The great Glass champion Dennis Russell Davies will be making a rare New York appearance one week from tonight at Le Poisson Rouge when the Namekawa/Davies piano duo plays a recital of Lutoslawski, Glass, and Stravinsky.
A great Glass champion yes, but the breadth of Davies' career is staggering. I contest that no one has done more for American music in Europe over the past 35 years, perhaps ever. This is a fact often overlooked because Davies' career has been European based for decades with music directorships at Stuttgart Opera and Kammerorchester, Beethoven Orchester Bonn, Vienna Radio Symphony, Bruckner Orchester Linz, and Basel Sinfornieorchester.
The commitment to American composers and new music in general seems a large part of his profile but that would overlook his day-in day-out bread and butter conducting of the classics. To that end, Davies has recorded the symphony cycles of Haydn, Bruckner, and Glass among recording other major works from Mozart to Arvo Part.
The LPR program will celebrate the Witold Lutoslawski, the great Polish composer who passed away in 1994 with a performance of his Paganini Variations written during WWII. 2013 is the 100th anniversary of his birth. 2013 is also the 100th anniversary of the Rite of Spring. There's been many celebrations all this year of this landmark piece. Namekawa/Davies perform Stravinsky's arrangement for two pianos and perform, as seen in the video above, with visual elements by artist Gerfired Stocker. The visual are actually prompted by the keys played on the Yamaha Disklavier piano. It should be a site to see.
The final piece on the program is Glass' Four Movements for Two Pianos (2008). Namekawa and Davies have performed this piece all over the world. The work was taken up recently by the Labeque sisters piano duo who also perform it regularly. That link of these four great pianists inspired the 2013 Glass work Two Movements for Four Pianos which premiered this past summer at the Piano Festival Ruhr.
Namekawa is one of Glass' chosen pianists for his new set of piano études. In fact, this Thursday in Morelia Mexico Namekawa will be performing the complete etudes with Glass.
In any case, this is a rare occasion to hear musicians so closely connected to Glass the composer. In Davies' case, the relationship now dates back more than three decades, dozens of works including almost all of the symphonies as well as most of the grand operas. Hope to see you there.