Performance Wednesday, March 26, 2014 | 7:30 PM

Paul Lewis

Zankel Hall
“Faced with such excellence, a mere critic can only abandon paper and pencil and listen to this heroic but deeply moving young artist with awe and amazement,” praised Gramophone of a recent recital by Paul Lewis. The talented pianist comes to Carnegie Hall with a program that spans the most beloved and well-known works in the keyboard repertoire, including Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.


  • Paul Lewis


  • BACH Chorale Prelude on "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland," BWV 659 (arr. Busoni)
  • BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 13 in E-flat Major, "quasi una fantasia"
  • BACH Chorale Prelude on "Ich ruf’ zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ," BWV 639 (arr. Busoni)
  • BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp Minor, "Moonlight"
  • LISZT Schlaflos, Frage und Antwort
  • LISZT Unstern! Sinistre, disastro
  • LISZT R. W.—Venezia
  • MUSSORGSKY Pictures at an Exhibition

  • Encore:
  • LISZT Piano Piece in F-sharp Major, No. 4 from Fünf kleine Klavierstücke, S. 192

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Paul Lewis

    British pianist Paul Lewis is internationally regarded as one of the leading musicians of his generation. His recent cycles of Beethoven's and Schubert's core works for piano received unanimous critical and public acclaim worldwide, and have consolidated his reputation as one of the world's foremost interpreters of central European classical music.

    Mr. Lewis performs regularly with the world's great orchestras, including many throughout the US, such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Seattle Symphony; he enjoys particularly strong relationships with both the Boston and Chicago symphony orchestras. Later this season, he makes his long-awaited debut with the New York Philharmonic under Christoph von Dohnányi. He is also frequent guest at the world's most prestigious festivals, including Lucerne, Mostly Mozart, Tanglewood, Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, Salzburg, Edinburgh, La Roque d'Anthéron, Rheingau, Klavier-Festival Ruhr, and London's BBC Proms, where in 2010 he became the first pianist to perform a complete Beethoven piano concerto cycle in one season.

    Mr. Lewis's recital career has taken him to venues that include London's Wigmore Hall and Royal Festival Hall, New York's Alice Tully Hall and Tisch Center for the Arts, Vienna's Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Berlin's Philharmonie and Konzerthaus, the Tonhalle Zurich, Barcelona's Palau de la Música Catalana, Tokyo's Oji Hall, Melbourne's Recital Centre, and the Sydney Opera House.

    His award-winning discography for Harmonia Mundi includes the complete Beethoven piano sonatas, concertos, and "Diabelli" Variations; Liszt's B-Minor Sonata and late works; and all of Schubert's major piano works from the last six years of his life, including the three song cycles with tenor Mark Padmore.

    Mr. Lewis has been named the Royal Philharmonic Society's Instrumentalist of the Year, and also earned the South Bank Show Classical Music Award and three Gramophone Awards.

    Paul Lewis studied with Joan Havill at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London before going on to study privately with Alfred Brendel. Along with his wife, Norwegian cellist Bjørg Lewis, he is artistic director of Midsummer Music, an annual chamber music festival held in Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom.

    More Info


Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp Minor, "Moonlight"
Paul Lewis, Piano
Harmonia Mundi

At a Glance

Ranging from the contemplative calm of two Bach-Busoni chorale preludes to the Russian extravagance of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, the expressive range of tonight's program is remarkably broad. While Bach was a great conservative, glorifying with his counterpoint the sturdy melodies of the Lutheran chorales written two centuries before him, Mussorgsky was a composer with no interest in correct Western musical traditions. Instead, he explored a new, wholly Russian language in his small but influential body of works. Stripped of the polished orchestral colors overlaid by Ravel, the original version of Pictures for keyboard demonstrates his unvarnished expressive power.

Beethoven's two Piano Sonatas, Op. 27, and three late piano works by Liszt show both composers making radical musical experiments. We often hear the second of the Op. 27 sonatas—the famous "Moonlight"—but its sibling in E-flat major, with its provocative mixture of moods, is more rarely encountered. By his last decade, Liszt had left his flamboyant Romantic style behind, and was creating stark, emotionally shattering pieces that broke the bounds of traditional tonality.
Program Notes
This performance is part of Keyboard Virtuosos III: Keynotes.