The Guardian festival blog: Schubertiade festival review – Levit and Feng dazzle amid outstanding talent | Music

This week marks one of the great landmarks of Igor Levit’s career – the release of a complete cycle of all Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas. How did the 32-year-old choose to prepare? By playing in a school hall in the middle of the Austrian mountains.

The spruce-lined gym/auditorium in Schwarzenberg (pop 1,790) in west Austria is fancier than most village halls, even if surrounded by nothing but fields and mountains. It also attracts musicians and music lovers from all over the world for the Schubertiade festival, who have been descending each year on this village since the festival’s formation in 1976.

So, no, this was no ordinary warm-up for the Beethoven box-set launch. Levit, one of today’s biggest piano stars, was accompanist to the Chinese violinist Ning Feng in an all-Schubert programme. They partnered each other beautifully in tone, general musicality and sense of phrase. Outside, the sun bathed the fields in a…


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