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Celebrating with Schumann in Baden Baden

Photo: Schweigert/pr

“Originally, this evening’s concert should have belonged entirely to Hélène Grimaud” wrote the Badisches Tagblatt about Hélène Grimaud’s concert last Friday in the famous Baden Baden Festspielhaus with the Mariinsky Orchestra and Valery Gergiev. But the line up was just too good and the occasion too important to let pass. So Friday evening turned into a special gala concert celebrating the Festspielhaus’ 15th birthday and its extraordinary success story in becoming one of Germany’s most celebrated concert halls in the space of so few years. And Friday night’s concert was no exception to expectation.

“Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor, Op 54 is made for Hélène Grimaud and Valery Gergiev” wrote the Badische Neueste Nachricthen, “because they opted for a different path to the usual classical one … bouncing the piano and orchestra off one another in the enthusiastic introductory bars. Two strong personalities united by an intense desire for expression: Where Gergiev sharpened the oboe and clarinet response to the piano part, Grimaud formed the virtuoso passages with dry brilliance.”

The Badisches Tagblatt echoed the praise commenting “She played the thunderous chords with fury, as many musicians can do. But few can match this French pianist when it comes to those glassy chords, that sound so beautiful yet fragile, and those pristine sparkling runs taken at an insane tempo”.

Hélène Grimaud performs Schumann’s Piano Concerto again this weekend with the NDR Symphony Orchestra and Thomas Hengelbrock in the opening concerts of the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival in Lübeck on 6th and 7th July.