Thibaudet plays Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major with the SF Symphony

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If you would like assistance purchasing tickets for patrons with disabilities, please call the box office at 415-864-6000.

2016-17 SeasonWith brilliant flashes of light and moments of unbridled energy, experience Beethoven’s jovial Fourth Symphony performed by the San Francisco Symphony. Then, enjoy the sounds of American Jazz in Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major performed by acclaimed pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet hailed for his “sophistication and suavity, both clarity and a freedom infused by the spirit of jazz.” (The New York Times)

The Thursday Matinee concerts are endowed by a gift in memory of Rhoda Goldman.


Lionel Bringuier


San Francisco Symphony



Dances of Galánta


Piano Concerto in G major


Symphony No. 4

All sound clips are from San Francisco Symphony performances and are used with permission of the SFS Players Committee.


Ravel's Piano Concerto in G
Beethoven's Symphony No. 4

At a Glance

In this program, we hear a trio of dynamically scored pieces that marry folk and popular tunes with lush orchestral scoring.

Dances of Galánta   
1933 | 15 mins
Kodály spent part of his childhood in Galánta, a small Hungarian market town that boasted a famous gypsy band. Recalling those years, the composer incorporated gypsy themes from those childhood songs into this piece. In the course of five movements, we are treated to various manifestations of the traditional Hungarian verbunkos style, in which swagger gives way to irresistible foot-stamping. Listen for the clarinet, who takes on the role of the single-reed tárogató in Hungarian folk music. This work, however, is no mere folk-song recital; instead, everything is filtered through the composer’s colorful brand of brilliantly orchestrated modernism.

Piano Concerto in G major
 1931 | 20 mins
Ravel's G major Concerto begins like some wondrous contraption in a toy shop: A percussionist releases the wound up spring of the slapstick. The piano is there, right from the beginning, contributing to the buzz. After a while, it comes to the fore with a languid theme that reminds us that this work was written to charm American audiences. Ravel was smitten with what he knew of jazz, and diverse blue twists are seductively prominent. The Adagio is the reason we not only delight in this concerto but truly love it. The piano, alone, spins out a long, long melody over a kind of slow waltz bass. The brief and irresistible finale completely lives up to Ravel’s “lighthearted and brilliant” concerto ideal. In the end, a crack of percussion carries us back to the concerto's opening, and the final bang is colored by a bass drum thump.

Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, Opus 60
  1806 | 31 mins
Beethoven opens his Fourth and Fifth symphonies. He opens the Fourth with a hushed, introspective introduction. Then, a rapidly ascending figure cuts through the darkness and breaks apart, not unlike fireworks that fragment into sparkling shards. Suddenly we realize that the orchestra has embarked on what actually will be a thoroughly playful fast movement. The extraordinary second movement features recurring rhythms, which both support and foil a tender melody that unrolls above it. In his third movement, Beethoven offers the high-energy of a scherzo. Competing rhythms pulse to yield much drama. Before he reaches the end, the composer works in a last laugh or two until, with a final surge of energy and a few boisterous chords, Beethoven’s Fourth crosses the finish line buoyantly.

Jeanette Yu is Director of Publications at the San Francisco Symphony.

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  1. Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 2:00pm

    Davies Symphony Hall

  2. Fri, Jan 27, 2017 at 8:00pm

    Davies Symphony Hall

  3. Sat, Jan 28, 2017 at 8:00pm

    Davies Symphony Hall

If you would like assistance purchasing tickets for patrons with disabilities, please call the box office at 415-864-6000.

Pre- and post-show Events

Inside Music, an informative talk by James Keller, begins one hour prior to concerts. Free to ticketholders. Learn More.