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Classical 101

Lang Lang and Prokofiev With L. A. Phil on Classical Showcase

The next broadcast of Classical Showcase Friday evening at 7 will feature the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel conducting with Lang Lang as soloist for Piano Concerto No. 3 by Sergei Prokofiev. The program also features works by Ravel and the Venezuelan-born cellist/composer Paul Desenne. The "tropical" chamber symphony, Sinfonia Burocratina ed' Amazzonica, is an 18 minute piece in five sections from 2004. The composer describes the title as referring to "a clash of two opposite extremes of modern South American mythology: untamed wilderness and 'corrupt' civilization." Two works by French composer Maurice Ravel are also being performed by the L. A. Phil and Dudamel. Valse nobles et sentimentale, the "Noble and Sentimental Waltzes," is a look back at the era of Johann Strauss and the Viennese waltz through Gallic eyes in 1912.  La valse, from 1919, is a more dark and brooding work that reflects the disillusionment following the end of the First World War. The 13-minute piece builds up to a whirling frenzy and at its dissonant climax seems to "deconstruct" any notion of the "noble" idea of European civilization represented in the Strauss waltzes. Chinese piano sensation Lang Lang, probably the biggest classical star on the planet, is the soloist in Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev's most popular concerto.  The Piano Concerto No. 3 in C was completed in 1921, and Prokofiev himself was the soloist at its first performance in Chicago with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Frederick Stock. The popularity of this work is probably due to the happy balance of lyrical passages with the witty, sarcastic dissonances for which Prokofiev is well known. Lang Lang's virtuosity and interpretive skills are up to the challenge in this 20th century masterpiece for piano and orchestra. Classical Showcase airs at 7 pm here on Classical 101.