ROBERT LORTAT The complete recordings



COMPACT DISC 1 (74.08)
1. 24 Préludes Op 28 recorded on 5 May 1928
25. 14 Waltzes recorded on 4 and 12 May 1931

COMPACT DISC 2 (78.44)
1. 12 Études Op 10
13. 12 Études Op 25
25. Nouvelles études
recorded on 3, 4, 7 October and 14 November 1929 & 8 November 1930
28. Piano Sonata No 2 in B flat minor Op 35 recorded on 9 June 1928

This is the tenth release in APR’s ongoing French Piano School series which aims to present important recordings from the often-forgotten pianists who represent the very distinctive French style of playing in the first half of the 20th century.

Were it not for the chronic illness which dogged him after service in WW1 and led to his premature death, Robert Lortat (1885–1938) would undoubtedly have recorded more and been remembered as one of the greatest French pianists of the 20th century. He performed a wide repertoire, including much Fauré and Debussy, magnificently, but Chopin was central to his art. He first performed the composer’s complete works from memory in five concerts in 1912 and his only recordings, presented here complete, are of Chopin. Lortat was only the second pianist to record Chopin’s complete etudes, after the Backhaus cycle of 1928 (on APR6026), and that they preceded Cortot cycle shows the esteem with which Lortat’s playing was held in France.

When they have been presented before, Lortat’s recordings have suffered from very poor transfers from the original 78s. We hope these new transfers, by Mark Obert-Thorn, cast them in a new and much improved light.

GRAMOPHONE Editor's Choice, October 2023

APR6042 Available on Compact Disc, as a Digital Download and to Stream