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Igor Levit draws a throaty collective bark of appreciation from Wigmore Hall audience / theartsdesk

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You seldom hear a Champions League-level roar of approval at the Wigmore Hall. Last night, though, Igor Levit drew a throaty collective bark of appreciation from the audience after (for once) an awed hush had followed the final dying cadences of the aria's return in Bach's Goldberg Variations. Had he earned it? Absolutely. This recital was first of three devoted to the idea of Variations. Friday will see Levit play Beethoven's Diabelli set, and Frederic Rzewski's mighty deconstruction of the revolutionary anthem "The People United Will Never Be Defeated". On 27 May, the Russian-born Berlin pianist will take his regular explorations of lesser-known music further with the enormous, post-Shostakovich Passacaglia on DSCH composed by the Scottish-Welsh Lancastrian Ronald Stevenson in the early Sixties. 

Yesterday, though, the universally acclaimed Levit showed his paces at the familar core of the modern piano repertoire (albeit with a work that Bach conceived in 1741 as exercises for the two-manual harpsichord).   READ THE FULL artsdesk REVIEW