Tom Borrow plays Ravel

Date

30.1.2019

Wednesday 20:00

Hall

The Lowy concert hall

Venue

Charles Bronfman Auditorium, Tel Aviv

Venue

Charles Bronfman Auditorium, Tel Aviv

Hall

The Lowy concert hall

Artists

Yi-An Xu, conductor 

Tom Borrow, pianist 

Concert Program

Mozart: Overture to Don Giovanni (Busoni ending)
Ravel: Piano Concerto in G major
Ellington/Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Suite

Event Info

Ravel composed his two Piano Concertos simultaneously: the G major Concerto was written in 1929-31 and the D major Concerto (for the left hand) in 1929-30. With the exception of the song cycle Don Quichotte à Dulcinée (1932), they are his last works, the final manifestation of one of the most ingenious and eclectic creators of twentieth-century music. The Piano Concertos are actually Ravel’s only abstract orchestral works; virtually all the rest of his orchestral music stems from the theatre or the dance, or is orchestrated from piano works.

Ravel dedicated the G major Concerto to the famous pianist Marguerite Long (1874-1966), whose interpretation of early twentieth-century French music had an authority that derived from her friendship with Fauré, Debussy and Ravel. The first performance, given by Mme. Long in January 1932 at the Salle Pleyel in Paris, with Ravel conducting the Lamoureux Orchestra, was an enormous success. Long and Ravel later recorded the piece.

French lightness and elegance, jazz elements and neo-classical style, engaging melodies and rhythmic verve are the salient features of this Concerto. The bold harmonic writing and the extraordinary and subtle orchestral timbre are the main ingredients that create its unique sonority. The two brilliant outer movements reveal the influence of Basque and Spanish music (Ravel was born in Ciboure, in the Basque region of Spain) as well as that of Gershwin, Stravinsky, Saint-Saëns and Satie, whereas the central slow movement evokes the spirit of Mozart and Fauré (with whom Ravel studied composition).

It is an open and well-known secret that musicians and composers have long had a great interest in the art of jazz. On May 21, 1893, an article by Antonín Dvořák appeared in the New York Herald, in which he wrote "I am now satisfied that the future of music in this country [America] must be founded upon what are called the negro melodies. This must be the real foundation of any serious and original school of composition to be developed in the United States…" (This and the following quotations come from Alex Ross's book "The Rest Is Noise.") In 1916, the Swiss conductor Ernest Ansermet wrote enthusiastically to his friend Igor Stravinsky about the "unheard-of music" he encountered during his visit to America. It was not enough for him to simply describe what he heard; he brought his friend recordings and sheet music of Jelly Roll Morton, which Stravinsky later said influenced the writing of his L'Histoire du soldat (The Soldier's Tale). In early 1923, the French Jewish composer Darius Milhaud came to the Capitol Palace in Harlem and wrote with amazement: "Against the beat of the drums the melodic lines crisscrossed in a breathless pattern of broken and twisted rhythms.” In 1926, the American critic Carl Van Vechten wrote that black artists were in possession of “a primitive birthright…that all civilized races were struggling to get back to—this fact explained the art of a Picasso or a Stravinsky.”

The perspective of jazz musicians regarding the infiltration of jazz into classical music was more hesitant. Duke Ellington rejected that a white man could be the composer of a “negro opera,” referring to Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Duke Ellington wrote in the early 1930s: "to attempt to elevate the status of the jazz musician by forcing the level of his best work into comparisons with classical music is to deny him his rightful share of originality.” But when Columbia Records invited Duke Ellington in 1960 to create a record with no stylistic constraints, Ellington responded to his friend Billy Strayhorn's proposal to write his own version of Tchaikovsky's “The Nutcracker.” The result was a melting pot of musical styles, music that met Tchaikovsky's themes and melodies with jazz rhythms, orchestration that featured brass instruments, complex harmonies, and the evocation of a dance hall in a large American city. It is not clear whether the Ellingtonian wink included a hidden satire of the original work, but Ellington turned the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Russian ballet into an alcoholic cherry. The Waltz of the Flowers became sensual and biting, and the American jazz spirit rests on the melodies that Tchaikovsky wrote for the choreographer Marius Petipa in St. Petersburg.

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra plays Tchaikovsky's work alongside and Ellington and Strayhorn's Suite. And as it performs the 1960 jazz version with the original Russian work from 1892 for the Israeli audience, Walt Disney Studios prepares for the upcoming distribution of the 2018 version of the Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Coming soon to a cinema near you.ll.

 

Price Range

180-550 nis

Duration

approx 2 hours including intermission

Duration

approx 2 hours including intermission

Price range

180-550 nis

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