Igor Levit sprang to instant fame and prominence some two-three years ago; he is still only 29 years old. His fame was achieved without the publicity of ultra-short skirts, ultra-long hair, or Gucci outfits, unlike some of his famous (and immensely talented) contemporaries. He has a style of pianism that is quickly recognisable, with the concentration of Sviatoslav Richter, and the clarity of phrasing and rhythm of Clara Haskil or Maris Pires. I caught him off-air playing at Tanglewood last August, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under David Afkham in Beethoven's third piano concerto. It's a wonderful, classical performance by a really great pianist. I had never met Afkham before, but he also impresses here.
Levit is currently winning fresh laurels in London with a series of Beethoven's piano sonatas. So far, everything Levit touches seems to turn to gold. Ever-suspicious of critical acclaim, I have to admit that this time the general critical opinion (including mine) seems to be right: at least in Bach and Beethoven, Levit is a real wonder. With Levit at the keyboard, Beethoven's third piano concerto really comes to life. Three stars.