On April 1, 2007 Jean-Yves performed Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Maestro Esa-Pekka Salonen, an intriguing piece which he served up to an enthusiastic audience with élan vital and characteristic brilliance. He combined his superb fingerwork with masterful pedaling, making this powerful and occasionally dark work sound like a concerto for both hands, even to the tutored ear, ending as it did in a veritable orchestral explosion that echoed the piece’s wartime origins.
Watch a FanFaire video interview with Jean-Yves in which he talks about this most interesting and uniquely difficult piano concerto and why he shunned it for the longest time:
Listen to clips from the Left Hand Concerto [courtesy of Deutsche Gramophone]:
Ravel’s Left-hand Concerto was a fitting centerpiece for a superb program that opened with Salonen’s enigmatic composition Helix. In his opening commentary Salonen said the work was inspired by the idea of a conical helix imploding in a riot of aural colors as the music traverses with accelerating speed the spiral’s diameter, from its widest to its narrowest. Listen to a clip [courtesy of Deutsche Gramophone]:
||Track 1 – Finale from HELIX|
The program fittingly closed with a panacea for jarred nerves. Consisting of selections from Prokokiev’s ballet music Romeo and Juliet, soothing and relatively devoid of jagged edges, it was nonetheless a feast of orchestral colors. Leave it to Salonen, the ever-youthful composer-conductor to know how best to send a jolted concert audience home. A live recording of this concert was released by Deutsche Gramophone on August 20, 2007.
Following the concert, Thibaudet and Salonen held a lively Q & A session with audience members who stayed to learn more about the artists’ insights into the program’s unusual pieces.