Igor Levit performed at the First Night of the Proms on Friday 14th July, receiving praise from critics for his “elegance and sly wit” in a performance that featured Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto and an encore of Ode To Joy.

In a five star review for The Guardian, Erica Jeal said: “..here was a performance of an intimacy that should be almost impossible in this space. Hunched over the keyboard, Levit dialled the volume further and further back, drawing us in with him… Levit and the orchestra together relished the mercurial swerves of the finale, with elegance and sly wit.”

The Arts Desk also praised Levit’s delicate touch, writing: “his playing was beautiful of tone, detailed and attuned to the character of the music.”

Igor Levit, wearing a small EU pin on his lapel, chose the adopted EU anthem Ode To Joy as his encore piece, as referenced by Richard Morrison of The Times: “the mischievous Igor Levit followed a gorgeously gentle performance of Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto with Beethoven’s Ode to Joy in Liszt’s transcription.”

Finally, Nick Boston of Bachtrack also praised the soloist’s intimacy, writing: “Levit’s Beethoven was a wonderfully contained, intimate affair – no mean achievement in the massive, noisy Royal Albert Hall… He could barely contain himself in the orchestral sections, almost ‘playing’ the piano stool as a percussion instrument, and the final cheeky Presto was full of joy.”

Click here to watch Prom 1: First Night of the Proms in full.

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