Maurice Ravel's Piano Concerto for the Left Hand was composed in 1930 for the Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein, who lost his right arm in combat during WWI but was determined to continue concertizing. Such feistiness served Wittgenstein well in the guts department, but it also earned him the reputation of a grumpy prima donna. Ravel's concerto contained a long cadenza that caused the picky pianist to complain, "If I wanted to play without the orchestra, I wouldn't have commissioned a concerto!" There's gratitude for ya! Despite Wittgenstein's whining, Ravel's concerto went on to attain an honored place in piano history. It's a stunning work with overtones both tragic and heroic, so artfully composed that you'd never guess it wasn't a two-handed affair. This week, in Dutoit Conducts Ravel and Stravinsky , Charles Dutoit (pictured) leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Russian virtuoso Nicolai Lugansky in this masterwork. The program also includes Ginastera's Variaciones Concertantes and Stravinsky's Petrushka .
Fri., Feb. 19, 8 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 20, 8 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 21, 2 p.m., 2010

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