Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado does a superb Debussy/Ravel programme
Top pieces from the French impressionism repertoire in this programme conducted by the young and brilliand Spaniard Pablo Heras-Casado. Presenting works so well known is risky because everyone in the audience know them very well and have favorite way of playing them. Being Heras-Casado a conductor who likes to explore different paths (like his HIP orchestras collaborations) we could have expected a more radical approach to this works.
However we got a very traditional french-way of playing in this matiné concert. Orchestral textures were exposed by Heras-Casado in a choral way, conducting without baton with elegant wide movements.
Debussy Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune was a full joy to listen to. Very controlled and while allowing a great mix of different sound layers.
For Ravel Piano Concerto in G we had a champion pianist: Pierre-Laurent Aimard. His vision of this work is very modern, with a perfect sense of that rhythm that Ravel wrote influenced by the jazz music. Both, pianist and conductor perfectly agreed on a contained lyricism that the orchestra followed as a clockwork.
The second part of the concert continued with Ravel Ma mère l’oye Suite. We could appreciate the virtues of every section in the Philharmonia.
Finally, back to Debussy to close the circular programme. Stupendous rendition to La mer, leaving the virtuosity behind and focusing on an expanding sound that filled the Royal Festival Hall.