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Louis Lortie, Piano

- Classical and Cultural Connections

Louis Lortie, Piano
(Louis Lortie Website)

At Carnegie Hall

Raechel Alexander, Manager, Public Affairs

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 5, 2005

Canadian Pianist Louis Lortie, who studied in Montreal and Vienna, before studying with Artur Schnabelís student, Leon Fleisher, has performed complete works of Ravel, interpretations of Beethoven (all concertos, sonatas, and trios), Chopin, Brahms, Schumann, and that of contemporary composers, such as Carter. Mr. Lortie appears with renowned, international orchestras, such as New York Philharmonic and Montreal Symphony. He has won numerous awards and an honorary doctorate and teaches in Italy. More than 30 of his recordings are on the Chandos label. (Program Notes).


Franz Schubert (1797-1828): Valses nobles, D. 969 (selections) (1827).

Franz Schubert: Valses Sentimentales, D. 779 (selections) (1825).

Franz Liszt (1811-1886): Soirees de Vienne (Valses caprices díaprŤs Schubert), No. 6 (1846-52).

Hector Berlioz (1803-1869), arr. Franz Liszt: Un Bal: Valse, Allegro non troppo, from Symphonie Fantastique (1830).

Franz Liszt: Valses oubliťes, Nos. 1 and 2 (1881, 1883).

Franz Liszt: Waltz from Gounodís Faust (1861).

Helmut Lachenmann (b. 1935): Five Variations on a Theme of Franz Schubert (1956-57).

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937): Valses nobles et sentimentales (1911).

Maurice Ravel: La Valse (1919-20).

Louis Lortie, a most attractive and poised performer, performing on a Fazioli piano, selected known and lesser know waltzes for his Carnegie Hall recital of French or French-inspired works. The first two Schubert waltzes included rapid, swirling dance-like passages, with formality and structure. The subsequent Liszt work, an interpretation of Schubertís Viennese waltzes, was foreboding, with twists and turns on a repetitive theme. Berliozí waltz, from Symphonie fantastique, one of the scores of the Disney film, Fantasia, was just as mesmerizing on live, solo piano, minus the animated creatures and cinematic inventions.

Lisztís own Valses oubliťes, were performed in a relaxed, passionate manner, evoking a wispy, ephemeral dance image. To complete the first half of the program, Lortie chose Lisztís Waltz from Gounodís Faust This was one of my favorites, intense and abstract, with dissonance, drama, and drive. Lightning fast keyboard trills seemed effortless on the Fazioli. The second half of the program was introduced by a 50ís work by Helmut Lachenmann, Five Variations on a Theme of Franz Schubert, completing the circle of waltz maestros. This piece, with contrasting volume and tones, moved from sensitive and atonal to persuasive and passionate.

The Ravel works were perfect to close the program, as they built on the momentum of the evening. The first, Valses nobles et sentimentales, contained sensitive passages that inspired thought of ballerinas, snowflakes, and waterfalls. Ravelís La Valse, the final work (prior to several encores on demand), was reminiscent of the haunting and graceful ballet set to the same score. Kudos to Louis Lortie and his concept of a nurturing night of wondrous waltzes.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at