Notes and Editorial Reviews
Piano Concerto No. 2. Piano Sonata No. 2
Preludes: in b?,
Hélène Grimaud (pn); Jesús Lopez-Cobos, cond; Royal PO
DAL SEGNO DSPRCD 063 (77:52)
I reviewed these performances in
29:2, my first issue as a contributor to this magazine, as part of a five-CD set of Hélène Grimaud’s 1985–92 Denon recordings on Brilliant Classics. At that time I called the solo works—recorded when the pianist was 15—“authoritative readings,” and found the concerto “refreshingly clear-eyed and understated.” I still find the sonata lyrical and unforced; where many pianists make a virtuoso vehicle of this piece, Grimaud provides straightforward, unmannered music-making. The
is likewise clear-headed and tasteful, although lacking something of the subtlety and depth of the 1977–81 Ashkenazy readings. This latter impression is reinforced by the bright, somewhat bass-shy recording. The concerto receives a thoroughly idiomatic reading if not a particularly profound one.
Brilliant’s set is, as I write this, available from ArkivMusic for only $25, so serious piano collectors may wish to obtain these recordings, and a good deal more, that way. Either way, this CD remains a valuable document of a remarkable artist at the beginning of her career, and the performances stand on their own merit. Recommended if you missed it the first couple of times around.
FANFARE: Richard A. Kaplan
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Piano no 2 in C minor, Op. 18 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Hélène Grimaud (Piano)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Date of Recording: 06/1992
Venue: EMI Abbey Road Studios, London
Length: 33 Minutes 39 Secs.
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