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The Pacific Symphony Presents RAVEL'S PIANO CONCERTO, 3/6-8

The Pacific Symphony Presents RAVEL'S PIANO CONCERTO, 3/6-8

Surging with energy, spontaneity and diversity, Pacific Symphony's upcoming concert-"Ravel's Piano Concerto"-is devoted to music from 19th-century France. Guest conductor Thierry Fischer leads the orchestra in an evening of impressionist and romantic music that includes Debussy's dreamy "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun" and Berlioz's theatrical Suite from "Romeo and Juliet." Described by Chicago Classical Review as "the real thing-a musician of clear intelligence, technical skill and podium personality, drawing performances that blend impeccable balancing, textural clarity and fizzing exhilaration," Maestro Fischer generates a tangible excitement during his concerts. Playing Ravel's masterful Piano Concerto in G Major is French pianist Alexandre Tharaud, who gripped The New York Times during his Carnegie Hall debut "with a sensation of the full span of keyboard music history lying nascent in [the] gemlike pieces" of his performance. Hailed as an "atmospheric, characterful pianist" by The Guardian, Tharaud's individuality shines with stimulating, poised pianism.

The concert takes place Thursday through Saturday, March 6-8, at 8 p.m. in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall; a preview talk with Alan Chapman begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25-$99; for more information or to purchase tickets call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.

"The program features a festival of French lineaments. Desires and dreams in Debussy, jazz in Ravel and a passionate dramatic love story in Berlioz!" says Maestro Fischer.

The program begins with Debussy's "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun," a landmark in Western music and cultural history. Described as the cornerstone of Impressionism in music, the Prelude captures Stéphane Mallarmé's poem, "Afternoon of a Faun." When he heard the piece in concert, Mallarmé admired Debussy's success in capturing the poem's elusive and all-important qualities of mood.

Continuing the melodic theme, Ravel's Piano Concerto is the showpiece that his admirers awaited for years. Written in the spirit of Mozart and Saint-Saëns, the Concerto combines Basque and Spanish melodies, jazz riffs and a childhood fascination with mechanical toys.

Considering the variety of styles in the piece, Fischer says, "In the case of this concerto in G Major, Ravel, a 'classical' composer, was simply very inspired, almost fascinated by jazz and Spanish folklore. He managed to write one of the most fascinating piano concertos, mixing colors, influences and rhythms, without forgetting his great talent for creating beauty, in mixing extreme virtuosity and the most melancholic melodies we can ever dream about."

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by Peter Danish