Gary Graffman, whose career had been interrupted because of an ailment in his right hand, recently played the Ravel Concerto in D (for the left hand) with the American Philharmonic Orchestra, Rohan Joseph conducting. It was his first appearance in New York in quite a while, and it is good, indeed, to have him back. The pianist's work has always been marked by a superior digital prowess matched to a probing, clear, incisive musical mind.
This account of the Ravel was led off by Joseph's richly textured account of the swelling introduction. Graffman sustained the tension and the magisterial sweep. This Ravel was richer, darker in tone, a bit slower in pace, more cumulative in impact, than is customary. Even if Graffman has reduced his repertoire, he remains one of America's finest pianists, and this Ravel bodes well for his ability to share his wealth of musical insights, whatever the apparent limitations.