As if Beethoven Himself Sat at the Piano
A Revelation: Stefan Litwin at the Schauspielhaus
Precisely what is special about this evening casts a dismal light on concert routine: Beethoven's Piano Concert No. 1, this time played, not by a pianist, but by a musician.
Stefan Litwin is his name, and in his performance with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and Gielen he does just about everything differently from the hundreds of piano laborers whose Beethoven presentations usually resemble each other as much as one tuxedo the other. [...]
His playing of Beethoven is a revelation that need not fear comparison with Rattle's »Pastoral« of last week, whose primary characteristics – the exploration of historical performance practice and the fusion of a thoroughly calculated artistic statement with the (seeming) spontaneity of the moment – also define Litwin's playing: staccato playing, transparent sound, and the balance of registers with a crisp, rhythmically vibrant bass, take us to the present directly from the forte-piano of Beethoven's era; Litwin colors them with magnificently rich Steinway tone.
One can almost believe Beethoven himself were sitting at the piano, so fresh and improvisational does Litwin's playing sound.
Jörg Königsdorf, Der Tagesspiegel, Berlin