Ralph’s recent CD-release with Theo Loevendie’s piano music received two new reviews this week. One of them was published in newspaper ‘Leeuwarder Courant’, describing Ralph’s playing as ‘thorough, cheeky, full of detail and occasionally joyfully daring’. Monthly CD-magazine ‘Luister’ gave the CD a 9/10 rating and concluded the review with ‘Van Raat, to whom Loevendie dedicated a work, wrote the program notes and he offers an excellent introduction to the work of this underrated composer’.
Last October, Ralph did his first performance of Tan Dun’s highly successful new Concerto for Piano Solo, Peking Opera soprano and Orchestra, Farewell My Concubine, with the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of the composer. Ralph subsequently has been invited to perform the piece with the Macao Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand’s Auckland Symphonia, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra during the past months. Performances have been broadcasted by the Chinese national TV (CCTV) and Australian television networks. Quoting reviews: “This was a sonic feast in itself; Van Raat’s fingers fluently evoked a century of contemporary idioms” (New Zealand Herald, Feb. 2, 2017); “For Dun, the best instrument to represent the King was the grand piano, which was wheeled centre stage, to be played with deep feeling and the lightest of touch by Ralph van Raat, another musical athlete who at one stage climbed onto the stool to reach over and hit the lowest note” (Limelight Magazine Australia, Febr. 6, 2017); and “Van Raat’s impressive feat of playing his major role entirely from memory” (The Straits Times, April 22, 2017).
Last January saw the release of Ralph’s newest CD, featuring the works of Dutch key composer Theo Loevendie (1930). Published by the Attacca Records label, it features his very first, unpublished works up to and including his most recent work. As a lifelong jazz saxophone and clarinet player, Loevendie’s music is characterized by Messiaenic harmonies, jazzy rhythms, improvisatory qualities and influences of especially Arabic music. It has immediately received rave reviews, one of them from Opus Klassiek Magazine: “In part, Loevendie’s music always sounds so good because of Ralph van Raat’s playing, which, with his love for contemporary music, demonstrates a classical instinct for hierarchy and structure, and places clarity of phrasing and rhythm above all other parameters. That does not mean that he thinks that other aspects are unimportant, but it means that he gives them the right position.”
Today was the official presentation of a new book about Pierre Boulez, written by musicologist Emanuel Overbeeke. Besides his role as a composer and a conductor, the book especially focuses on the influence of Boulez as a writer, programmer and general initiator in the musical world. Ralph was invited to write the preface to this book (publisher: In de walvis/Vantilt 2016)
Yesterday, an A3-sized interview with Ralph has been published in one of Holland’s main national newspapers, De Volkskrant. Written by Pablo Cabenda, and in anticipation of Ralph’s concert series featuring Radiohead in relation to contemporary music, it deals with Ralph’s belief that contemporary music and pop music are slowly converging.
Ralph has just returned from a successful tour to Guangzhou, Beijing and Tianjin with the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra. He performed Tan Dun’s new ‘Farewell, My Concubine’ for piano solo, Peking opera soprano and orchestra, conducted by the composer, and with Peking opera star Xiao Di. The Beijing concert was broadcasted and available for viewing here (starting from 23’45”).