Ernst Levy (born Basel, Switzerland in 18 November 1895, and died in Morges, Switzerland 19 April 1981) was a Swiss musicologist, composer, pianist and conductor. He studied with Egon Petri and Raoul Pugno. David Dubal describes him as an “unusual and powerful pianist” who made “grandly conceived” recordings of the late Beethoven sonatas and captured “the very essence of the Faustian Liszt”. His work as a musicologist and teacher brought him to the United States, where he taught at colleges including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago and the New England Conservatory.

He spent several decades teaching and giving rare concerts in the United States. His few LPs for the Kapp and Unicorn labels are highly sought-after collectors’ items, and this recording demonstrates why. In huge pianistic challenges like Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” Sonata and the Liszt Sonata, Lévy’s conceptions, technique, and gigantic sound are almost overwhelming, this is grand memorable playing. The few small pieces by Lévy show him as a fine composer, too, although he was most successful in large forms. This recording should go beyond the limited appeal of most mono piano issues; it’s one for the ages. Early and only made in US on Unicorn UNLP 1034 Mono Label from 1950’s, recorded in the Kresge Auditorium of MIT and mastered by Peter Bartok. – Saulo Zuccchello