FRENCH PIANIST Helene Grimaud 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy of helenegrimaud.com)
French pianist Helene Grimaud, the soloist in the Israel Philharmonic
Orchestra’s concert last week, gave a breathtaking performance of Brahms’ Piano
Concerto No. 1.
Grimaud’s playing is a rare combination of utmost
sensitivity and electrifying, forceful expression. Discreet flexibility, such as
a noticeable yet never exaggerated slowing down to give weight to passages that
seem to ask for it, breathed life into her rendition.
especially in the slow movement, were sung on the piano and caressed with loving
attention. There were no swallowed or superfluous notes; an impeccable
transparency reigned even in the fastest, breakneck passages. The final
movement brought the work to an exciting conclusion, creating an impression of
freshness, as though the audience was hearing this popular work for the first
Brahms was preceded by a routine performance of Mozart’s Six German
Dances and Symphony No. 39.
Conductor Manfred Honeck placed emphasis on
accuracy and strictness, at the expense of charm and elegance. Even though
Mozart may not have intended these pieces to be actually danced to, even virtual
dancing was made impossible by the velocity and rigidity of the performance.