on 19 March 2013
This set is a very real bargain. Each disc contains 80 minutes of music and the sound recording is just about the best I have heard of a piano - a wide, deep soundstage and a big, though never uncomfortable, dynamic range from thrilling 'fortissimi' to the most delicate 'pianissimi'.
I must say that Lortie was no more than a name to me but I heard on French radio a panel of critics concluding that his was the best "Années" available and I see no reason to doubt that judgement. This was Liszt's first really great work showing that he was more than just a showman. He wrote it when his passionate affair with Marie d'Agoult was at its height, and it was she who encouraged Liszt to develop intellectually and read more philosophy and theology. The passion and sense of peace and awe as well as the evocation of landscape, particularly in the First Book ("Suisse"),are all conveyed in Lortie's reading, which is both moving and exciting.
So don't hesitate: these days one can't be sure how long a recording will remain available.