I didn’t know the first pieces he performed. I was watching him play, rather than waiting to hear something. Igor Levit played the pieces in a very animated, theatrical manner which displayed how difficult the music was to play, and it was wonderous.
I could see how his body imposed the music onto the piano; yet, the music was also controlling his body and face. Where, then, was the music’s origin? It started working before the piano makes a sound or Igor Levit made a move. For, if the piano is the instrument of his body, and his body the instrument of his soul, music is the force which appears in his soul.
Whatever: – the spectacle of his playing started wearing off after a while. I was no longer actively listening and had started thinking about fartlek training in Richmond Park.
Then came the finale, “Les Adieux”, which I knew. He hit one note which disappointed: it did not intone the necessary psychological pain. Was he just a showman after all?
Well, perhaps that “pain” (my pain) – the pain I thought that note voices – wasn’t proper to the piece? I listened again. The piece seemed to repeat, “You can be – but you can’t be”(… with someone? Or, be something? …) and progressed to, “Can you be at all?”… to being about facing of death, and greater living, and so it welled up into ever greater affirmations… until Igor Levit finished the piece, stopped playing, turned to the audience, and bowed.