Pablo Heras-Casado: Debussy and Ravel | Philharmonia Orchestra

Pablo Heras-Casado: Debussy and Ravel | Philharmonia Orchestra

Thursday, November 14, 2019 - 19:30

Pablo Heras-Casado, “the thinking person’s idea of a hotshot young conductor” (New York Times), leads listeners on an evening’s promenade through evocative images of France and Spain.

Trade dark autumnal London for the warmth and colour of Andalusia with music by Debussy and Ravel. Ravel’s Rapsodie espagnole opens with a muted and mysterious evocation of night, paving the way for seductive dances. Debussy never visited Spain, but avidly absorbed sounds from other cultures and made them his own. In Images, a Tyneside folk song, French nursery rhymes and a band of Spanish musicians on their way to a festival all sound unmistakably like Debussy.

Denis Kozhukhin, praised for his ‘impeccably crystal-clear technique’ (Bachtrack) when he last played with the Philharmonia in 2018, takes on the hugely rewarding challenge of Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the left hand. Commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein, a concert pianist who lost an arm in World War I, this piece makes the most of the darker colours of the orchestra, with important, expressive parts for the contrabassoon, cor anglais, bass clarinet and double basses. Its sinister, martial central section perhaps alludes to the horror of the war that engendered it.

Lili Boulanger’s deeply-felt, richly orchestrated D’un soir triste was composed at the height of the First World War. But the sadness of the title may be for herself as well as for her country - she died shortly after completing it, at the age of 24. She crammed a prodigious amount of music-making into her short life, and was the first woman to win the Prix de Rome for composition.

Rapsodie espagnole
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
Concerto for piano left hand and orchestra
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
D'un soir triste
Lili Boulanger (1893-1918)
Images, for orchestra
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)


Royal Festival Hall
Belvedere Road
London SE1 8XX
United Kingdom
Event Information Box
£58, £45; £36; £28; £19; £12 Available from 020 7921 3907 Monday to Friday 09:30 - 17:30.
Venue URI:
Purchase URI:
We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here