The extraordinary Lortie-Mercier duo take on a turn-of-the-century program, beginning with Anton Arensky’s spirited Suite for Two Pianos No. 1 (1888), whose lively second movement waltz remains the most popular piece by the talented but oft-neglected Russian. The two pianists then expertly conjure the oceanic colors and textures of Debussy’s groundbreaking La Mer (1905), one of the great French composer’s most important achievements, as dazzling as ever in its two-piano arrangement.
To top off the festivities, Lortie and Mercier finish with the climactic final movement of Ravel’s Rapsodie espagnole (1908): the delightfully snappy "Feria," whose pronounced rhythmic drive evokes the raucous revelry of the title.
Canadian pianists Louis Lortie and Hélène Mercier have been friends and collaborators since their early teenage years. Their incredible rapport, forged over decades, is immediately apparent in their music: they are always in lockstep with one another, working perfectly in tandem to realize a cohesive whole.
The Lortie-Mercier Duo at Montreal's Bourgie Hall