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"Beethoven: concerto no.5"
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MUSIC AND WOLVES
GRIMAUD PLAYS BEETHOVEN
concerto no. 5
(in rehearsal - excerpt from
Adagio - 2nd movement)
GRIMAUD on BEETHOVEN
- Track 1
Excerpt from the 1st movement
- Track 3
Excerpt from the 3rd movement
Sonata no. 28:
- Track 4
Excerpt from the 1st movement
(Allegretto, ma non troppo)
- Track 7
Excerpt from the 4th movement
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|a passion for music and a spirit that 'dances with wolves'|
|MUSIC AND WOLVES BEETHOVEN concerto no. 5 on BEETHOVEN DISCOGRAPHY CALENDAR|
is perhaps the most unique among today's generation of classical artists,
certainly among its most cerebral. With a career on a trajectory headed
for the highest star, her life is already one for the books, securely
held in balance by her deeply-rooted love of music and her intriguing
devotion to wolves.
She worked her heart out, mostly in solitude, continuing her education by occasionally enrolling in master classes of her own choosing, taught only by those she considered the very best, where she could learn face-to-face from the greats. Otherwise, master classes did not appeal to her - the dialogue that takes place between student and master in these sessions always struck her as somewhat fake.
The American pianist LEON FLEISHER was one such master teacher. At the end of one class, he said to her: "Whatever you do, you have the potential to do it very well on your own. Just remember, don't start too quickly. Perform as little as possible. Stay on the sidelines until you have found your own system. I hear you want to continue alone. It is a completely admirable undertaking, and you have everything it takes to make a success of it. Go to it."
Another master teacher was the Cuban expatriate JORGE BOLET, who spoke no French and who in 1987 led a master class at the festival at La Roque d'Anthéron, known as "the Mecca of the piano." Of Grimaud (who at the time spoke no English), he said to a journalist from Le Monde: "It's been a long, very long time since I encountered a talent of such extraordinary quality and sensibility of temperatment." These spoken words, once written, were soon heard around the globe, setting the upward trajectory of her star.
The prophetic words have of course become reality - Hélène Grimaud, "talent of extraordinary quality and sensibility," has found her own system and made a big success of it: in 2002, she played the opening night's program at the "Mecca" of her dreams (La Roque d'Anthéron). But that is only one among many distinctions and honors of her stellar career: concerts with the world's great orchestras and conductors, and recitals in the great halls; an ever growing discography; and of course, awards galore: a French Grammy (1986 Grand Prix du Disque) for her recording of Rachmaninoff's Sonata No. 2 and the Etudes-Tableaux, Op. 33; Concerto of the Year, Cannes MIDEM Festival, 1999; Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres awarded by the French Ministry of Culture; Choc du Monde de la musique, Diapason d’or, and Victoire d'honneur, 2004; German Record Critics Award, Record Academy Prize, Tokyo, 2005; Midem Classic Award, 2006 - a list that can only get longer with time.
Today, Grimaud continues to play by her own rules. She will not be intimidated (say, by a conductor's stature) into playing a piece she does not like, or into playing the entire piano repertoire. As much as she loves music, she does not profess to love them all, and will even candidly admit that some composers leave her cold. A glance at her repertoire reveals that she remains as enchanted with the Romantics as when she first heard Schumann's little piece, even as she has forayed into some Ravel, Bartok, Gershwin, and the contemporary Corigliano and Part. She is most intimate with Brahms and Beethoven, but whichever composer's music she chooses to play, it is because the composer has spoken to her and she, in turn, has something to say about his music. Those who have seen her in performance more than once will conclude that she has her own version of chic, a coutoure that favors tailored pants over flowing skirts, and a stage persona that sports no make-up. The agitated and unpredictable child shows up - in the spontaneity of her playing and when she plays agitato con passione, the tactile pleasure of fingers tapping ivory keys, guided by her other-worldly intuition and tempered by the rigorous cerebration that informs her interpretations. She has been called a "philosopher at the piano" for a very good reason. The mystic in her also shows up, ensuring that a Hélène Grimaud performance becomes both an aural feast and the spiritual experience that music has always been for her.
to her life with wolves in the America she has adopted - specifically
in South Salem outside New York City where she keeps a home in the
Conservation Center that she founded (yes, alone!), that
is another completely enthralling story, better left for another telling. In
any case, it is all in her
book. One thing is sure, the preservation of wolves, a
species she believes has been demonized through the ages, is a calling
as important to her as her music. By her own account, while music saved
her, the wolves liberated her from being a slave to her instrument.
Her music (that she plays with her hands) and her wolves (whom
she feeds and plays with, fearlessly, with her precious bare hands)
are the two unlikely contrapuntal harmonies of her life and between
them she has found the spiritual center that has made her the great
artist she is today. -GCajipe © FanFaire
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