Denis Kozhukhin, praised for his ‘impeccably crystal-clear technique' (Bachtrack) when he last played with the Philharmonia in 2018, takes on the hugely rewarding challenge of Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand.
Commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein, a concert pianist who lost an arm in World War I, this piece makes the most of the darker colours of the orchestra, with important, expressive parts for the contrabassoon, cor anglais, bass clarinet and double basses.
Its sinister, martial central section perhaps alludes to the horror of the war that engendered it.
Lili Boulanger’s deeply felt, richly orchestrated D’un soir triste was composed at the height of the First World War.
But the sadness of the title may be for herself as well as for her country – she died shortly after completing it, at the age of 24.
She crammed a prodigious amount of music-making into her short life, and was the first woman to win the Prix de Rome for composition.
RepertoireRavel: Rapsodie espagnole; Piano Concerto for the left hand
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Royal Festival Hall at 6pm: Insights talk: Conductor Pablo Heras-Casado in conversation. Admission free.