Igor Levit. Lukas Sternath
Händel and Haydn provide the launching pads and – in the first of the four Ballades op. 10 – an old Scottish ballad that he found in Johann Gottfried Herder's "Voices of the Peoples": How pointedly Brahms used to refer to the past can be experienced in this duo program, which Igor Levit creates together with his highly talented student from Vienna. The fact that the master's two most important cycles of variations are so close together here is due to his practice of arranging his own works for two pianos or for piano four hands in parallel with the colorful chamber music or orchestral versions. For Johannes Brahms – to quote Arnold Schoenberg – his music was always "evolving variation". In the case of the "Haydn Variations", the keyboard variant was even given its own opus number. One of the earliest works ever written for two pianos is Mozart's brilliant Sonata in D major from 1781.