Classical Music Library Free Download of the Week

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Every two weeks, Alexander Street offers a free music download from our popular online music collection. This download is freely available, regardless of whether or not your library subscribes to the collection.

Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, Maurice Ravel

When the talented Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein lost his right arm in the First World War, he devoted himself to playing with his left hand only. As a result, he commissioned a number of works from composers as varied as Korngold, Richard Strauss, Prokofiev, and Britten. In the late 1920s, he approached French composer Maurice Ravel.

Written between 1929 and 1930, Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand is the best known of Wittgenstein's commissions. Ravel travelled to the United States in 1928, where he led a very successful concert tour. The influence of American music and jazz, especially the music of George Gershwin, whom Ravel visited with in New York, is much in evidence in the harmonies and syncopated rhythms. Wittgenstein himself premiered the work in 1932.

This recording is performed by the Orchestre Philharmonique des Pays de Loire, featuring pianist Abdel Rahman El Bacha.

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