Stories » Igor Levit. Boldness and brilliance at Wigmore Hall / 4 stars from theguardian

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Igor Levit. Boldness and brilliance at Wigmore Hall / 4 stars from theguardian

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The eight Wigmore Hall recitals that make up Igor Levit's season-long survey of the the 32 Beethoven piano sonatas stretch from this autumn to next June. If the schedule appears stately, the playing is anything but. Where some pianists may approach the 32 in a reverent mood of homage, Levit's playing constantly highlights the white-hot invention of Beethoven's writing, the stylistic disruptions and innovations, and the extreme contrasts of dynamics.

At times it can seem disconcerting. Yet so was Beethoven. It's all there in the score, from the amazing contrasts of sonority Levit conjured from the closing pages of the Largo of the E-flat sonata opus 7, to the hurtling joy of the closing movement of the opus 81A "Les Adieux" sonata in the same key, in which Levit's fingers were a match for Beethoven's challenging Vivacissimamente marking.

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