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Louis Lortie

Discussion in 'Pianists' started by pianolady, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Today I saw Lortie play a concert in Chicago. The concert was relatively short, but Lorties' program was very unique compared to all the other concert's I've been to. Here was the program:

    Wagner/trans. Lortie - Prelude to Tristan and Isolde
    Wagner/arr. Liszt - Isolde's Liebestod
    Wagner/arr. Wolf - Magic Fire Music from Die Walkure
    Liszt - Reminiscences of Don Juan (On Themes from Mozart's Don Giovanni)
    Wagner/arr. J. Rubinstein - Siegfried Idyll
    Wagner/arr. Liszt - Overture to Tannhauser

    No main-stream repertoire! I am always impressed by professional pianists and it was no different today. But one piece here is what I will add to my "most memorable concert pieces experience" list. That list is short - only 4 items. Today, I add Lortie's playing of Liszt's Reminiscences of Don Juan. It was outstanding - I am still a bit numb! I've never seen someone play double chromatic runs up and down the keyboard so fast. Wow! A couple of his jumps weren't spot-on, but it didn't matter - everything else was spectacular! I will never forget the feeling of sheer amazement I had afterwards. That's why it's going on my list.

    The other impressive piece was the last one - the Overture to Tannhauser. Not quite as impressive as the Don Juan, but still good. I'm going to back up a bit here and say that when Lortie began the concert, within the first five seconds I cringed a little because he is one of those players who looks up at the ceiling a lot when he plays. And then there's the large hand/arm waving and bouncing on the seat. I hate those things. But when he was onto the Don Juan, I totally forgot about all that I was simply mesmerized by the playing. That, and I think he was just too busy playing to do all that stuff anyway...

    Back to the Overture to Tannhauser - Lortie had some interesting pedal technique going on. I've always been taught to keep your heel on the floor and just use the ball of your foot or else your toes to control the pedal. He did it this way much of the time too. But there were other times when he completely lifted his whole foot off the floor and then stomped back down on the pedal, causing a stomping sound on the floor to the beat of the music. Sort of like playing drums along with yourself. That surprised me, but it was fun to watch.

    He only played one encore, and I don't know what it was but it was pretty and probably another transcription. As for attire, he wore a black suit with tails. That's it...short and sweet, although I wish he would have played another encore or two...
     
  2. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Very probably ;) It's one of the hardest things in the romantic repertory.

    I quite like Lortie, and this sounds like my sort of programme.

    Hmm.. Wolf Magic Fire Music, that's a new one on me. I've played the Brassin transcription (here's one of my absolute favourite recordings - the Brassin played by Josef Hofmann) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfc-ewL90_Q

    Not sure about his pedal technique.. Tannhauser is pretty hard work though - imo the three hardest Liszt transcriptions to be played with any sort of regularity are Don Juan, Norma and then Tannhauser. (There are some others on a similar level, but almost nobody plays them).
     
  3. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

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    So many Opera transcriptions! And Wagner too, would have liked to been there! I have heard most of these pieces, albeit in their orchestral form. I have a CD that has the Overature of Tannhauser, though for some reason the performances are not as long as performances on naxos.

    Must have taken him a while to get those up to speed! Then again, if he is concert pianist I guess that would mean he practices piano for a living :p
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Honestly, the Magic Fire piece didn't do anything for me. I can't even remember it now.

    [/quote]

    haha...I know! I would have had to start practicing these technical drills when I was five years old. And probably still wouldn't be able to play like this. Wouldn't that be so cool, though, if you could somehow by magic or something go back in time to when you were little and start your piano lessons all over again with a different teacher - like one of those tough Russian teachers who stand over you with a ruler in their hand and force you to do practice piano drills. Then you could see if those kinds of lessons would have worked and you could as your current age play practically anything? Or maybe those lessons would not have worked and you just don't have it in you no matter what...(not sure if that makes sense....)
     
  5. johngrant

    johngrant New Member

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    Lortie is one among many once "up-and-coming" Canadian pianists, except he's NOT "up-and-coming" any more!!! He's already made it!

    He stands in the shadow of MAH, and ultimately of Gould, which I think has warped his natural rep. a bit. He's a superb technician, as are all Franco-Canadian (Quebec-trained) pianists, but has sacrificied his amazing grasp of Beethoven and Mozart for the more bravura-esque rep. That's what people pay to hear, apparently!

    In short, his Mozart is lovely, but he's no MAH. If you like Lortie in concert, you will LOVE Marc Andre!!!

    JG
     
  6. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    You are preaching to the choir! :) I've seen MAH several times. I already do love him!!
     

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