Louis Lortie / Neeme Järvi

Louis Lortie plays Schumann & Chopin Piano Concertos

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French-Canadian pianist Louie Lortie is a fine player with a crisp tone, dazzling technique, and lively sense of rhythm, and his performances of Schumann's A minor Concerto and Chopin's F minor Concerto are well-played, thoughtful, and sensitive, especially in their slow movements. But this recording, first released in 1991 and reissued in 2010, is likely to interest only hardcore fans of the pianist. There is nothing wrong with Lortie's playing -- if these were the only performances one ever heard of either piece, one would not be disappointed -- but the competition is simply overwhelming, with dozens of better performances out there. Though Lortie is a fine player, he cannot match the poetry of Lipatti, the mastery of Richter, the majesty of Gieseking, the passion of Lupu, the brilliance of Kovacevich, or the fire of Fischer, to mention only half a dozen better performances. Also, he is severely handicapped by the lifeless accompaniments provided by the somnambulistic Neeme Järvi and the phlegmatic Philharmonia Orchestra. Chandos' digital sound is bold and bright.

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