First-Rate Ravel

There are few concerti as multifaceted and downright exciting as Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major. The first movement is a continual surprise, introduced by a bouncy piccolo solo, gathering speed with the addition of trumpet and snares, the jaunty syncopation suddenly and abruptly melting into a dreamy harp-and-piano interlude with hints of Gershwin and building to a wild percussive climax. The second movement is one of the most heartrendingly gorgeous in the keyboard repertoire, and the final movement is a feverish explosion of driving jazz and nonstop piano pyrotechnics, culminating in an ecstatic burst of sheer joy. In short, it's a work made to order for the dashing, unconventional piano superstar Jean-Yves Thibaudet, who performs it this week at the Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Stephane Deneve, in Thibaudet Plays Ravel. The jazzy program includes Bernstein's Overture to Candide and Gershwin's An American in Paris and Prelude for Piano No. 2. Fun note: When Gershwin met Ravel, his idol, and told him how much he admired him, Ravel, the great jazz fan, replied, "Wouldn't you rather be a first-rate Gershwin than a second-rate Ravel?" Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave.; Thurs., July 26, 8 p.m.; $1.75-$145. (323) 850-2000,
Thu., July 26, 8 p.m., 2012

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Hollywood Bowl

2301 N. Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90068


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