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Chopin: Piano Works Volume 2 (Chandos: CHAN 10714) CD

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Hailed as "one of perhaps half a dozen pianists who it is worth dropping everything to go and hear" (Daily Telegraph, London), Canadian pianist Louis Lortie has been praised for the fresh perspective and individuality he brings to a deliberately broad spectrum of the keyboard canon. He studied in Montreal with Yvonne Hubert (a pupil of the great French pianist, Alfred Cortot), in ... Read more in Amazon's Louis Lortie Store

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Chopin: Piano Works Volume 2 (Chandos: CHAN 10714) + Lortie Plays Chopin Vol. 3 [Louis Lortie] [Chandos: CHAN 10813]
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Product details

1. Piano Works, Vol. 2
2. Nocturnes Op. 9 No. 2
3. Nocturnes Op. 15 No. 1
4. Nocturnes Op. 15 No. 2
5. Nocturnes Op. 15 No. 3
6. Nocturnes Op. 48 No. 1
7. Nocturnes Op. 55 No. 1
8. Ballades Op. 23
9. Ballades Op. 38
10. Ballades Op. 47
11. Ballades Op. 52
12. Berceuse Op. 57
13. Barcarolle Op. 60

Product Description

CD Description

This is Volume 2 in our series of solo piano works by Chopin, played by the French-Canadian pianist Louis Lortie. Recording exclusively for Chandos, Lortie is recognised as one of the finest interpreters of Chopin today. He first recorded Chopins Études for Chandos more than twenty years ago; the disc was named as one of the 50 great performances by superlative pianists by BBC Music. Volume 1 of his current Chopin series also has received excellent reviews: the magazine Pianist wrote: He is a pianist of our time when it comes to speed, energy and an unfussy approach to Chopin. His way of playing is like a sharply cut steel sculpture, super elegant and with not one single smudge. And in the words of International Piano: These are full-blooded and eloquent performances, an auspicious start to what looks likely to become one of the finest of Chopin surveys. The ballade was associated with French poetry up until the mid-nineteenth century, when Chopin was among the first to transform the genre into a purely musical form for solo piano. His four ballades, recorded here, are among his most extraordinary and powerful works, full of dramatic contrasts, with moments of lyrical tenderness followed by passages of rambunctious energy. The Irish composer John Field invented the piano nocturne as a lyrical and dreamy short piece, a charming and languorous creation that was later transformed and extended by Chopin into something with a much wider emotional range, and a general sense of wistfulness. This Chopin style of nocturne soon came to replace the Fieldian style as the preferred model of the genre. The simplicity and directness of expression found in the nocturnes have made them the most popular of all Chopins works. Composed towards the end of his life, the Barcarolle (originally a Venetian gondoliers song) for solo piano is a melancholy, but sweepingly romantic work that conjures up strong images of Venetian boats, water, and oars. Also on this disc is the Berceuse (inspired by the traditional mood of the lullaby), based around a single four-bar theme which Chopin ornaments in increasingly elaborate ways as the piece develops.


I confess that (Berceuse) is one of the very few pieces of Chopin toward which I have felt something of akin to a lifelong aversion. How could adult, dog or cat be lulled into a sense of repose with all that incessant busyness going on? Lortie has converted me. He plays this piece with such ineffable tenderness, so lovingly and simply, that I can no longer resist recognizing it as one of the most beautiful lullabies imaginable. It still doesn't make me want to take a nap, but whenever I hear the Chopin Berceuse in the future, I will listen with fresh ears. Thank you Louis Lortie! --IRR, Mar'12

The core of Louis Lortie's recital in this second volume of his survey of Chopin's piano music is the four Ballades, interspersed with some of the Nocturnes and with the Berceuse Op 57 and the Barcarolle Op 60 as substantial extras. His first volume (CHAN 10588) was released in 2010, the bicentenary year when the market was awash with Chopin's music. Even so, Lortie's disc stood out for its thoughtful pianism and its well-considered programming, sensibly avoiding a routine, completist approach by placing the four Scherzos in the recital-like context of Nocturnes and the B flat minor Sonata. The same is true of this new disc, and, now that record companies obsession with Chopin has abated somewhat, there is even more of a chance to focus on and appreciate Lortie's tasteful style and his way of allowing the music to unfurl with unforced poetry and natural contours. He plays such familiar Nocturnes as the F major Op 15 No 1, the E flat Op 9 No 2 and the melancholy F minor Op 55 No 1, but they come across as fresh, spontaneous inventions, Lortie's limpid touch combining with his discreet palette of colours to echo in interpretation the perfection of form and expression that Chopin enshrined in the pieces. The restful lilt and gentle flights of fantasy in the Berceuse are softly articulated, the Barcarolle undulating tenderly and spinning its soothing melody towards its joyous apex. Lortie maintains astute perspective in this music, never exaggerating or imposing artificial effects but letting the innate beauty tell its own tale. Similarly, the Ballades assert their narrative quality and, in Lortie's hands, find an ideal equilibrium between quiet contemplation and dramatic flourish. **** CLASSICAL CD OF THE WEEK --Telegraph,24/03/12

...throughout his recital you will hear playing of the most patrician poise, fluidity and tonal finesse. A celebrated English pianist was once described as 'a virtuoso of dreaming'. The same could be said of Louis Lortie. --Gramophone,May'12

…a highly satisfying recital Performance **** Recording **** --BBC Music Magazine, Jul'12

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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
Louis Lortie continues his recent Chopin series 12 Mar. 2013
By P. Adrian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The second volume devoted lately to Frederic Chopin's music by the French-Canadian pianist Louis Lortie is structured similarly as the first one was two years ago. This time the four large-scale Ballades stand as the main attraction of the release. Their daring and epic character allows for a grand style pianism, which Lortie seems to gladly display. His fabulous technical skills and a distilled musicianship help in imposing a clearly contoured vision on the pieces performed. Yet, from time to time the soloist favours a delicate, restraint approach. The romantic turmoil of the Ballades is paired by a bouquet of refined melancholic Nocturnes, plus the seductive Berceuse op.57 and Barcarolle op.60. The choice of the works obeys the same rule governing the first release in this recent Chopin series, namely the keys of the pieces interspersed with the Ballades are close related (if not the same) to those of the Ballades they precede in the programme.

Louis Lortie's musical versatility is one of the assets of the French-Canadian keyboard superstar. His vast amount of recordings testifies for my assertion. It is enough to mention only his recent versions (all issued for Chandos) from the very personal version of the Beethoven complete sonatas to the Liszt's fabulous "Annees de pelerinage" or Ravel's complete solo piano works. However, this disc says that Chopin seems to remain the favourite among the composers from Lortie's vast repertoire and actually the most suitable to his style (though the warm sound of the Fazioli piano on which the first volume was recorded is missing here).

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Good Interpretations, Bad Recording Quality 9 Feb. 2013
By tal agam - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The Interpretations of Mr. Lortie is delicate and sophisticated, as usual, but unlike the previous Volume (Louis Lortie plays Chopin, Vol. 1 - Nocturnes , Scherzos, Sonata No. 2), recorded on a wonderful Fazioli Grand with excellent quality, the current volume, played on a Steinway D, tends to be muffled and unclear in the more dramatic moments. What a shame, otherwise it would be a 5 star album.
Five Stars 31 July 2014
By Terence E Patterson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Yep! FAZIOLI rules!! & since Brendel has retired .. THIS chap is the KING .... tp
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