Thursday 14 Nov 2019, 7.30pmRoyal Festival Hall, London

Philharmonia Box Office : 020 7921 3907

Pablo Heras-Casado conductor

Denis Kozhukhin piano

Ravel Rapsodie Espagnole

Ravel Piano Concerto for the Left Hand


Boulanger D'un soir triste

Debussy Images


Pablo Heras-Casado, “the thinking person’s idea of a hotshot young conductor” (New York Times), leads listeners on an evening’s promenade through evocative images of France and Spain.

Trade dark autumnal London for the warmth and colour of Andalusia with music by Debussy and Ravel. Ravel’s Rapsodie Espagnole opens with a muted and mysterious evocation of night, paving the way for seductive dances. Debussy never visited Spain, but avidly absorbed sounds from other cultures and made them his own. In Images, a Tyneside folk song, French nursery rhymes and a band of Spanish musicians on their way to a festival all sound unmistakably like Debussy.

Denis Kozhukhin, praised for his ‘impeccably crystal-clear technique’ (Bachtrack) when he last played with the Philharmonia in 2018, takes on the hugely rewarding challenge of Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand. Commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein, a concert pianist who lost an arm in World War I, this piece makes the most of the darker colours of the orchestra, with important, expressive parts for the contrabassoon, cor anglais, bass clarinet and double basses. Its sinister, martial central section perhaps alludes to the horror of the war that engendered it.

Lili Boulanger’s deeply-felt, richly orchestrated D’un soir triste was composed at the height of the First World War. But the sadness of the title may be for herself as well as for her country - she died shortly after completing it, at the age of 24. She crammed a prodigious amount of music-making into her short life, and was the first woman to win the Prix de Rome for composition.



  • Prices: £58 (premium); £45; £36; £28; £19; £12
  • Discounts: Subscription discounts available; under-18s and concessions discounts available; £8 tickets for students via Student Pulse one month before the concert (limited availability)
  • Running time: 115 minutes, including 20 minute interval
  • Before the concert: FREE Insights Talk - Pablo Heras-Casado in conversation, 6pm, Royal Festival Hall