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Igor Levit, 'Fugue No. 7 In A Major, Op. 87' (Dmitri Shostakovich)

It's best not to question the vastness of Igor Levit's mind, which hums along with the efficiency of a quadruple fugue. The forward-thinking pianist likes to push himself with complex projects, like his new triple-album set, On DSCH, a Dmitri Shostakovich-inspired affair which offers not only all of the composer's 24 Preludes and Fugues, but also a rarely heard tribute piece by Ronald Stevenson that spans nearly 90 minutes without pause. For our purposes here – and to get a taste of Levit's singing, transparent technique – let's opt for brevity: the Fugue No. 7 in A major, where Shostakovich's lighter mood sparkles with interlocking inner voices that ripple as clear as a mountain stream.

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Tom Huizenga is a producer for NPR Music. He contributes a wide range of stories about classical music to NPR's news programs and is the classical music reviewer for All Things Considered. He appears regularly on NPR Music podcasts and founded NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence in 2010.