Next weekend, pianist Alain Lefevre is joining the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Music Director JoAnn Falletta for a dramatic program.
Lefevre, who is French-Canadian, is performing an unusual concerto, the Piano Concerto No. 4 by the French-Canadian composer Andre Mathieu. As a boy in the 1930s, Mathieu was a prodigy admired by Rachmaninoff and honored in Paris as “the Quebec Mozart.” But life was not easy for him and he died in 1968, only 39, because of alcoholism and related mental illness.
In interviews, Lefevre has talked about how he became a champion of Mathieu’s music. He was 15 when he heard one of the composer’s pieces through the door of a practice room, and was thunderstruck. “I wasn’t looking for him, but he found me,” Lefevre has said. “Our encounter, I think, was ruled by fate.”
The Piano Concerto No. 4 has a spacious, passionate, tumultuously Romantic sound, like Rachmaninoff. Mathieu began sketching the piece as a boy but left it unfinished. Scholars including Lefevre pieced it together from fragments. Lefevre has recorded the concerto on the Analekta label with the Tucson Symphony.
The concert begins with the Dance Symphony of Aaron Copland, and ends with Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” a masterpiece originally conceived for piano but orchestrated by Maurice Ravel.
Catch this variegated program at 10:30 next Friday and 8 p.m. Feb. 2. Admission is $31-$51 on Friday, or $32-$77 on Saturday. Call 885-5000.
– Mary Kunz Goldman