Gerstein plays Gershwin Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra Cultural Centre Concert Hall Reviewed: January 12 Presenting a seminal masterpiece alongside two lollipops and a concerto professing to shun profundity is an unlikely recipe for success. This Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra concert succeeded, however, due largely to Edo de Waart's astute direction. Gershwin's An American in Paris shouldn't have stolen the show - but it did. De Waart wasn't for letting the grass grow under his feet. His buoyant pace smoothed the annoying stop-start construction and enabled passages short on creative interest to flow harmlessly by. American brash was out, Parisian chic was in, to capture the most refreshing airing of the work I've heard for some time. Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue featured piano soloist Kirill Gerstein. His performance was unremarkable, save for a few passages of interesting phrasing and chord placement. De Waart drew dignified restraint from the orchestra, rejecting the easier option to bluster sassily through this well-worn material. Gerstein was also the soloist in Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major. He retained sparkle in the heavier moments, and sustained poetic simplicity in the slow movement against some delicious dialogue from the principal wind players, notably Christopher Chen's cor anglais solo. The work may lack depth, but it was given a sympathetic and intelligent reading. The programme opened with Debussy's ground-breaking La Mer. Built on splintered textures and melodic fragments, the meticulous scoring is crafted to let every detail sound. Loud dynamics are used sparingly. The orchestra's lustrous impact at climaxes was thrilling, but passing lyricisms were often too weighty (mostly in the woodwind), which either obscured or unbalanced other facets of the orchestration.