Pablo Heras-Casado with Pianist Olga Scheps

”A luminous and urgent performance, deftly balancing the shifts from moody ruminations to bouts of exuberance…Heras-Casado is the thinking person’s idea of a hotshot young conductor.” 
(The New York Times)

”The young artist is no longer a secret any more as the sold-out Cityhall showed–and quite rightly…A phenomenal pianist…music from the heart.” (Frankfurter Neue Presse)

Pablo Heras-Casado, one of the most prominent conductors today, brings the rhythm and passion of his Spanish roots to this Spanish-inspired program. Together with Olga Scheps, a promising young pianist praised for her ”poetry and drama,” we are guaranteed a special evening. The ”Philharmonic in Jeans” concert is presented by singer Yasmin Levy, who also performs several songs arranged by Yaron Gottfried.

When sound paints light – the light of a ship flickering through fog, a ray of light shining through a thick layer of clouds, a powerful beam of light that one cannot escape, the red light of a distant flame, a yellow light that flickers periodically, the blue light of a menacing lamp – is what Lior Navok conveys in his new work “Light Paths.” The source of the light fills the palette of the orchestral instruments and takes the form of a clear, direct light in the first and third movements and a dimmed, mysterious light in the second movement.

Liszt knew well the soul of his audience! The rock star of the romantic world sat – for the first time in the musical history – with his profile facing the concert hall in the way pianists sit today, transforming his audience into a swooning flock of fans. Liszt also knew how to break new ground in his music. His first piano concerto evolved over twenty five years. A short, pleasant tune he had sketched when he was 19 years old sprouted into a concerto when Liszt was 44 and, like many others, he adjusted the work again following the premiere performance. The traditional three movement concerto structure was now concentrated into one impressive, virtuoso movement.
Pianist Olga Scheps has won over European audiences with her performances of Chopin. Now, Scheps brings her personal, free interpretive style to the music of Franz Liszt.

More than one hundred years have passed since the historic premiere of “The Rite of Spring,” one of the most important ballets ever composed. Beginning with the wail of a bassoon, followed immediately by the pounding of irregular rhythms and progressing to a thrilling fusion of sounds, “The Rite of Spring” continues to arouse our curiosity and stimulate our imagination.

Spain and the Spanish gypsy soul permeated many cultures. The poet Lorca claimed that the Spanish “cante jondo” (deep song) originated in India and traces could be found in every European country. It is not surprising, therefore, that Spanish melodies and even an entire Spanish repertoire were an important influence on composers throughout Europe. This program of Spanish-inspired works by French and Russian composers gives two distinct examples of the wide reach of Spanish music.

Both Ravel and Rimsky-Korsakov were enthusiastic about the range and the rhythmic character of Spanish music. The sound of pinched guitar strings in this concert’s two works may not be obvious, but they can be heard, and it’s worth listening for them.

French composer Maurice Ravel was enchanted by the strings and sound of  castanets, which he emulates first in the piano and then with the full sound of the orchestra. He remains faithful to the original source even when his palette is orchestral. Both pieces use the “Alborada” (dawn song): Ravel in the title –Alborada del gracioso – and Rimsky-Korsakov in the first and third movements of Capriccio espagnol, where he brings together a number of Gypsy folk dances to form a brilliant orchestral work.

Program No. 1

Pablo Heras-Casado, conductor

Olga Scheps, pianist

Lior Navok: Light Paths (Commissioned by the IPO)

Liszt: Piano Concerto no. 1

Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring

Program No. 2

Pablo Heras-Casado, conductor

Yasmin Levy, singer and presenter

Ravel: Alborada del gracioso

Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio espagnol