Igor Levit joined the Bayerische Staatsorchester on their recent tour of Asia, performing Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini in Taipei, Seoul and Tokyo.
The tour marked Igor Levit’s and Maestro Kirill Petrenko’s Asia debuts, whose “symbiotic collaboration” received praise from critics.
Igor Levit also mentioned his special relationship with Kirill Petrenko and the Bavarian State Orchestra: “The partnership with this group of musicians and Kirill Petrenko is very unique to me. I know that I can completely trust Petrenko. He is a musician who is never satisfied with the 99.9% and will always work until he is 100% satisfied with the result. ”
In a review for Bayerische Staatszeitung, Marco Frei said: “…The Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini for piano and orchestra by Sergei Rachmaninov was brilliantly performed. With the soloist Igor Levit, a multi-layered portrait of the “Devil’s Violinist” appeared: an unheard-of sensibility to sound, without virtuosic overpressure. Levit is magician when it comes to colours, and with Petrenko and the musicians of the Bavarian State Orchestra, he feels particularly comfortable.”
For the Süddeutsche Zeitung Egbert Tholl praised the emotional range of the performance stating: “In the concert, this strange piece began with dry humor – not immediately associated with Rachmaninov. This is tremendously funny and lead into a succession of ideas, of which not every single one is ingenious, but the sum, especially because of Levit, pure magic. As encore, he plays the piano adaptation of “Liebestod”, the end of Wagner’s “Tristan” by Franz Liszt. How the highly intellectual Levit is able to build up the convergence of doubt and passion as well as struggle and pleasure at the same time is an event in itself, also because: In the following Mahler symphony there are two quotes from “Tristan”. The encore thus interlocks the program of the evening.”
Igor Levit recently performed the First Night of the Proms, opening the prestigious series with Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto which was heralded as “a performance of an intimacy that should be almost impossible in this space” (The Guardian).