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Concert Review: (US) (US), 11 January 2014
Pianist Grimaud brings power to performancePianist Hélène Grimaud is a strikingly individual performer, whose interpretations have sometimes puzzled critics. But on Friday, the French pianist delivered a stellar performance of Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. It was deeply personal, yet it also summoned all the grandeur and power this piece demands. Music director Louis Langrée was on Music Hall's podium for the orchestra's first concert of 2014, which also included Beethoven's Symphony No. 8 in F Major. Brahms' monumental First Piano Concerto is a work of symphonic proportions. During its 50-minute span, there are big mood swings between arch-romantic emotion and interior moments. The orchestra plays an important collaborative role in this journey of mind and spirit. Grimaud, 44, is a fascinating artist, who has recorded both Brahms concertos for Deutsche Grammophon. Another disc with cellist Sol Gabetta was recently nominated for a 2014 Grammy Award. When she's not communicating at the keyboard, she communes with wolves at a conservation center that she co-founded in Westchester County, N.Y. She has been a regular visitor to Music Hall, and has toured with the Cincinnati Symphony. Grimaud's technical prowess is undisputed, but now there is a new artistry to her playing.