Piano recital with Igor Levit II
Igor Levit Piano
Ludwig van Beethoven
Diabelli Variations op. 120
36 Variations on The People United Will Never Be Defeated!
Tue, 20 Jun 2017, 20:00
Chamber Music Hall | Introduction: 19:00
Igor Levit has a soft spot for variation sets, which he already demonstrated in 2013 with the programme of his first concert in the scope of the Philharmonic recital series. In the 2016/17 season the pianist will present three monumental works of the art of variations which he recently also recorded on CD: After his first concert with Bach’s Goldberg Variations Levit interprets here the Diabelli Variations, Ludwig van Beethoven’s last work for piano.
In 1819, the composer and publisher Anton Diabelli called on renowned Austrian composers to each write a variation on a waltz theme he had composed. Beethoven, who somewhat disparagingly called Diabelli’s simple theme a “cobbler’s patch”, created – similar to Bach in his Goldberg Variations – a complete musical universe. But not just that: “In this work,” Levit says, “Beethoven asks who he is. And who we are. They say that Beethoven is very radical. That’s true. But in these variations we feel that he loves the theme, he hates it, he breaks it apart, he puts it back together. He is full of contradictions.”
The masterpiece from the Viennese classical era will be followed by The People United Will Never Be Defeated by the American composer and pianist Frederic Rzewski, a student of Luigi Dallapiccola, who as an avowed Communist often and readily formed his music into a political statement. His variations are based on the Chilean protest song El pueblo unido jamás será vencido by Sergio Ortega, which became the symbol of resistance to the dictator Augusto Pinochet. “The piece forces one to take a stance,” Levit says. “It demands approval or rejection. It has a tremendous force.”