The Piano Concertos by Maurice Ravel are among my favorite concertos. We discussed them today in the final session of the Graham School class on the music of Stravinsky, Debussy and Ravel. Of the two, my favorite is the Concerto in G which has a wonderful opening with a crack of the whip and the main theme introduced by the flute over a glistening accompaniment by the pianist. The concerto is very much in the light spirit of the Saint-Saens piano concerti (also among my favorites).
Ravel's other work for piano and orchestra, Concerto for the Left Hand, was commissioned by and for Paul Wittgenstein who had lost his right arm in WWI. It is a more serious work and in the latter section (it is in one movement) precursors Ravel's Bolero with its repetitious tarantella-like theme.