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Debussy, Ravel, and Beyond

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Debussy, Ravel, and Beyond

Tanya Lee, Staff Writer

Three Frenchmen, a German, and Mickey Mouse all walked into the Walt Disney Concert Hall to create an amazing concert. On Jan. 5 and 6, the LA Philharmonic presented Debussy, Ravel, and Beyond, combining four pieces to create a spectacular program.

Written by French composer Maurice Ravel, Rapsodie espagnole was inspired by his mother’s homeland and consists of four movements. Beginning with the muted introduction Prélude à la nuit, the piece goes through the romantic Malagueña and the slow Habanera before ending with the boisterous Feria. It has been performed by the Boston, Pittsburgh, and DePaul Symphony Orchestras, as well as many others.

Mar’eh was written by German composer Matthias Pintscher and performed on the West Coast for the first time. The piece was written in memory of Luigi Nono, an Italian avant-garde composer who passed away in 1990. The name of the piece means “a beautiful vision”, which the composer felt represented the wonderful “sound-aura” of the concerto.

Ibéria was written by Claude Debussy, a French composer. Ibéria is the second of three pieces Debussy composed that are included in the set Images pour Orchestre, and is probably the most popular piece out of the three. He stated that in the works of it all, he was “trying to achieve something different.” Inspired by impressions of Spain, the piece is meant to express images of Spanish culture and spirit. However, the last piece in the concert program is probably the most well-known.

In 1897, French composer Paul Dukas wrote The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Much like modern one-hit wonders, Paul Dukas’ only claim to fame was this piece. This piece was extremely popular due to its appearance in Disney’s film Fantasia. The animation that accompanies the piece features beloved character Mickey Mouse, who uses magic to make his work easier but soon finds himself in the middle of a massive magical mess.

In addition to the four pieces, the concert featured violinist Renaud Capuçon. Capuçon was born in Chambery, France in 1976. He attended the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris and studied with famous artists such as Thomas Brandis and Isaac Stern. Over the years, he has played with many orchestras, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Boston Symphony, and the Orchestre de Paris.

The LA Philharmonic was conducted by Pintscher, the composer of mar’eh. During the 2016-2017 season, Pintscher guest conducted with the Cleveland Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Cincinnati Symphony, Dallas Symphony, and numerous others. He currently works as the Principal Conductor of the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra and the Music Director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain, which went on tour in Asia last year.

If you missed this concert, there are numerous recordings of the various pieces online. And as Mickey Mouse said after The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, “Well, so long!”



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Debussy, Ravel, and Beyond