Nov 21, 2022 8pm City Hall Concert Hall
Igor Levit Piano Recital
Beethoven: Tempest, Pathetique, No.25, Waldstein
Encore – Rzewski: The People United Will Never Be Defeated! – Improvisation & Thema
(scroll down for English review)
The Beethoven year would have seen Igor Levit playing the Beethoven Sonata Cycle throughout the world but the pandemic interfered. So although Levit’s Hong Kong debut was just a selection of three well-known and one underrated sonatas I’m still grateful.
This being my fourth time seeing him live, and I’ve reviewed several of his recordings so I know my like and dislike regarding this inquisitive pianist. I admire his choice of repertoire more than his pianism. I savoured th rare pieces he played but I always felt he didn’t have what it takes to render them with justice.
Likewise for such mainstream fare of Beethoven. Some would wow at his frantic tempi but some would hate him for that. To me, these tempi were the effect, not the cause of such idiosyncratic interpretations. I think Levit’s approach was too bony, the missing “meatiness” was his avoidance of a singing tone, whether it was for a phrase or the beauty of a single note. The No.25 sonata, an encore favourite of Andras Schiff, was the only one that fit Levit’s quicksilver approach. The allegros were energetic yet infused with enough dynamic gradations and the middle movement was kept flowing.