“Grimaud’s assertive sound proved ideal for Bartók’s muscular, discursive piano writing, which the composer set against a surprisingly melodic orchestral foundation. She called attention to subtle influences across the concerto’s three movements, which were played breathlessly as one sustained narrative. The opening Allegretto brimmed with folk textures one might expect to hear, while the gentle Adagio religioso contained echoes of Debussy in its exquisite coloring. The concluding Allegro vivace vibrated with rhythms of jazz and ragtime. Grimaud’s assured approach made every moment of the 30-minute work sound fresh and invigorated, and Nézet-Séguin ideally balanced his forces, with particularly valuable contributions from the flutes and woodwinds.”
Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin and pianist Hélène Grimaud exude an air of genuine affection when they perform together, and Philadelphia audiences have benefited from this special friendship. Although Grimaud made her local debut nearly twenty years ago, her appearances have become more frequent since Nézet-Séguin took over the music directorship in 2012, and she burnishes an already stellar reputation with each successive visit.