One of Kirill Gerstein’s first loves is jazz, as you’ll hear swings through piano concertos by Ravel and Gershwin.
Maurice Ravel pays homage to the great French 18th-century composer François Couperin, in his Tombeau or ‘Memorial’. It is a monument not just to a musical hero, but also to friends who died in World War I.
Ravel composed his Concerto for the left hand for a pianist who lost his right arm in the war. With ominous rumbles, sinister marches and jazzy flourishes, it is Ravel’s most darkly thrilling work – and one of his most difficult, with one hand sounding like two!
Gershwin and Ravel met in the late 1920s, bonding over their love of jazz. Ravel was astounded by Gershwin’s improvising and tune-smithing skills. Gershwin’s Concerto in F is ‘classical’, but there’s Broadway razzle-dazzle in every bar. ‘Gerstein’s music-making is direct from the heart’ (Gramophone) and he lovingly evokes jazz-age America.
Presented as part of the Sydney Symphony’s Keys to the City Festival at Sydney Town Hall.