's late piano sonatas, works normally not undertaken until a player has had some experience. As if that were not enough, he released a three-CD set featuring Bach's Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Op. 120, and Frederic Rzewski's The People United Will Never Be Defeated: three giant and challenging variation sets. Seemingly determined to outdo himself, he returned in 2019 with a complete set of Beethoven's sonatas. The four late ones, which made a critical splash, are included here (as played in 2013, not in new versions), and the rest follow somewhat in the pattern you might expect from the earlier album. Levit has said that he admires Artur Schnabel's Beethoven recordings from the 1930s, and indeed he has some of the same go-like-the-wind quality. His combination of fast tempi and graceful phrase shaping works well in many of the early sonatas, although in the Op. 10 set his tempos leave him little room for the marked Presto in the first movement of Op. 10, No. 3. His slow movements are a mixed bag, with the Adagio of the Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2 ("Moonlight"), lacking the evocative moods of some of the others. The first movement of the Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 ("Appassionata"), takes the forward sweep too far as the important short-short-short-long motif is reduced to decoration. Levit is never less than carefully considered in his phrasing, though, and many movements have a wonderful liveliness. Sample the joyous finale of the Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101, the first adumbration of the almost mystical quality of the late Beethoven. The late sonatas are worth revisiting, especially the masterfully clear Piano Sonata No. 29 in B flat major, Op. 106 ("Hammerklavier"), and the Piano Sonata No. 31 in A major, Op. 110. The collection may be brash in many ways, but it lives up to its ambitions and demands attention. © TiVo
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Solo Piano - Released August 22, 2014 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Record of the Month - 4 étoiles Classica
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Classical - Released October 9, 2015 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Record of the Year - 4 étoiles Classica
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Classical - Released November 4, 2016 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released September 13, 2019 | Sony Classical

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Pianist Igor Levit came on the scene with an album devoted to Beethoven's late piano sonatas, works normally not undertaken until a player has had some experience. As if that were not enough, he released a three-CD set featuring Bach's Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Op. 120, and Frederic Rzewski's The People United Will Never Be Defeated: three giant and challenging variation sets. Seemingly determined to outdo himself, he returned in 2019 with a complete set of Beethoven's sonatas. The four late ones, which made a critical splash, are included here (as played in 2013, not in new versions), and the rest follow somewhat in the pattern you might expect from the earlier album. Levit has said that he admires Artur Schnabel's Beethoven recordings from the 1930s, and indeed he has some of the same go-like-the-wind quality. His combination of fast tempi and graceful phrase shaping works well in many of the early sonatas, although in the Op. 10 set his tempos leave him little room for the marked Presto in the first movement of Op. 10, No. 3. His slow movements are a mixed bag, with the Adagio of the Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2 ("Moonlight"), lacking the evocative moods of some of the others. The first movement of the Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 ("Appassionata"), takes the forward sweep too far as the important short-short-short-long motif is reduced to decoration. Levit is never less than carefully considered in his phrasing, though, and many movements have a wonderful liveliness. Sample the joyous finale of the Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101, the first adumbration of the almost mystical quality of the late Beethoven. The late sonatas are worth revisiting, especially the masterfully clear Piano Sonata No. 29 in B flat major, Op. 106 ("Hammerklavier"), and the Piano Sonata No. 31 in A major, Op. 110. The collection may be brash in many ways, but it lives up to its ambitions and demands attention. © TiVo
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Classical - Released November 4, 2016 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released November 4, 2016 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released February 6, 2015 | Sony Classical

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Igor Levit makes his debut on Sony in the last six piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven, a part of the repertoire that is usually reserved for mature artists, not rising stars. Yet in spite of some signs of youthful enthusiasm, and a possible loss of objectivity from playing these pieces on a busy recital schedule, Levit has a good feeling for Beethoven's late style, and his 2013 release is a promising beginning for his recording career. The excessive use of rubato is something Levit should watch, because too much alteration of the tempo dissipates Beethoven's energy, and even though these sonatas have their moments of reverie and trance-like passages that can be interpreted as mystical experiences, too much elasticity can make them seem like idle daydreams, or worse, forgetfulness. On the whole, though, Levit shows his thorough mastery of the notes, and he can handle Beethoven's myriad syncopations and unconventional counterpoint with great agility. Ultimately, what proves Levit's preparedness for playing these sonatas has less to do with his technical abilities and more to do with his expression and understanding of Beethoven's rarefied sound world. Levit has captured the otherworldly quality that is a hallmark of the late works, and he grasps the forms that give the music meaning, whether in the labored fugues or the sublime variations. It will be interesting to see if Levit revisits these sonatas at a future date, if only to discover how he will grow with them, which he surely will. Sony's recording is up close and personal, so the occasionally faint dynamics are entirely Levit's doing. © TiVo
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Classical - Released March 20, 2020 | Sony Classical

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Classical - To be released September 11, 2020 | Sony Classical

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Igor Levit in the magazine