Discussion:
Ravel's Left-Hand Concerto 4 times
(too old to reply)
Ed Presson
2022-01-02 23:29:44 UTC
Permalink
My real introduction five decades ago to Ravel's Left-Hand Concerto was via
a TV show and, two nights later, a live concert. The television show
featured the piano soloist and the conductor discussing the concerto with a
few excerpts (piano only). The pianist was a testy EIP (easily irritated
person) who didn't hesitate to contradict the conductor. The first set-to
came when the conductor opined that the concerto required an exceptional
virtuoso, to which the pianist snapped, "Not so! Any competent concertizing
soloist should be able to handle it." The second outburst came when the
conductor described both of Ravel's concertos as masterpieces. That roused
the soloist to argue forcefully that the G Major was a nice divertissement
with lovely transparent orchestration, but the D major was a masterpiece of
profound emotional depth.

And that's the way it was performed two nights later. The piano part ranged
from sinister, melancholy, panic, to exciting, and the orchestral outbursts
became a cry from the heart. Once heard that way, most of the recordings I
collected seemed insipid or wrong-headed. The Samson Francois/Cluytens
recording has remained my favorite although I've collected an embarrassing
number of recordings since. A few days ago, I pulled four CDs from the
shelf to remind myself of their merit or lack of it.

1. Denis Kozhukhin/Kazuki Yamada/Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Pentatone
5186 620. Generally good recorded sound with powerful bass, but missing the
glitter of Ravel's orchestration. The pianist is better than Yamada, who
does little to shape or enliven the orchestral parts. The result is,
frankly, dull.

2. Yuja Wang/Lionel Bringuier/Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich/DG 4794954. I had
high expectations for this one. I cannot deny Wang's digital virtuosity,
but all I heard was a shower of brilliant notes with no concept that some
meaning was to be found in them. Bringuier brings little that's special in
his conducting and DG's engineering seemed pretty generic. I was
disappointed in this one, too.

3. Florian Uhlig/Pablo Gonzalez/Deutsche Radio Philhamonic. SWR 19027CD.
This was a big step up. Both the conductor and soloist seemed to have a
clear concept in mind that was exciting and sinister; missing only the dark
undertones of personal expression that I might have preferred. A very good
performance in clear, full range sound. A keeper.

4. Oleg Marshev/Vladimir Ziva/South Jutland Symphony Orchestra. Danacord
672 (2-CD set). I looked at the notes before playing the CD, and my heart
sank when I read that the orchestra had 65 permanent musicians, and there
was no mention of additional players on this recording. I wasn't looking
forward to this hearing. Boy, was I wrong. The Baku-born Marshev and
Russian-born Ziva had a concept that seemed very close to my preferences.
They and the orchestra produced a performance of power, color, and emotion,
and the fine, close-up recording added to the impact. Of course, this
orchestra could not equal the massive sonority of world-class orchestras,
but their commitment, skill, and zeal carried the day. To my great
surprise, this CD was my favorite of this group. You never know.
Frank Berger
2022-01-02 23:55:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ed Presson
My real introduction five decades ago to Ravel's Left-Hand Concerto was via
a TV show and, two nights later, a live concert. The television show
featured the piano soloist and the conductor discussing the concerto with a
few excerpts (piano only). The pianist was a testy EIP (easily irritated
person) who didn't hesitate to contradict the conductor. The first set-to
came when the conductor opined that the concerto required an exceptional
virtuoso, to which the pianist snapped, "Not so! Any competent concertizing
soloist should be able to handle it." The second outburst came when the
conductor described both of Ravel's concertos as masterpieces. That roused
the soloist to argue forcefully that the G Major was a nice divertissement
with lovely transparent orchestration, but the D major was a masterpiece of
profound emotional depth.
And that's the way it was performed two nights later. The piano part ranged
from sinister, melancholy, panic, to exciting, and the orchestral outbursts
became a cry from the heart. Once heard that way, most of the recordings I
collected seemed insipid or wrong-headed. The Samson Francois/Cluytens
recording has remained my favorite although I've collected an embarrassing
number of recordings since. A few days ago, I pulled four CDs from the
shelf to remind myself of their merit or lack of it.
1. Denis Kozhukhin/Kazuki Yamada/Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Pentatone
5186 620. Generally good recorded sound with powerful bass, but missing the
glitter of Ravel's orchestration. The pianist is better than Yamada, who
does little to shape or enliven the orchestral parts. The result is,
frankly, dull.
2. Yuja Wang/Lionel Bringuier/Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich/DG 4794954. I had
high expectations for this one. I cannot deny Wang's digital virtuosity,
but all I heard was a shower of brilliant notes with no concept that some
meaning was to be found in them. Bringuier brings little that's special in
his conducting and DG's engineering seemed pretty generic. I was
disappointed in this one, too.
3. Florian Uhlig/Pablo Gonzalez/Deutsche Radio Philhamonic. SWR 19027CD.
This was a big step up. Both the conductor and soloist seemed to have a
clear concept in mind that was exciting and sinister; missing only the dark
undertones of personal expression that I might have preferred. A very good
performance in clear, full range sound. A keeper.
4. Oleg Marshev/Vladimir Ziva/South Jutland Symphony Orchestra. Danacord
672 (2-CD set). I looked at the notes before playing the CD, and my heart
sank when I read that the orchestra had 65 permanent musicians, and there
was no mention of additional players on this recording. I wasn't looking
forward to this hearing. Boy, was I wrong. The Baku-born Marshev and
Russian-born Ziva had a concept that seemed very close to my preferences.
They and the orchestra produced a performance of power, color, and emotion,
and the fine, close-up recording added to the impact. Of course, this
orchestra could not equal the massive sonority of world-class orchestras,
but their commitment, skill, and zeal carried the day. To my great
surprise, this CD was my favorite of this group. You never know.
Are we to understand that the dueling artists were Cluytens and Francois?
Dan Koren
2022-01-03 08:26:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ed Presson
My real introduction five decades ago to Ravel's Left-Hand Concerto was via
a TV show and, two nights later, a live concert. The television show
featured the piano soloist and the conductor discussing the concerto with a
few excerpts (piano only). The pianist was a testy EIP (easily irritated
person) who didn't hesitate to contradict the conductor. The first set-to
came when the conductor opined that the concerto required an exceptional
virtuoso, to which the pianist snapped, "Not so! Any competent concertizing
soloist should be able to handle it." The second outburst came when the
conductor described both of Ravel's concertos as masterpieces. That roused
the soloist to argue forcefully that the G Major was a nice divertissement
with lovely transparent orchestration, but the D major was a masterpiece of
profound emotional depth.
And that's the way it was performed two nights later. The piano part ranged
from sinister, melancholy, panic, to exciting, and the orchestral outbursts
became a cry from the heart. Once heard that way, most of the recordings I
collected seemed insipid or wrong-headed. The Samson Francois/Cluytens
recording has remained my favorite although I've collected an embarrassing
number of recordings since. A few days ago, I pulled four CDs from the
shelf to remind myself of their merit or lack of it.
1. Denis Kozhukhin/Kazuki Yamada/Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Pentatone
5186 620. Generally good recorded sound with powerful bass, but missing the
glitter of Ravel's orchestration. The pianist is better than Yamada, who
does little to shape or enliven the orchestral parts. The result is,
frankly, dull.
2. Yuja Wang/Lionel Bringuier/Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich/DG 4794954. I had
high expectations for this one. I cannot deny Wang's digital virtuosity,
but all I heard was a shower of brilliant notes with no concept that some
meaning was to be found in them. Bringuier brings little that's special in
his conducting and DG's engineering seemed pretty generic. I was
disappointed in this one, too.
3. Florian Uhlig/Pablo Gonzalez/Deutsche Radio Philhamonic. SWR 19027CD.
This was a big step up. Both the conductor and soloist seemed to have a
clear concept in mind that was exciting and sinister; missing only the dark
undertones of personal expression that I might have preferred. A very good
performance in clear, full range sound. A keeper.
4. Oleg Marshev/Vladimir Ziva/South Jutland Symphony Orchestra. Danacord
672 (2-CD set). I looked at the notes before playing the CD, and my heart
sank when I read that the orchestra had 65 permanent musicians, and there
was no mention of additional players on this recording. I wasn't looking
forward to this hearing. Boy, was I wrong. The Baku-born Marshev and
Russian-born Ziva had a concept that seemed very close to my preferences.
They and the orchestra produced a performance of power, color, and emotion,
and the fine, close-up recording added to the impact. Of course, this
orchestra could not equal the massive sonority of world-class orchestras,
but their commitment, skill, and zeal carried the day. To my great
surprise, this CD was my favorite of this group. You never know.





dk
Ed Presson
2022-01-04 18:31:00 UTC
Permalink
Thanks for the links, Dan. On first hearing, I was especially impressed
with the Dmitri Bashkirov performance. His phrasing seemed
to provide more character to each of the episodes. I also liked Ciccolini's
performance. I admire Martinon's recordings, despite his
stated "objective" conducting, but not here. Martinon was more impressive
live, when I heard him conduct the CSO on tour.

Ed Presson
Post by Ed Presson
My real introduction five decades ago to Ravel's Left-Hand Concerto was via
a TV show and, two nights later, a live concert. The television show
featured the piano soloist and the conductor discussing the concerto with a
few excerpts (piano only). The pianist was a testy EIP (easily irritated
person) who didn't hesitate to contradict the conductor. The first set-to
came when the conductor opined that the concerto required an exceptional
virtuoso, to which the pianist snapped, "Not so! Any competent
concertizing
soloist should be able to handle it." The second outburst came when the
conductor described both of Ravel's concertos as masterpieces. That roused
the soloist to argue forcefully that the G Major was a nice divertissement
with lovely transparent orchestration, but the D major was a masterpiece of
profound emotional depth.
And that's the way it was performed two nights later. The piano part ranged
from sinister, melancholy, panic, to exciting, and the orchestral outbursts
became a cry from the heart. Once heard that way, most of the recordings I
collected seemed insipid or wrong-headed. The Samson Francois/Cluytens
recording has remained my favorite although I've collected an embarrassing
number of recordings since. A few days ago, I pulled four CDs from the
shelf to remind myself of their merit or lack of it.
1. Denis Kozhukhin/Kazuki Yamada/Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Pentatone
5186 620. Generally good recorded sound with powerful bass, but missing the
glitter of Ravel's orchestration. The pianist is better than Yamada, who
does little to shape or enliven the orchestral parts. The result is,
frankly, dull.
2. Yuja Wang/Lionel Bringuier/Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich/DG 4794954. I had
high expectations for this one. I cannot deny Wang's digital virtuosity,
but all I heard was a shower of brilliant notes with no concept that some
meaning was to be found in them. Bringuier brings little that's special in
his conducting and DG's engineering seemed pretty generic. I was
disappointed in this one, too.
3. Florian Uhlig/Pablo Gonzalez/Deutsche Radio Philhamonic. SWR 19027CD.
This was a big step up. Both the conductor and soloist seemed to have a
clear concept in mind that was exciting and sinister; missing only the dark
undertones of personal expression that I might have preferred. A very good
performance in clear, full range sound. A keeper.
4. Oleg Marshev/Vladimir Ziva/South Jutland Symphony Orchestra. Danacord
672 (2-CD set). I looked at the notes before playing the CD, and my heart
sank when I read that the orchestra had 65 permanent musicians, and there
was no mention of additional players on this recording. I wasn't looking
forward to this hearing. Boy, was I wrong. The Baku-born Marshev and
Russian-born Ziva had a concept that seemed very close to my preferences.
They and the orchestra produced a performance of power, color, and emotion,
and the fine, close-up recording added to the impact. Of course, this
orchestra could not equal the massive sonority of world-class orchestras,
but their commitment, skill, and zeal carried the day. To my great
surprise, this CD was my favorite of this group. You never know.
http://youtu.be/j58gf4NwLj4
http://youtu.be/Yfe3W7Y8eZA
http://youtu.be/CB4Wydl4d_s
http://youtu.be/Yme2336j81g

dk
Dan Koren
2022-01-04 18:55:27 UTC
Permalink
Bashkirov absolutely completely owned this
work. I heard him perform it live in the 1960s,
then again in San Francisco in the 1990s. No
one else came close -- and certainly not the
erratic Sammy Francois, whom I also heard
trying to perform it live in the 1960s.
Thanks for the links, Dan. On first hearing, I
was especially impressed with the Dmitri
Bashkirov performance. His phrasing seemed
to provide more character to each of the episodes.
I also liked Ciccolini's performance.
"Dan Koren" wrote in message
http://youtu.be/j58gf4NwLj4
http://youtu.be/Yfe3W7Y8eZA
http://youtu.be/CB4Wydl4d_s
http://youtu.be/Yme2336j81g
Ed Presson
2022-01-06 03:46:00 UTC
Permalink
"Dan Koren" wrote in message news:9cc851ee-9990-48a9-9283-***@googlegroups.com...

Bashkirov absolutely completely owned this
work. I heard him perform it live in the 1960s,
then again in San Francisco in the 1990s. No
one else came close -- and certainly not the
erratic Sammy Francois, whom I also heard
trying to perform it live in the 1960s.

I just listened again, and I agree. I've never heard the Ravel Left-Hand
Concerto
performed with more insight and fervor. I envy in hearing him do this
twice.
Frank Berger
2022-01-06 15:55:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan Koren
Bashkirov absolutely completely owned this
work. I heard him perform it live in the 1960s,
then again in San Francisco in the 1990s. No
one else came close -- and certainly not the
erratic Sammy Francois, whom I also heard
trying to perform it live in the 1960s.
I just listened again, and I agree. I've never heard the Ravel Left-Hand
Concerto
performed with more insight and fervor. I envy in hearing him do this
twice.
The accompaniment is amazing.
Chris from Lafayette
2022-01-05 20:23:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan Koren
http://youtu.be/j58gf4NwLj4
http://youtu.be/Yfe3W7Y8eZA
http://youtu.be/CB4Wydl4d_s
http://youtu.be/Yme2336j81g
dk
Umm!. . . YES!. . .
Dan Koren
2022-01-05 21:15:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chris from Lafayette
Post by Dan Koren
http://youtu.be/j58gf4NwLj4
http://youtu.be/Yfe3W7Y8eZA
http://youtu.be/CB4Wydl4d_s
http://youtu.be/Yme2336j81g
Umm!. . . YES!. . .
Thank You!

dk
Charles Timbrell
2022-01-04 01:23:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ed Presson
My real introduction five decades ago to Ravel's Left-Hand Concerto was via
a TV show and, two nights later, a live concert. The television show
featured the piano soloist and the conductor discussing the concerto with a
few excerpts (piano only). The pianist was a testy EIP (easily irritated
person) who didn't hesitate to contradict the conductor. The first set-to
came when the conductor opined that the concerto required an exceptional
virtuoso, to which the pianist snapped, "Not so! Any competent concertizing
soloist should be able to handle it." The second outburst came when the
conductor described both of Ravel's concertos as masterpieces. That roused
the soloist to argue forcefully that the G Major was a nice divertissement
with lovely transparent orchestration, but the D major was a masterpiece of
profound emotional depth.
And that's the way it was performed two nights later. The piano part ranged
from sinister, melancholy, panic, to exciting, and the orchestral outbursts
became a cry from the heart. Once heard that way, most of the recordings I
collected seemed insipid or wrong-headed. The Samson Francois/Cluytens
recording has remained my favorite although I've collected an embarrassing
number of recordings since. A few days ago, I pulled four CDs from the
shelf to remind myself of their merit or lack of it.
1. Denis Kozhukhin/Kazuki Yamada/Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Pentatone
5186 620. Generally good recorded sound with powerful bass, but missing the
glitter of Ravel's orchestration. The pianist is better than Yamada, who
does little to shape or enliven the orchestral parts. The result is,
frankly, dull.
2. Yuja Wang/Lionel Bringuier/Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich/DG 4794954. I had
high expectations for this one. I cannot deny Wang's digital virtuosity,
but all I heard was a shower of brilliant notes with no concept that some
meaning was to be found in them. Bringuier brings little that's special in
his conducting and DG's engineering seemed pretty generic. I was
disappointed in this one, too.
3. Florian Uhlig/Pablo Gonzalez/Deutsche Radio Philhamonic. SWR 19027CD.
This was a big step up. Both the conductor and soloist seemed to have a
clear concept in mind that was exciting and sinister; missing only the dark
undertones of personal expression that I might have preferred. A very good
performance in clear, full range sound. A keeper.
4. Oleg Marshev/Vladimir Ziva/South Jutland Symphony Orchestra. Danacord
672 (2-CD set). I looked at the notes before playing the CD, and my heart
sank when I read that the orchestra had 65 permanent musicians, and there
was no mention of additional players on this recording. I wasn't looking
forward to this hearing. Boy, was I wrong. The Baku-born Marshev and
Russian-born Ziva had a concept that seemed very close to my preferences.
They and the orchestra produced a performance of power, color, and emotion,
and the fine, close-up recording added to the impact. Of course, this
orchestra could not equal the massive sonority of world-class orchestras,
but their commitment, skill, and zeal carried the day. To my great
surprise, this CD was my favorite of this group. You never know.
I vote for Samson Francois as the top one, then Casadesus (very fine twice with Ormandy), and Andre Tchaikowsky.
HT
2022-01-06 18:33:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Charles Timbrell
Post by Ed Presson
My real introduction five decades ago to Ravel's Left-Hand Concerto was via
a TV show and, two nights later, a live concert. The television show
featured the piano soloist and the conductor discussing the concerto with a
few excerpts (piano only). The pianist was a testy EIP (easily irritated
person) who didn't hesitate to contradict the conductor. The first set-to
came when the conductor opined that the concerto required an exceptional
virtuoso, to which the pianist snapped, "Not so! Any competent concertizing
soloist should be able to handle it." The second outburst came when the
conductor described both of Ravel's concertos as masterpieces. That roused
the soloist to argue forcefully that the G Major was a nice divertissement
with lovely transparent orchestration, but the D major was a masterpiece of
profound emotional depth.
And that's the way it was performed two nights later. The piano part ranged
from sinister, melancholy, panic, to exciting, and the orchestral outbursts
became a cry from the heart. Once heard that way, most of the recordings I
collected seemed insipid or wrong-headed. The Samson Francois/Cluytens
recording has remained my favorite although I've collected an embarrassing
number of recordings since. A few days ago, I pulled four CDs from the
shelf to remind myself of their merit or lack of it.
1. Denis Kozhukhin/Kazuki Yamada/Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. Pentatone
5186 620. Generally good recorded sound with powerful bass, but missing the
glitter of Ravel's orchestration. The pianist is better than Yamada, who
does little to shape or enliven the orchestral parts. The result is,
frankly, dull.
2. Yuja Wang/Lionel Bringuier/Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich/DG 4794954. I had
high expectations for this one. I cannot deny Wang's digital virtuosity,
but all I heard was a shower of brilliant notes with no concept that some
meaning was to be found in them. Bringuier brings little that's special in
his conducting and DG's engineering seemed pretty generic. I was
disappointed in this one, too.
3. Florian Uhlig/Pablo Gonzalez/Deutsche Radio Philhamonic. SWR 19027CD.
This was a big step up. Both the conductor and soloist seemed to have a
clear concept in mind that was exciting and sinister; missing only the dark
undertones of personal expression that I might have preferred. A very good
performance in clear, full range sound. A keeper.
4. Oleg Marshev/Vladimir Ziva/South Jutland Symphony Orchestra. Danacord
672 (2-CD set). I looked at the notes before playing the CD, and my heart
sank when I read that the orchestra had 65 permanent musicians, and there
was no mention of additional players on this recording. I wasn't looking
forward to this hearing. Boy, was I wrong. The Baku-born Marshev and
Russian-born Ziva had a concept that seemed very close to my preferences.
They and the orchestra produced a performance of power, color, and emotion,
and the fine, close-up recording added to the impact. Of course, this
orchestra could not equal the massive sonority of world-class orchestras,
but their commitment, skill, and zeal carried the day. To my great
surprise, this CD was my favorite of this group. You never know.
I vote for Samson Francois as the top one, then Casadesus (very fine twice with Ormandy), and Andre Tchaikowsky.
Seconded!

Henk

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