Liszt at the Opera Louis Lortie

Cover Liszt at the Opera

Album info



Label: Chandos

Genre: Instrumental

Subgenre: Piano

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)


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  • Franz Liszt (1811–1886): Liszt at the Opera / Ouvertüre zu Tannhäuser, S 422 (1847 – 49)
  • 1Andante maestoso – Allegro15:37
  • O du mein holder Abendstern, S 444 (1849) by Richard Wagner (1813 – 1883)
  • 2Lento - Recitativ02:35
  • 3Romanze03:23
  • Spinnerlied aus dem Fliegenden Hollander, S440 (1860) by Richard Wagner
  • 4Allegretto – Più mosso – Tempo I05:33
  • Valse de l’opéra Faust de Gounod, S 407 (1861) by Charles-François Gounod (1818 – 1893)
  • 5Allegro molto vivace09:33
  • Rigoletto: paraphrase de concert, S 434 (1855) by Giuseppe Verdi (1813 – 1901)
  • 6Preludio. Allegro – Andante – Presto07:45
  • Réminiscences de Don Juan, S 418 (1841) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)
  • 7Grave – Andantino03:44
  • 8Duetto. Andantino – Allegretto02:52
  • 9Variation I. [Allegretto] – Adagio – Prestissimo03:04
  • 10Variation II. Tempo giusto – Presto spiritoso02:27
  • 11Presto – Prestissimo – Andante03:04
  • Prelude and Liebestod from ‘Tristan und Isolde’ by Richard Wagner
  • 12Tristan und Isolde, Act I: Prelude (arr. L. Lortie for piano)11:18
  • 13Isoldes Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, S447/R28006:53
  • Total Runtime01:17:48

Info for Liszt at the Opera

In this new release, the exclusive Chandos artist and award-winning pianist Louis Lortie continues his exploration of piano works by Franz Liszt. His previous Liszt releases have been critically acclaimed, Gramophone describing his performance of the complete Années de Pèlerinage as ‘spellbinding’. Here Lortie turns his hand to the composer’s opera transcriptions and paraphrases, works that revolutionised composition for the piano with their unheralded technical innovation. The original works by Liszt based on Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Verdi’s Rigoletto, and Gounod’s Faust not only demonstrate the dazzling technical possibilities of the piano but reveal the unique and fascinating musical imagination with which Liszt transformed some of the best-known music in the operatic repertoire. Completing the disc are several more or less straightforward transcriptions based on operas by Richard Wagner who, despite a rocky start to their relationship, forged a close musical bond with Liszt. Among them is the popular transcription of the ‘Liebestod’ from Tristan und Isolde. Liszt never completed a transcription of its natural musical companion, the Prelude to the opera, so here Louis Lortie has recorded his own arrangement of it.

„LOVE 'em or hate 'em, there is no halfway house with Franz Liszt's transcriptions and paraphrases, which range from Schubert's songs to the complete symphonies of Beethoven. Bluntly, transcription in the 19th century was both an art in itself, and an industry. And none, in the field of operatic paraphrases, were more assiduous or productive than Franz Liszt, who numbered some 60 or so such arrangements in his 1400 compositions. They are dazzling, warhorse pieces for warhorse pianists and, in a way, it's surprising that Louis Lortie, the pristine, pure, French Canadian pianist should turn his attention to these flamboyant masterpieces. But he finds great depth and spaciousness in the extracts from Wagner's Tannhauser, supreme panache in the waltz from Gounod's Faust and in the most articulate version I have heard of the great quartet from Rigoletto (if lacking the dash of the young Thibaudet's early recording). Similarly, the Liebestod from Tristan is short on erotic charge but, overall, this is a good set.“ (Michael Tumelty, herald scotland)

Louis Lortie, piano

Louis Lortie
French-Canadian pianist Louis Lortie has attracted critical acclaim throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States. He has extended his interpretative voice across a broad range of repertoire rather than choosing to specialize in one particular style. The London Times, describing his playing as "ever immaculate, ever imaginative", has identified the artist's "combination of total spontaneity and meditated ripeness that only great pianists have".

Mr. Lortie has performed complete Beethoven sonata cycles at London's Wigmore Hall, Berlin's Philharmonie, and the Sala Grande del Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Milan. Die Welt described his Berlin performances as "possibly the finest Beethoven since the time of Wilhelm Kempff." As both pianist and conductor with the Montreal Symphony, he has performed all five Beethoven concertos and all of the Mozart concertos. Mr. Lortie has also won widespread acclaim for his interpretation of Ravel and Chopin. He performed the complete works of Ravel in London and Montreal for the BBC and CBC, and is renowned all over the world for his performances of the complete Chopin etudes.

Louis Lortie celebrated the bicentenary of Liszt's birth in 2011 by performing the complete Années de pèlerinage at international music capitals and festivals, and he returns to Carnegie Hall in 2014 to perform it there. His Chandos recording of this monumental work was named one of the ten best of 2012 by the New Yorker magazine.

In 2013-2014 Mr. Lortie tours in Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and returns to the BBC Proms, the orchestras of St. Louis, Atlanta, Dallas, Vancouver, Detroit, the Suisse Romande, Nurnberg, BBC Philharmonic, Dresden and Hamburg, play/conducts a Mozart program for the Toronto Symphony, and performs recitals in the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Philadelphia, Warsaw, Montreal, Bournemouth, the Casals Festival, the Sydney Opera House, the National Arts Center, Duke University and in Milan.

Last season he performed Gershwin in Sao Paulo with Tortelier, Liszt with NHK Tokyo and Dutoit, Chopin with the Cleveland Orchestra and Van Zweden, Schubert and Liszt with Krivine in Utrecht, Mozart with the Royal Philharmonic and Dutoit; toured with the La Scala Orchestra playing Brahms 2 and with the Beethoven Orchester Bonn playing Beethoven 4 and 5. He returned to Chicago's Orchestra Hall and other important venues to perform a recital program of opera transcriptions called "Lortie goes to the Opera". Other recitals included Copenhagen, Osaka, Cremona and Dresden.

Louis Lortie has performed with the world's leading conductors, including Riccardo Chailly, Lorin Maazel, Jaap Van Zweden, Kurt Masur, Seiji Ozawa, Charles Dutoit, Kurt Sanderling, Neeme Järvi, Sir Andrew Davis, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Sir Mark Elder, Hannu Lintu, and Osmo Vänskä. He has also been involved in many chamber-music projects with such musicians as Frank Peter Zimmermann, Leonidas Kavakos, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Augustin Dumay, the Takács Quartet, and Gidon Kremer. His regular piano-duo partner is fellow Canadian Hélène Mercier.

He has made more than 30 recordings for the Chandos label, covering repertoire from Mozart to Stravinsky, including a set of the complete Beethoven sonatas and the complete Liszt's Années de pèlerinage. His recording of the Lutosławski Piano Concerto and Paganini Variations with Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony was released last year, as well as his latest Chopin album, which was named one of the best recordings of 2012 by the New York Times. Future recording include a disc of Liszt's transcriptions.

Mr. Lortie's recording of Beethoven's Eroica Variations earned him an Edison Award. His disc of works by Schumann and Brahms was named one of the best CDs of the year by BBC Music Magazine, which also named his disc of Chopin etudes one of "50 Recordings by Superlative Pianists." His interpretation of Liszt's complete works for piano and orchestra with the Residentie Orchestra of The Hague was a Gramophone Editor's Choice. For the Canadian label ATMA Classique, he has recorded Mendelssohn concertos with the Orchestre symphonique de Quebec and, as conductor, Mendelssohn's "Reformation" Symphony.

Louis Lortie studied in Montreal with Yvonne Hubert (a pupil of the legendary Alfred Cortot), in Vienna with Beethoven specialist Dieter Weber, and subsequently with Schnabel disciple Leon Fleisher. He made his debut with the Montreal Symphony at the age of 13; three years later, his first appearance with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra led to an historic tour of the People's Republic of China and Japan. In 1984, he won First Prize in the Busoni Competition and was also prizewinner at the Leeds Competition. In 1992, he was named Officer of the Order of Canada, and received both the Order of Quebec and an honorary doctorate from Université Laval. He has lived in Berlin since 1997 and also has homes in Canada and Italy.

Booklet for Liszt at the Opera

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