Piano Plus

A survey of modern piano concertos from Ravel to Rakowski

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Talk about a genre with a lot of baggage! How does a composer even think to write a piano concerto today when the masterpieces of Mozart, Brahms and Ravel are your compositional context? This week on Hammered! we hear some of the magnificent creations of this historical dare.  

We recently offered one such concerto as our Album Of The Week, Jonathan Harvey's Bird Concerto With Piano Song performed by the exquisite pianist and Ensemble InterContemporain member, Hideki Nagano.

In this wonderful new concerto Harvey accepts the historical baggage of the genre, in this specific case the piano and orchestra music of Olivier Messiaen, and reinvents it. This extraordinarily inventive concerto incorporates digitized bird song, recorded by the composer in California, and completely rethinks the pianist's roll in this avian consort. Rounding out Monday's hour of bird concertos are works by -- duh -- Messiaen and a "concerto" for piano and electronics by Ezequiel Vinao.

Throughout the week we'll insert a few modern classics, including the "Left Hand" Concerto by Maurice Ravel and the Piano Concerto of Aaron Copland, certainly one of his masterworks.

Also on the docket is music from David Rakowski (in a stupendous performance by Marilyn Nonken), John Adams (both his Riverrun and Century Rolls), Poul Ruders (introduced by the composer!) and one of the singular creations of the genre in the last century (in history?), the Piano Concerto of Gyorgy Ligeti.

Hosted by:

Conor Hanick
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Comments [2]

Jamie Conrad from Washington DC

The Kilar concerto seems incredibly derivative of Gorecki's Third Symphony -- but it's still beautiful. Thanks esp. for playing Carson Cooman's concerto -- I'd never heard of him before and it's a great piece.

Feb. 16 2012 11:50 AM
James Klosty from Millbrook, NY

Are you aware that the first electronic five minutes of Conference of the Birds was basically a long, muffled reworking of Ravel's Daphnes and Chloe?

Feb. 13 2012 11:07 PM

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