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Igor Levit - Bach, Beethoven, Rzewski makes NPR's 10 Favorite Classical Albums Of 2015

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This is one heck of an ambitious program: three of the most compelling and demanding sets of variations ever devised for keyboard players. One could argue that there's no need for any current pianist to record yet another version of the Goldbergs, but Russian-German pianist Igor Levit more than makes his case in this trinity of pianistic expression, ranging from Bach's magisterial masterpiece to the radical virtuosity of Beethoven's Diabelli Variations to a recent monument of the form, American composer Frederic Rzewski's variations on the Chilean nueva cancion classic "El Pueblo Unido Jamás Será Vencido." The demands Levit has put on himself - and on his listeners - are manifold, but the effort pays off in spades. He brings uncommon intensity, clarity and strong emotion to all 99 variations.-A.T.

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