Igor Levit has established himself as “one of the essential artists of his generation” (The New Yok Times). The press attests to his performing with a “wealth of meaning without artifice” (Washington Post) leaving the listener “speechless with amazement and admiration” (The Telegraph). In January 2018, Igor Levit was named the Gilmore Artist 2018, and in May 2018, he was named “Instrumentalist of the Year” at the 2018 Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards. Born in Nizhni Nowgorod in 1987, Igor Levit at age eight moved with his family to Germany. He completed his piano studies at Hannover Academy of Music, Theatre and Media in 2009 with the highest academic and performance scores in the history of the institute. Igor Levit has studied under the tutelage of Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, Matti Raekallio, Bernd Goetze, Lajos Rovatkay and Hans Leygraf. As the youngest participant in 2005 Arthur Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv, Igor Levit won the Silver Prize, as well as the Prize for Best Performer of Chamber Music, the Audience Favorite Prize and the Prize for Best Performer of Contemporary Music. In Berlin, where he makes his home, Igor Levit is playing on a Steinway D Grand Piano kindly given to him by the Trustees of Independent Opera at Sadler’s Wells.
On DSCHArtists Igor Levit
Release Date: 09/10/2021
The new album “On DSCH” by Igor Levit is a 3CD discographic tour de force by “one of the essential artists of our time” (The New York Times). That the self-styled “maximalist” enjoys pushing himself to his limits – intellectually and physically – is well known, but the present project – two key cycles of musical modernism - puts all others in the shade.
Completed in 1951, Dmitri Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues – a summary of all the major and minor tonalities – lasts some two and a half hours in total, while Ronald Stevenson’s Passacaglia on DSCH, which he completed in 1963, is an unbroken set of variations lasting nearly an hour and a half. The letters DSCH spell out Shostakovich’s musical monogram using their German note names: D–Es–C–H = D–E♭–C–B. Levit himself describes the 24 Preludes and Fugues as “a kind of musical diary”: “There is something utterly unique”, he says, “about this combination of warmth, immediacy and pure loneliness. For me, it is a ritual of self-exploration and self-discovery that deals with the most intimate questions.”
Ronald Stevenson (1928–2015), a Scottish composer with a Utopian outlook on life, set out to circumnavigate the world from the starting point of his piano. The DSCH motif provided him with the basis for a spectacular survey of all manner of pianistic and stylistic possibilities over a span of more than three hundred variations. “The Passacaglia”, Levit believes, “is a veritable compendium of life, a kind of music that tells us of our responsibility towards the world as a whole.”
The album’s artwork is specially created by the internationally renowned artist and graphic designer Christoph Niemann, who regularly illustrates for “The New Yorker” and “The New York Times”. His illustration for “On DSCH” offers a playfully abstract counterpart to this musical experience.
The 3-disc set is presented in deluxe paper packaging and includes a limited edition printed insert of the “cryptogram” that Shostakovich used as his musical signature.