Igor Levit, Encounter (2 CDs) Sony Classical, 28.99 euros. Also available on the streaming sites Spotify, Quobus and Primephonic.
Since he became the youngest participant at the Arthur Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv in 2005, the career of the German-Russian concert pianist Igor Levit has been mainly crescendo. But corona doesn’t care about being famous.
The lockdown also meant for Levit to be shackled to home and no more performances in sold out concert halls. That also brought Levit something good: ‘I could now make music without any constraints and spontaneously chose music that raised questions about love and death, loneliness, and the possibility to really love others. That has given me a degree of freedom in my piano playing that I have never experienced before. ‘ Almost unprepared, Levit began to give online recitals from home, with performances of piano arrangements of Bach’s chorale preludes and Brahms’ Four ernste Gesänge. This transcendent music expresses an intense desire for contact and connection with other people. The response to Levit’s ‘house concerts’ was so overwhelmingly positive that it was decided to release a recording. In addition to Bach and Brahms, the double CD also includes the silent meditative reflection Palais de Mari, the last piano work by the American composer Morton Feldman.