Magazine article Gramophone

Instrumental: Winner Bach. Beethoven. Rzewski Variations

Magazine article Gramophone

Instrumental: Winner Bach. Beethoven. Rzewski Variations

Article excerpt

This year's Awards featured a particularly stunning line-up of solo recordings, and the fact that neither Bertrand Chamayou's shimmering and subtly-lit Ravel nor Yevgeny Sudbin's rampagingly exciting Scarlatti took the palm gives an idea of the level. Yet Igor Levit was the rightful winner. This is a release filled with audacity--some would argue the notion of putting Rzewski alongside the great variation sets of Bach and Beethoven is itself an act of great cheek. Not me though--I've loved The People United since Marc-Andre Hamelin's vibrant 1999 recording; 'never likely to be equalled' said the Gramophone review at the time, but now it has been. Levit is different but every bit as compelling, showing that great music can take manifold approaches.

You have to keep reminding yourself that Levit doesn't turn 30 till next year--such is the confidence and maturity of his music-making. His Diahellis are immensely thoughtful and thought-provoking. And if he's less wildly anarchic in Var 22 than Andreas Staier or Piotr Anderszewski, that's not to suggest that his interpretation is at all buttoned-up: just sample Vars 17 and 19 for a taste of Levit's humour. …

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