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Igor Levit 'Life' is beautifully played, beautifully felt, beautifully conveyed / STAGEADNCINEMA

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Along with Daniil Trifonov, pianist Igor Levit's concerts and CDs must recall what it first felt like to encounter Gilels and Richter, two other super-talented Russian pianists who brought excitement to classical music. When I saw Igor Levit live, one of the most striking aspects for this sensitive and strong pianist was the fascinating combination of music choices. So it wasn't surprising that the pieces for his latest solo CD are as varied as night and day: included works are by Busoni, Bach, Schumann, Rzewski, Wagner, Liszt, and Bill Evans, whose "Peace Pipe" couldn't get a more sensitive rendering.

Returning to the studio after three years, Levit reflects on both being and being beaten by the gaping gorge of grief, selecting works as a musical journey as a way of reflecting on and memorializing the accidental death of an intimate friend. Yet even as the origin of the album is death, the title is Life - suggesting that music, no matter how sad, is consoling and supportive and life-affirming. This Sony Classical release will simply make you glad to be alive. It is beautifully played, beautifully felt, and beautifully conveyed piano playing.

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