Marin Alsop Leads the BSO and Pianist Leon Fleisher in Ravels Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, May 3 & 6
Baltimore, Md. (PRWEB) April 10, 2012
Led by Music Director Marin Alsop, Baltimore-based and world-renowned pianist Leon Fleisher will perform Ravels Piano Concerto for the Left Hand with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on Thursday, May 3 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 6 at 3 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Fleisher became a prominent exponent of left-handed piano repertoire when in the 1960s he was suddenly struck with a condition that caused him to lose function of his right hand. The second half of the program features Shostakovichs Symphony No. 7, Leningrad, which the composer wrote in 1941 as his beloved home city was under a terrible 900-day siege by the German forces. Please see below for complete program details.
Ravels Piano Concerto for the Left Hand was originally commissioned by Austrian concert pianist Paul Wittgenstein, who had lost his right arm when fighting in the First World War. He commissioned several pieces from prominent composersincluding Hindemith, Prokofiev and Strausshowever, Ravels dramatic and jazz-flavored concerto is the most famous. In a story that seems to parallel that of Wittgensteins, Leon Fleisher was at the height of success when struck with an illness (now identified as focal dystonia) that caused the fourth and fifth fingers of his right hand to curl up and become completely immobile. Refusing to simply abandon his career, Fleisher renewed and expanded the role of music in his life, focusing on repertoire for the left hand only and forging a new path as a soloist, conductor and teacher. Today he has regained use of his right hand, through Botox injections and holistic massage therapy, and he continues to interpret repertoire for the left hand with eloquence few can match.
When he began writing his seventh symphony in the summer of 1941, Shostakovich was living in Leningrad with his wife and two sons. The invading Nazi forces were sweeping eastward toward the city. By autumn of that year, Shostakovich had written the first three movements and the Germans had attacked and surrounded Leningrad, beginning a siege that would last more than two years. Shostakovich and his family were forced to flee the city and relocate to Kuibyshev, which had become the Soviet Unions temporary capital. After the symphonys premier in 1942 and later its international radio broadcast with the London Symphony, it became a musical cause c