Bruce Levingston's exquisite new release, Prelude to Dawn, features the interwoven, haunting works of J. S. Bach, Brahms and Rihm. In Levingston's hands, this timeless music exudes solace, joy and the possibilities of renewed life. “During the surreal existence of this past year, I found myself drawn closer than ever to Bach. His music brought much solace and peace. Bach has long been an inspiration to musicians, especially Brahms and Rihm. These three German masters represent a thoughtful dialogue that has spanned four centuries. Their intimate musical landscapes resonate with this pensive, solitary time. Some works, like Brahms’ wistful chorale prelude, “Herzlich tut mich verlangen” (Op. 122, No. 10), reflect the delicate twilight between life and death. Others, like the glorious Chaconne and joyous Prelude, Fugue and Allegro deny defeat. Perhaps the most timely work is Bach’s “Wachet auf” (Sleepers, Awake). Its memorable chorale, written during the Plague in Germany, was composed by a pastor to comfort his fearful congregation. In Bach’s hands, its noble spirit and soaring themes herald a celebration of life. Together, these pieces recall the shadows and fragility of our world, but also the possibility for its regeneration — and a new dawn.” (Bruce Levingston)
"Bach’s Prelude, Fugue and Allegro, S 998 is performed with gentle directness and speaks with an expressiveness that is never overdone. The mighty Theme and Variations in D minor, Op. 18b by Brahms concludes this uncommon recital….Levingston captures our attention without artifice or willfulness. Excellent forward sound, and the pianist’s own expressive notes add to the joy this recording brings to the soul.” - The American Record Guide May/June 2021
"Levingston's technique is as impressive as always….one of the best-sounding solo piano discs I've heard in ages. Brahms's Theme and Variations in D minor makes for an apt closer. Levingston's restraint in the fifth variation is something to behold, as is his handling of the radiant major key close." - - Graham Rickson -The Arts Desk July 2021
“Bach and Brahms, played with an intense, even defiant quality that does seem to pertain to the moment in history...and a late Brahms chorale prelude, is an especially compelling utterance, both complex and consoling. With excellent Sono Luminus Studios sound, this is an approachable release for many kinds of listeners." **** ( Four Stars ) - James Mannheim - AllMusic Review April 2021
“perfectly voiced rolled chords… through great variety of articulation and tone colour, the [ Chaconne’s ] 64 variations remain fascinating and in character. Levingston’s pedalling is especially good in clarifying bass, melody, inner parts and chord structure. Levingston’s flowing prelude and the meticulously articulated fugue with its unusual broken-chord interlude especially captured my interest….recent trying times are a subtext here, but so are notes of passion and hope in Prelude to Dawn. "
The WholeNote - Summer Issue 2021 - Roger Knox
"Bruce Levingston’s magisterial playing of this music reaffirms his position as one of America’s great pianists." - Rafael de Acha - All About The Arts - January 2021
“Levingston's playing is, as ever, exquisite, his touch and phrasing impeccable. The greatest pleasure, however, lies simply in witnessing Levingston's artistry in play and attending to the music's nuanced unfolding in his hands. Leaving the recording, one imagines it could be played two hundred years from now and the experience would be no less rewarding.” - textura - February 2021