Monumental Brahms of Louis Lortie

Monumental Brahms from Louis Lortie tonight and as he rightly pointed out at the end of an extraordinary performance of the F minor Sonata it was in no small way thanks to the magnificent Bosendorfer at last in its rightful place on the stage of the Wigmore Hall.
Chosen especially for the hall some years ago by Andras Schiff it has been known as the most expensive green room piano ,as nearly all artist go for the home Steinways or even import a Fazioli.
The fully orchestral sounds that he was able to muster in the Brahms was due in part to the remarkable bass that this instrument has, allowing the piano to open up not only to sumptuous full sonorous orchestral tuttis but also to the more intimate reflective episodes.
Of course the taught rhythmic control that Lortie exhibited was rare indeed but essential for the structure of this difficult work.So often without this total control the work can seem very episodic.
This was certainly not the case here .
Infact by the time he got to the sublime slow movement he had the public in his hand on one of those rare occasions reminiscent of Rubinstein or Curzon when audience ,performer and music become one……..in short there was magic in the air.
Lortie had totally won the confidence of this discerning public who trusted him as they would a Perahia or Zimmerman never to lead them astray but to show them the wonders and beauty of a work as if being heard for the first time.
Spectacular Scherzo leading to a magical introduction to the last movement that was again held under complete control so when the final coda erupts it was even more of a surprise for him that for us.
The first half of this extraordinary programme was made up of Mozart A minor Sonata K.310 and Beethoven op.101.
Both played with a rigour that did not exclude sensitivity or tenderness when required.
I personally would have preferred not to have ornaments added in the repeats of the Mozart as if the ornament was a variant and not simply an expressive device.However it was very discretely added but maybe not necessary for someone who sees and feels so clearly the overall line of these masterpieces with a simplicity and directness that does not need variants .
Op 101 was characterised again by very taught rhythmic control allied to an intelligence and complete understanding of style .
The Bosendorfer in the first half,though, was less convincing as one felt there could have been more variety of sound on a different instrument.When it came to Brahms this suited the highly orchestral type of writing perfectly whereas the instrumental writing of Beethoven and Mozart in these two sonatas never has the deep sonorous bass notes that abound in the F minor Sonata and are so much part of this very fine Bosendorfer.
A standing ovation for a remarkable evening with a true musician who after much insistence offered a beautifully simple but persuasive performance of Mozart’s Fantasie in D minor ……..too easy for children but too difficult for adults as Schnabel would say ,but not on this occasion the magic had been set and was there to stay.

foto di Christopher Axworthy.
foto di Christopher Axworthy.
foto di Christopher Axworthy.
foto di Christopher Axworthy.
foto di Christopher Axworthy.
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