Debussy, Ravel, and Mendelssohn with the Philharmonia Orchestra

Pablo Heras-Casado leads the Philharmonia Orchestra in two concerts this month with both programs highlighting early 20th-century French music. A regular guest of the ensemble since his debut in 2014, this will be the first of two visits this season, as he returns again in the Spring.

The first concert takes place at the Bedford Corn Exchange on November 12, featuring a program of Lili Boulanger’s final two orchestral works that showcase her masterly control of harmony and orchestration: D’un soir triste and D’un matin de printemps. Concluding the first half of the program is Ravel’s light and playful take on a Baroque dance suite, Le tombeau de Couperin. Mendelssohn’s thrilling Italian Symphony, inspired by the new sights and sounds he experienced when first visiting the country, will complete the program.

On November 14 at London’s Royal Festival Hall, Heras-Casado leads the ensemble in two works by Ravel, beginning with his mysterious and seductive Rapsodie Espagnole, and then his virtuosic Piano Concerto for the Left Hand interpreted by the impeccable pianist Denis Kozukhin. The second half of the program includes Boulanger’s profound D’un soir triste, and concludes with Debussy’s Images. The latter consists of three works that are each inspired by very different sources: a Tyneside folk song, French nursery rhymes, and a celebratory representation of Spanish music and culture.

Heras-Casado and the Philharmonia Orchestra recorded an album dedicated to the music of Debussy, released by harmonia mundi in 2018. Gramophone called the recording a “dazzling array of varied textures” with a “consistently active blend of timbres throughout.” For more information and purchase links, click here.