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Hélène Grimaud Reflection Review

Album. Released 2006.  

BBC Review of the most thoughtful pianists of her generation.

Andrew McGregor 2006

Reflections on the Robert Schumann-Clara Schumann-Johannes Brahmstriangle from one of the most thoughtful pianists of her generation ought to be interesting, and sure enough, right from the opening chords of the Schumann Piano Concerto I knew I had to hear Hélène Grimaud's latest project to the end.

If you've heard this lovely work once too often in a merely average performance, then drink deeply at Grimaud's spring, for you'll leave refreshed...not an overblown romantic gesture, and no cloying sentimentality; instead a strong, straightforward reading where every note seems just so, yet without feeling calculated. Grimaud is quizzical and warmly affectionate; nothing is taken for granted, and in Salonen and the Dresden Staatskapelle she has ideal partners, following wherever she leads, but never too slavishly.

The Concerto's sense of characterful energy is echoed in the three Clara Schumann songs that follow, with mezzo Anne Sofie von Otter...definitely not mere pale imitations of Robert Schumann's genius as a songwriter. Grimaud and cellist Truls Mork fall into conversational nostalgia in a sweet-toned performance of Brahms's E minor Cello Sonata, and it's left to Grimaud alone to end her recital with memorable accounts of Brahms's Op. 79 Rhapsodies.

I'm not sure I knew any more about the relationships between the three composers at the end of it all, but my appreciation of each of them has most definitely been enhanced.

Like This? Try These:
Mikahil Pletnev: Live at Carnegie Hall
Schubert: Late Piano Sonatas (Murray Perahia)
Brahms: Piano Quartet, Schumann: Fantasiestücke (Argerich, Kremer, Bashmet, Maisky)

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