by Hélène Grimaud


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Ever a provocative pianist, Hélène Grimaud has lately been exploding the timeworn programming conventions of most classical albums. If Reflection isn't as radical as Credo -- Grimaud's previous release, which sandwiched Beethoven between the 20th-century composers Corigliano and Pärt -- the newer disc offers a strikingly mixed sequence of music, taking the listener into the intimate circle of Robert and Clara Schumann and their younger friend Johannes Brahms. Robert Schumann's broadly Romantic Piano Concerto kicks things off; Grimaud is no stranger to this work -- she previously recorded it a decade ago -- but the performance here achieves a nearly ecstatic identification with the composer's own lofty expressive ideals. Esa-Pekka Salonen's meticulous direction of the Dresden Staatskapelle creates a perfect foil for Grimaud; there's a fine balance between surging passion and formal discipline, between the two sides of Schumann's personality -- Florestan and Eusebius, as he called them. Three ravishing songs by Clara Schumann follow, sung by Anne Sofie von Otter with a rapt lyricism matching Grimaud's. Perhaps the only disappointment of Reflection is that there's not more of Clara's music and von Otter's vocals. Yet given the beauty of the program's second half, devoted to Brahms, that quibble is soon forgotten. As played with full, dark tone by Truls Mork, with Grimaud as a true partner, not just an accompanist, Brahms's First Cello Sonata supplies a melancholy introversion to contrast with Schumann's effusiveness. And when the spotlight finally shines solely on Grimaud in Brahms's Two Rhapsodies, Op. 79, the pianist's palpable emotional and physical involvement makes for a glorious summation of the album's journey -- and even of the entire Romantic century that spawned this rich variety of music.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/12/2006
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
UPC: 0028947757191
catalogNumber: 000690402
Rank: 148014


  1. Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54
  2. Songs (3) from poems of Rückert, for voice & piano, Op. 12: "Er ist gekommen" Op. 12 No. 2
  3. Songs (3) from poems of Rückert, for voice & piano, Op. 12: "Warum willst du and're fragen" Op. 12 No. 11
  4. Am Strande for voice & piano
  5. Sonata for Cello & Piano No. 1 in E minor, Op. 38
  6. Rhapsodies (2) for piano, Op. 79

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Reflection 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Whispers, poems, and pages have been floating around for years about the strangely romantic triangle that bound the composers Robert Schumann, Clara Wieck Schumann and Johannes Brahms - secrets that will be forever the purview of intuitive writers and philosophers and historians. This very intelligent and tender CD REFLECTION is one way of examining the closeness of these three remarkable and very human artists. And it is a complete success, musically and thoughtfully. Incorporating some the finest artists available today this CD is the brainchild of the remarkable Hélène Grimaud, a pianist who not only is a remarkably fine artist but who also looks for more in her musical thoughts than merely the notes on the score. She offers here a collaboration with Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the Dresden Staatskapelle in an elegant and wistful performance of Robert Schumann's Piano Concerto in A minor, rich in subtleties and deeply felt melodic line. Grimaud then partners with Anne Sofie von Otter in three songs by Clara Schumann: 'Er is gekommen in Sturm und Regen', 'Warum willst du and're fragen?', and 'Am Strande' - songs that give both artists the opportunity to remind us how gifted Clara was with song writing. The third member of this remembered and honored triad is Johannes Brahms and his 'Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 1 in E minor' is performed with passion and grand scale by Grimaud and the gifted cellist Truls Mørk. Grimaud then closes the recital with Brahms' 'Rhapsodies for Piano Nos. 1 (B minor) and 2 (G minor)', sublime works that not only serve as a fitting closure to this thoughtful program but that also leave us with the desire for more Brahms from Hélène Grimaud! This is a very special recording, well produced technically, and one with which we are left with the feeling that both the Schumanns and Brahms would have warmly applauded. Highly recommended as one of the important issues of the year. Grady Harp