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Levit's traversal of the entire cycle is now available on YouTube. I found it to be a convincing cycle, satisfying to me. Many of the caveats are the fast tempi he takes in the outer movements of the early and middle sonatas. Igor channeled some of Schnabel here (who took very fast tempos) as well as Friedrich Gulda. Actually Richard Goode is faster than Levit in many instances. In any case, the fast tempos were not that disconcerting to me. Some of the wit and humor was swept away in Op. 54 and Op. 79. And the Allegretto of the "Waldstein" should have been more expansive, but that coda was thrilling. And the opening statement of the "Waldstein" was propulsive, full of energy and life. The Presto Agitato of the "Moonlight" was very edgy due to the heightened tempos, same as the finale of the "Appassionata". Levit's playing is exemplary, his technical facility never lacking.

Where he really shines is in the slow movements. The "Largo e Mesto " of Opus 10, #3 is sublime, as is the "Hammerclavier" Adagio. His reading of Opus 22 (rarely performed) is beautifully voiced, with judicious use of the sustain and une corda pedal
The tonal gradations and operatic character of the leading voice are marvelous!
Levit plays Adagio of Op. 22 Beethoven
On the whole, Levit journeys through the cycle very persuasively. The early period sonatas are very Haydynesque, finishing with the final rondo of Op. 22 with a Mozartean lilt. The middle period shows Beethoven breaking apart the sonata form with the Opus 26 "Marche Funebre" and the two Sonatas "Quasi una Fantasia". Levit's tonal palette and sound spectrum continues to grow, culminating in the late sonatas of Op. 81a, Op. 90 and the final five.These last are from Levit's previous release and they continue to amaze in the unique sound world of Beethoven,

Again, many will take issue with some of the fast tempos, but keep in mind the precedent of Schnabel. As an example, Leviit's timing of the "Appassionata" runs 9.23/5.58/7.58. Schnabel times in at 9.00/6.00/7.12.

All in all, a solid cycle in my opinion. Levit communicates Beethoven successfully, as well as being completely immersed and confident in his views. He takes his risks, just as Schiff is idiosyncratic in some of his interpretations, so is Igor.
Here's the entire link on YouTube, courtesy of Sony Classics:

Igor Levit Beethoven Sonata Cycle
BBC Radio 3 reviewed the set this morning:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0009k69 (from 1:50 - N.B. may not be available where you live)

The gist of the review was that tempi tend to be fast, and the playing confident & brilliant. The earlier sonatas came off best, but there's a lack of 'vulnerability' and 'sense of discovery' overall.
Originally Posted by bennevis
tempi tend to be fast,

Wim Winters isn't going to be happy! 🤣

I listened to Nos. 23 & 29 today. Beautifully done.
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by bennevis
tempi tend to be fast,

Wim Winters isn't going to be happy! 🤣

I listened to Nos. 23 & 29 today. Beautifully done.


No, he won't be happy, lol...
Gramophone just reviewed it this month:
Gramaphone Review of Igor Levit's Beethoven Cycle

" . . .there's that sense of being one with Beethoven himself". Calling it "a magnificent achievement."
The entire Igor Levit Beethoven sonata cycle is available on Spotify also, for those of you who are Spotify subscribers.
Originally Posted by AaronSF
The entire Igor Levit Beethoven sonata cycle is available on Spotify also, for those of you who are Spotify subscribers.


And also on Tidal and Qobuz for those who stream CD quality or higher to their stereos.
Igor Levit's Beethoven cycle is also available on Amazon Prime Unlimited. There's my Sunday listening for a while...
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by AaronSF
The entire Igor Levit Beethoven sonata cycle is available on Spotify also, for those of you who are Spotify subscribers.


And also on Tidal and Qobuz for those who stream CD quality or higher to their stereos.


... and also on IDAGIO.

Regards,
Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by AaronSF
The entire Igor Levit Beethoven sonata cycle is available on Spotify also, for those of you who are Spotify subscribers.


And also on Tidal and Qobuz for those who stream CD quality or higher to their stereos.


... and also on IDAGIO.

Regards,


Maybe they’ll integrate IDAGIO with Roon. That would be nice. Some people are calling for it.
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by AaronSF
The entire Igor Levit Beethoven sonata cycle is available on Spotify also, for those of you who are Spotify subscribers.
And also on Tidal and Qobuz for those who stream CD quality or higher to their stereos.
... and also on IDAGIO.
Maybe they’ll integrate IDAGIO with Roon. That would be nice. Some people are calling for it.

Idagio and Roon can be connected via a Sonos Connect.
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by LarryK
And also on Tidal and Qobuz for those who stream CD quality or higher to their stereos.
... and also on IDAGIO.
Maybe they’ll integrate IDAGIO with Roon. That would be nice. Some people are calling for it.

Idagio and Roon can be connected via a Sonos Connect.


I’m all set in the amp department, LOL. I have an amp that I can’t lift and it doubles as a room heater, but, oh, it puts out smooth Class A sound. I’m back to 175w Class A operation now that the weather has turned cooler.

I could stream IDAGIO from my Mac Mini through a web browser with the screen broadcast to my iPad with the Luna display dongle but it is nice to have everything integrated under Roon, as Tidal and Qobuz are for me now. I used to stream Naxos through a web browser but it was kind of a pain and I dropped it.
Actually, I made a mistake. The amp puts out 160Wpc, Class A, into 8ohms. It weighs 176lbs. I’ve lost a little weight recently and now realize that the amp and I are the same weight.
I've been making my way through this cycle recently and am enjoying it immensely. The tempi are generally on the virtuoso side, but I think it overall fits the character of Beethoven's style. The early sonatas are particularly successful, and everyone will argue over the details in the later ones, but I think it's a great achievement that stands up to Richard Goode, aka the last best version of the cycle.
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