31. March 2009 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: Quotes


I would say there is often an emotional distance in Ravel, but this piece goes deep down, especially in the slow movement. This is Ravel that goes beyond the merely beautiful; I find it one of the most emotionally involving of his pieces. And what is most interesting is the ever-changing sense of harmony. The colors shift all the time. And the music is rhythmically subtle; it demands a great deal of precision. That long, slow melody in the second movement, for example, is misleading in its simplicity — one step in the wrong direction, just as in Mozart, and you are lost.

The real problem, is in the section where the English Horn solo goes on and on, and the pianist has to play the accompaniment. Every pianist who performs the Ravel Concerto will confess to you that it is hard not to lose your place in that section. This is something one should never say, of course, because then the audience will become aware of the difficulty and look for a mistake.

But there are also other challenges: things I would love to be able to do in this work. I would like to be able to execute a glissando, for example, so that it sounds as if it were being played by a trumpet. If you can conjure that in the piano line, you have accomplished something!

-Mitsuko Uchida

I read it here.

(We’ll be doing the Ravel Piano Concerto for our opening weekend in Symphony Silicon Valley next season. I love the English horn solo!)

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