Taking a detour over to Tokyo this week for a concert by the celebrated NHK Symphony, guest conducted by Charles Dutoit and featuring Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano. The concert was recorded by NHK on December 2, 2017.
A veritable feast of French music with primarily Ravel as the source – although Aimard does gives us a taste of Pierre Boulez as an encore.
I didn’t realize Japanese audiences were prone to foot-stomping and yelling after each piece. Yelling, I understand, but foot stomping usually denotes an encore, and when you start off the concert that way, where do you go from there? Anyway, interesting custom -certainly one to give an energy boost to Orchestra, conductor and soloist.
Here’s what we have: The concert starts off with Ravel’s Menuet Antique and then plays “Le Tombeau de Couperin” suite -and after some stage resetting, Aimard joins in for the Piano Concert for the Left Hand – and then an encore of Boulez’ No. 1,4,5 and 2 from Natasions pour Piano – the concert resumes with Ravel’s Rhapsodie Espagnole and comes to a crashing conclusion with the Bolero.
All good stuff, and a breathless announcer between pieces.
Widely acclaimed as a key figure in the music of our time and as a uniquely significant interpreter of piano repertoire from every age, Pierre-Laurent Aimard enjoys an internationally celebrated career. In recognition of a life devoted to the service of music he was awarded the prestigious 2017 International Ernst von Siemens Music Prize.
Aimard performs throughout the world each season with major orchestras under conductors including Esa-Pekka Salonen, Peter Eötvös, Sir Simon Rattle and Vladimir Jurowski. He has been invited to curate, direct and perform in a number of residencies, with projects at Carnegie Hall, New York’s Lincoln Center, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Berlin’s Philharmonie, Frankfurt’s Alte Oper, the Lucerne Festival, Mozarteum Salzburg, Cité de la Musique in Paris, the Tanglewood Festival and London’s Southbank Centre. Aimard was the Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival from 2009 to 2016; his final season was marked by a performance of Messiaen’s Catalogue d’oiseaux with the concerts programmed from dawn to midnight.
Dive in – it’s Wednesday and you deserve it.