Levit cycle saves Berlin Fest

Levit cycle saves Berlin Fest


norman lebrecht

July 15, 2020

The Berliner Festspiele announced a scaled-down programme this morning.

From 25 August, Igor Levit will play Ludwig van Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas over eight concerts in the Philharmonie’s main hall. The Staatskapelle Berlin and Daniel Barenboim will perform Mozart’s last three symphonies. Cellist Nicolas Altstaedt will perform Bach’s solo suites in the Philharmonie. Trumpeter Marco Blaauw will accompany the film “Moving Picture (946-3)” by Gerhard Richter and Corinna Belz with music by Rebecca Saunders, at the Zoo Palast cinema. The festival end on 23 September with a Wolfgang Rihm premiere, “Stabat Mater”, performed by Tabea Zimmermann and Christian Gerhaher.


  • Amadeus says:

    Norman, please stop with titles like “Levit saves”, “Levit catches attention” etc. Enough is enough with this guy! Playing worse from day to day, even with the score now by the way, the posture is horrible, the tempi are much too fast and he’s cold like a piece of ice.

    • GustavoD says:

      Finally somebody tells the truth. But you forgot the rather useless interviews he gives, full of meaningless platitudes about Beethoven sonatas. Any conservatory student would say more meaningful things.
      I also find his level at the piano sinking: his first Beethoven disc was impressive but where are we now?

    • john humphreys says:

      Arguably the finest pianist of his generation – pioneering, inquisitive, generous to a fault and masterly in his pianistic presentation. I should know. How much of his repertoire does he play from music might I ask? (perhaps ‘Amadeus’ should show us how it should be done incidentally)

    • sven says:

      Absolutely right.
      Overrated like hell and his narcissism is just terrible.

    • Jay says:

      The simple best thing to do for those that dislike the
      piano player so much “ignore him ” He trades on
      whatever keeps him before the public.He is much
      like the violinist that runs around bare foot ,it’s what sells .He and his handlers know what sells to what crowd and cater to that base .It is not about music
      making as it is about making a buck.As long as he has an approving audience he will survive.

  • Counterpoint says:

    He is performing all 32 sonatas in Salzburg as well.

    • erich says:

      Absolutely agree. It is becoming increasingly tiresome that he – or his PR people – see the need for him to open his mouth at every opportunity. Enough already. It would interest me to know the difference of seat pricing between Salzburg and Berlin – and the other venues where he is inflicting his overhyped interpretations.

  • Ted says:

    I have attended one of his Beethoven recitals.I could hardly wait to the intermission.I ran away from the concert hall as fast as I could.It was a terrible experience.

    • Nick says:

      I was less fortunate than you, Ted. I had to attend a few of his recitals (social obligations). ALL of them were simply terrible, and it is not that Levit does not play the piano, he does, he taps the keys alright. He is not an artist, a little thoughtless “Klavier Machine” of which there are hundreds at schools around the world.

  • José says:

    Well, I disagree with the guy who wrote “finally somebody tells the truth”. Van Magazine told the truth months ago. Everybody should read this: https://van-us.atavist.com/winner-takes-all

    New York critics are his PR/publicists. Everything he does is infallible to them. They prefer to write the eleventh article about his Beethoven than to write the FIRST about Jonathan Biss wonderful new box set. Ok, you could (and should) write about Levit’s Beethoven last year, but now move on to the new versions. It’s disrespectful to other musicians, as if he is the only one.

    In a few years we’re going to call him Igor PogorLevit. If you know what I mean.

  • Carlos Solare says:

    With names like Tabea Zimmermann and Christian Gerhaher on the programme (to say nothing of several others you didn’t bother to mention), it does take quite a bit of cheek to write that Igor Levit is “saving” this festival.

  • Anarhimik says:

    Berlin, Salzburg, Lucern… goodness, this peacock clearly “wants to be the bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral, and the baby at every christening”

    • John Humphreys says:

      Lucerne. Name a great pianist who craved anonymity please.

      • Nick says:

        First one has to be “GREAT”. (Levit is far from that). Then we talk anonymity.
        Ferruccio Busoni and Sergey Rachmaninoff come to mind immediately!!

  • RW2013 says:

    He was always going to be playing all the 32 at the Musikfest.
    Disappointing that the concert with the Busoni concerto has been deleted (probably having to do with the Italian orchestra), but that wouldn’t mean anything to the tired club of Levit-bashers.

  • Evan Tucker says:

    He’s quickly becoming the biggest artistic giant of the piano in…. well I don’t know the last time some pianist seemed this artistically great this early.

  • Clevelander says:

    Nicolas Altstaedt is wonderful and his complete Bach suites will surely be a treat.

  • fflambeau says:

    A very nice lineup.

  • Nick says:

    Levit can hardly save himself, let alone Berliner Fest. Levit is an average piano student, nothing more. He is sold to the public as someone to watch, but there is nothing to listen let alone to watch!! And placed in the same festival with the greats like Ch. Gerhaher and T. Zimmermann, Levit looks pathetic.

  • Pogorlevit says:

    Next step: “Igor Levit saves us from Covid19” or what ?

    Come on, the Musikfest doesn’t need to by saved by anyone and even less by that guy

  • José says:

    I’m glad someone adopted my Pogorlevit nickname.

    Again, guys, read Van Magazine’s article: https://van-us.atavist.com/winner-takes-all