Next Stop! Broadway-Layfayette! With Pianist Simone Dinnerstein

Apr 3, 2015

Simone Dinnerstein's latest CD Broadway-Lafayette is named after the subway stop in New York City. But, as Dinnerstein explains in her most recent visit to Crossover, there is an ulterior motive at play in the title - the relationship of America and France, dating back to the American Revolution, when the Marquis de Lafayette helped American colonists send the British back across the Atlantic licking their wounds.  And there is yet another undercurrent in the theme of American and French relationships - that of the composers on the recording.

The new Sony Classics disc includes works from the French composer Maurice Ravel (the Piano Concerto in G major) and the American composer George Gershwin (Rhapsody in Blue).  Gershwin once wanted Ravel to tutor him, but was rejected with the now famous quote, "Why become a second-rate Ravel when you're already a first-rate Gershwin?" 

The work that appears on the CD in between those two masterpieces is sure to become a new masterpiece from a currently living composer, The Circle and the Child: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, by Philip Lasser.  Lasser is the son of a French mother and an American father, who grew up in a bilingual environment.  The Circle and the Child was expressly written for Dinnerstein, with the core of the composition based on the Bach chorale, Ihr Gestirn', ihr honen Lufte ("you stars in heaven, you vaulted sky").

Also performing on the disc is the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra under Kristjan Jarvi.  

Jill speaks with Simone about the disc, and her feelings toward bringing classical music to unexpected audiences. She'll also play excerpts from the Ravel Concerto, and the entire Lasser work.

Crossover with Jill Pasternak airs Saturday morning at 11:30 on WRTI-FM, with an encore the following Friday evening at 7:00 on WRTI-HD2.  Both airings can be heard on the All-Classical web stream at wrti.org.