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It was a great night to see the NY Phil off from their visit to Vail. They finished their week with a night dedicated to Broadway. The weakest part of the program was a medley of Broadway hits in the second half. The rest of the concert was quite nice. Titled “New York and Paris,” it opened with a Military March by Saint-Saëns that I had never heard. A nice piece, brassier than one would expect from the composer.
The highlight of the first half was a performance of the Ravel Concerto in G by French Pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. They made a big deal out of the fact that he was playing a new Yamaha piano, but it was much too bright in the midrange, I would have preferred to hear it on a Steinway. But the performance was quite nice. This is the third time I have heard this piece live though, so I was looking forward to the evening’s finale, Gershwin’s suite from Porgy and Bess, which he titled Catfish Row.
This was really wonderful to hear. It’s possibly the only Gershwin orchestral piece I had never heard live, and it was as moving and exciting as I had hoped. He did a nice job with the orchestration, something he is often criticized for. One can only imagine what would have happened if he had lived a full life. It was a nice finale to the series as well. After two quick encores, the festival was over, and now I have to wait a year to hear them again.