Piano Concerto for the Left Hand

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Maurice Ravel wrote his Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D major, in 1929, at the same time he worked on his Piano Concerto in G major. The Concerto for the Left Hand was commissioned by Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein, who had lost his right arm during World War I. It was premired in 1932 by Wittgenstein himself, toghether with Robert Heger and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. Before writing this piece, Ravel studied carefully the Studies for the Left Hand by Camille Saint-Saens. The result of his studies was this single movement piece (though Ravel himself has been quoted as saying the piece is bipartite or tripartite). The Concerto for the Left Hand features a definite rhythmic ambiguity throughout. It is scored for piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, piccolo clarinet (in E flat), 2 clarinets (in A), bass clarinet (in A), 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba,timpani, triangle, snare drum, cymbals, bass drum, wood block, tam-tam, harp, strings, and solo piano.

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