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Maurice Ravel

Friday, February 24, 2017


Classical iconoclast

February 5

Coming up at the Philharmonia Orchestra

Classical iconoclast Interesting things coming up with the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Royal Festival, in contrast to the sad blandness that marks the South Bank's antipathy to serious music.  Next for e will be Esa-Pekka Salonen's concert on 19th Feb with Pierre-Laurent Aimard playing Ligeti's Piano Concerto, The complete Debussy Daphnis et Chloé and .Stravinsky's "lost" Funeral Song - read more here about the premiere where Gergiev conducted it in context with Eimsky-Korsakov and The Firebird.    On 2nd March, Pablo Heras-Casado conducts Stravinsky The Firebird complete 1910 version with de Falla and Ravel.  Preceding this an early evening concert with Pascal Rophé featuring Isang Yun whose music isn't heard nearly as often as it should be. Benjamin Zander returns to London after along absence on 13th March in an all-Beethoven concert which includes Beethoven 9.  Then Jakub Hrůša conducts Brahms on 23/3 and Dvořák 6 on  6/4. The early evening concert that day features Bent Sørensen who's very good.  Salonen and Pierre Laurent again on 4/5 and 7/5  first with Debussy and Boulez, then with Bartok and Mahler 6.Veteran Philharmonia emeritus Christoph von Dohnányi conducts Schumann and Mendelssohn on 8/6.  Elgar and  RVW Sea Symphony with Roderick Williams on 29/6. The Philharmonia's 2017 2018 season kicks off on 28/9 with an unusual concert in which Salonen will conduct  Sibelius 6 with Thorvaldsdottir and Bjarsen.  Since Sibelius so dominates music in Finland, Salonen avoided conducting him until he felt he had something original to express. When Salonen did turn to Sibelius his insights were a revelation. I'll never forget his series at the Barbican a dozen years ago.  Infinitely better that a conductor should approach things like that rather than churn things out on autopilot like some wildly  popular conductors I won't mention.   Equally exciting, Salonen conducts Mahler 3rd on 1st October, which he conducted when the Royal Festival Hall reopened 10 years ago after renovations. What a revelation that was, too, full of energy, light and freshness ! He's conducting Mahler 9 on 30 November, another must go.  Also a must for me, on 8/10 Smetana Ma Vlast with Jakub Hrůša. Lots more, too much to write about. And then it's Xmas all over again.

Guardian

February 16

Alban Gerhardt: Rostropovich Encores CD review – sparky and apt tribute to a great cellist

Gerhardt/Becker (Hyperion)Cellists are lining up to pay tribute to Mstislav Rostropovich in what would have been his 90th year, but Alban Gerhardt’s is an especially apt homage, showcasing the Russian master’s commitment to expanding his instrument’s repertoire and popularity, at the same time as celebrating his sense of fun. It’s not a bad vehicle for the sparky Gerhardt and pianist Markus Becker, either. Rostropovich, with his knack for making the cello seem to sing, would surely have approved of their seamless playing of Glazunov’s arrangement of Chopin’s C sharp minor Etude, Op 25 No 7, in which the German cellist’s dark timbre engenders a very Russian sense of yearning. Amid miniatures by Scriabin, Stravinsky, Popper and Ravel, there are Rostropovich’s own arrangements, including a riotous March by Prokofiev and a slidy, twangy version of Debussy’s Minstrels. The disc is bookended by two rare pieces by Rostropovich himself, a scurrying Humoresque and an intricate Moderato for cello alone. Continue reading...






Maurice Ravel
(1875 – 1937)

Maurice Ravel (March 7, 1875 – December 28, 1937) was a French composer of Impressionist music known especially for his melodies, orchestral and instrumental textures and effects. Much of his piano music, chamber music, vocal music and orchestral music has entered the standard concert repertoire. Ravel's piano compositions, such as Jeux d'eau, Miroirs, Le tombeau de Couperin and Gaspard de la nuit, demand considerable virtuosity from the performer, and his orchestral music, including Daphnis et Chloé and his arrangement of Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, uses a variety of sound and instrumentation. Ravel is perhaps known best for his orchestral work Boléro (1928), which he considered trivial and once described as "a piece for orchestra without music."



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