Hearing is believing in Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand and Tchaikovsky’s explosive Fourth Symphony.
When the pianist Paul Wittgenstein lost his right hand in the First World War, he asked Ravel to write him something he could play with his left hand alone. The result is a masterpiece that glitters like a rare diamond. Played tonight by one of its most brilliant living champions, Nicholas McCarthy, it is the smouldering heart of a concert that begins in the English countryside as depicted by Ralph Vaughan Williams, and ends with Tchaikovsky at his most impassioned.
The latter’s Fourth Symphony is a fearless musical autobiography, told in melodies that burn themselves into your memory. Tchaikovsky battles Fate itself and, in the hands of guest conductor Jordan de Souza, every note will feel like a matter of life or death.