WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Helene Grimaud - Collected Recordings


Release Date: 10/17/2006 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 63265   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Robert SchumannRichard StraussJohannes BrahmsGeorge Gershwin,   ... 
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud
Conductor:  David ZinmanKurt SanderlingKurt MasurVladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester BerlinBerlin Staatskapelle OrchestraBaltimore Symphony Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 6 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 6 Hours 11 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Reviews of some of the original recordings that make up this set:

Schumann: Concerto; Strauss: Burleske

Helene Grimaud was 19 when her coupling of Schumann’s Kreisleriana and Brahms’s F sharp minor Sonata prompted me to hail her as “one of the most welcome newcomers to the CD catalogue for many moons” (Denon, 9/89). So it’s good to find that, six years on, her playing has lost none of its spontaneous freshness and grace. Again here I sensed an intuitive understanding of the music’s message as well as a wholly natural-sounding joy in communication – with her fellow musicians no less than her listeners.

Such is her immediacy of response to every change of mood in the opening Allegro affettuoso of
Read more Schumann’s concerto that some listeners may think it a little too excitable – at the expense of maturer composure and poise (the Beckmesser in me did wonder if a few passing ritenutos were marginally overstretched, as at 1'56'', 2'19'' and 3'29'' in the first track). But never in this movement, nor in a finale of unflagging vitality and joie de vivre, is there any hint of mere keyboard display. You could certainly never hope to hear the first movement’s nostalgic main theme played with a more eloquent simplicity. Piano and orchestra are in exceptionally close accord throughout, and not least in the intimate conversational exchanges of the Andantino grazioso. I only wish Zinman had allowed the first violins to soar more radiantly in their glorious four-bar ending to its middle section (from about 3'00'' in track 2).

Written when Strauss was a mere 22, the Burleske cries out for youthful virtuosity, volatility, caprice and charm – which we’re given here with effortless fluency by all concerned. In what could vaguely be described as lyrical ‘second subject’ territory (from the start of track 5, tranquillo) I particularly enjoyed those amazing pre-echoes of irresistibly seductive, smiling (con amore) things-to-come a quarter of a century later in Der Rosenkavalier. The Erato sound is clear-cut rather than lusciously cushioned, but never hard-edged: it falls agreeably on the ear.

-- Joan Chissell, Gramophone [2/1996]

Brahms: Piano Pieces Op 116-119
I have waited a long time for this. Although Brahms’s four sets of late piano pieces are classics, there aren’t many discs with them all together. Wilhelm Kempff’s recording of all Opp. 116 to 119, made in 1963, is still available on DG Galleria and, in its way, it is irreplaceable, mellow and gorgeous. But Grimaud has her own way, which is every bit as valid, and with a spacious, brilliant modern recording, the sound-picture is altogether different from the Kempff disc. Grimaud is like a fine thoroughbred, every nerve aquiver, and she does a good deal to loosen textures, making you aware of what each note contributes. Yet she is also very natural – she doesn’t strain after effect. In the passionate opening Intermezzo of Op. 118, she gets straight to the point. She doesn’t let out the seams between phrases, for there’s no fat on her Brahms. He’s lean, fit and clear-headed, yet not insensitive – quite the reverse. The sad, inward-looking Intermezzo in A minor, Op. 116/2, couldn’t be more tender or haunting, and it’s the melancholy in Brahms which Grimaud often seeks out, even when it lingers behind the marking ‘Grazioso e giocoso’ in the C major Intermezzo, Op. 119/3, one of the most elusive to capture. There are endless riches of thought and feeling in this playing; technically superb, very lightly pedalled, it makes its points by subtlety and noble reserve. An outstanding disc. Performance: 5 (out of 5), Sound: 5 (out of 5)

-- Adrian Jack, BBC Music Magazine

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 4, Sonatas
During her 29 years Hélène Grimaud has pretty much gone her own way—and gone remarkably far. As a teenager she was a bit of a rebel at the Paris Conservatoire, challenging some of its venerated rules. Before graduation she was able to sign with a major recording company, and her career was launched not by winning a competition but by the early advocacy of musicians who were convinced of her talent, including Daniel Barenboim and Jorge Bolet. Her first recording, made when she was 16, was an amazing account of Rachmaninov's Second Sonata. This was followed by equally impressive recordings of Schumann's Kreisleriana and several fine discs of Brahms's solo works. Her concerto recordings include the Schumann, the Ravel Concerto in G, and a recent Brahms Concerto No. 1, conducted by Kurt Sanderling. Each of these demonstrates a remarkable musical maturity coupled with a mercurial virtuosity that never calls attention to itself.

In this, her first Beethoven recording, she has typically chosen the most challenging repertoire. From her thoughtfully articulated opening chords in this live performance of the Concerto in G it is clear that we are in for something special. The first movement's frequent scalar and arpeggiated passages are always invested with an expressive value regardless of their speed, and sharp characterizations of mood and well-judged agogics enliven virtually every solo passage. The tempos may vary slightly from section to section—perhaps more than in some other recordings—but we know from many contemporary accounts that this was always Beethoven's way as a performer. In the cadenza (the longer of Beethoven's two) Grimaud freely explores Beethoven's extremes of lyric improvisation and mounting passion.

In the second movement, the initial contrasts between orchestra and soloist are especially marked, leading to some wonderful espressivo playing by all players in the central and concluding sections. The finale is full of joy and excitement, with some thrilling interchanges between piano and orchestra of the sort that might happen only in a live performance such as this. Masur's conception seems at one with Grimaud's, and the orchestral playing is virtually flawless. No doubt when Grimaud is twice her present age her views of this concerto will have changed; but foi now I must agree with the critic who recently wrote of her Los Angeles performance of the work: "One was reminded of the late Rudolf Serkin throughout this seraphic performance [in which] Grimaud loses herself in the style, every note a matter of life or death."

In the two late sonatas Grimaud demonstrates an equally amazing musical maturity. Each of Beethoven's many specified tempo changes, articulations, and phrase markings sounds absolutely right. Occasionally her involvement manifests itself in some audible, Serkinesque breathing, but never to a bothersome degree. The variations of op. 109 are held together as a continuum, not as a series of character pieces, and the final trilled climax magically dissolves into the pianissimo return of the theme. Op. 110 is perhaps even closer to Grimaud's heart, as is evident from her loving attention to every note of the development section of the first movement, her intensely lyrical delivery of the arioso sections, and the exultant final pages of the fugue. This disc confirms the fact that Hélène Grimaud is one of the great pianists of our time.

-- Charles Timbrell, Fanfare
Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 54 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Conductor:  David Zinman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841-1845; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1995 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 30 Minutes 23 Secs. 
2. Burleske for Piano and Orchestra in D minor, AV 85 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Conductor:  David Zinman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885-1886; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1995 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 21 Minutes 51 Secs. 
3. Fantasies (7) for Piano, Op. 116 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/1995 
Venue:  Reitstadel, Neumarkt, Germany 
Length: 22 Minutes 43 Secs. 
4. Pieces (6) for Piano, Op. 118 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/1995 
Venue:  Reitstadel, Neumarkt, Germany 
Length: 22 Minutes 21 Secs. 
5. Pieces (4) for Piano, Op. 119 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/1995 
Venue:  Reitstadel, Neumarkt, Germany 
Length: 13 Minutes 29 Secs. 
6. Concerto for Piano no 1 in D minor, Op. 15 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Conductor:  Kurt Sanderling
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854-1858; Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1997 
Venue:  Live  Schauspielhaus, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 49 Minutes 11 Secs. 
7. Concerto for Piano in F major by George Gershwin
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Conductor:  David Zinman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; USA 
Date of Recording: 05/1997 
Venue:  Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, Baltimore, MD 
Length: 32 Minutes 31 Secs. 
8. Concerto for Piano in G major by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Conductor:  David Zinman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929-1931; France 
Date of Recording: 05/1997 
Venue:  Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, Baltimore, MD 
Length: 21 Minutes 55 Secs. 
9. Concerto for Piano no 4 in G major, Op. 58 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1999 
Venue:  Live  Avery Fisher Hall, New York City 
Length: 34 Minutes 5 Secs. 
10. Sonata for Piano no 30 in E major, Op. 109 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1820; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1999 
Venue:  SUNY Purchase, New York 
Length: 19 Minutes 56 Secs. 
11. Sonata for Piano no 31 in A flat major, Op. 110 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1821-1822; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1999 
Venue:  SUNY Purchase, New York 
Length: 18 Minutes 55 Secs. 
12. Concerto for Piano no 2 in C minor, Op. 18 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Date of Recording: 09/2000 
Venue:  The Colosseum, Watford, England 
Length: 35 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Russia (1900 - 1901). 
13. Etudes-tableaux (9) for Piano, Op. 33: no 1 in F minor by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911; Russia 
Date of Recording: 06/2000 
Venue:  Teldec Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 7 Secs. 
14. Etudes-tableaux (9) for Piano, Op. 33: no 2 in C major by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911; Russia 
Date of Recording: 06/2000 
Venue:  Teldec Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 58 Secs. 
15. Etudes-tableaux (9) for Piano, Op. 33: no 9 in C sharp minor by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911; Russia 
Date of Recording: 06/2000 
Venue:  Teldec Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 48 Secs. 
16. Preludes (13) for Piano, Op. 32: no 12 in G sharp minor, Allegro by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910; Russia 
Date of Recording: 06/2000 
Venue:  Teldec Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 54 Secs. 
17. Variations on a theme of Corelli, Op. 42 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1931; USA 
Date of Recording: 01/2001 
Venue:  Teldec Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 17 Minutes 37 Secs. 
18. Intermezzi (3) for Piano, Op. 117 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Austria 
Date of Recording: 11/1995 
Venue:  Reitstadel, Neumarkt, Germany 
Length: 15 Minutes 0 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook