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With special thanks to Joan Fabry and Michael Klein, and Lisa and Will Mesdag, The Allison and Warren Kanders Sunday Concert Series
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GRIEG: Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, op. 46
GRIEG: Piano Concerto in A minor, op. 16
RAVEL: Une barque sur l'océan
DEBUSSY: La mer
Two works by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg kick off a rich program filled with Romantic and modern masterworks.
Grieg’s four-movement Peer Gynt Suite No. 1—the first of two suites the composer created from his incidental music to the Henrik Ibsen play of the same name—features familiar tunes like the calming and evocative Morning and the rousing and gregarious In the Hall of the Mountain King. The Piano Concerto in A minor, the only concerto Grieg completed, features Russian-born American pianist Vladimir Feltsman, who’s been called “an amazing pianist” by The New York Times. The Naples Daily News praised Feltsman’s interpretation of the concerto as revealing a “deep understanding of its lyricism.”
Works by French contemporaries Ravel and Debussy make up the second half of the program. Une barque sur l’océan (A Boat on the Ocean) is the third movement of Ravel’s piano suite Miroirs (Mirrors). The dream-like piece, which features Ravel’s own orchestration, vividly captures the feeling of being adrift at sea while bobbing along to the rhythm of the ocean’s waves. Debussy’s suite La mer (The Sea) also takes listeners on a nautical journey. Debussy’s father served in the navy and thought his son might enlist as well, but Debussy’s life took a very different turn. The composer once said, however, that he “retained a sincere devotion to the sea” and that he drew upon his “innumerable memories” while composing La mer. Debussy also drew inspiration from a woodblock print by the Japanese artist Hokusai called The Great Wave off Kanagawa.