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The Messenger’s powerful message of change

Helene Grimaud photo Mat Hennek
Photo © Mat Hennek

If Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov is a remembrance of things past, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart reaches for what yet may come. This music reminds us of one of life’s great possibilities – that of change.

Listen to “The Messenger”

“I was always interested in couplings that were not predictable, in unusual combinations, because I feel as if certain pieces – even sometimes pieces by different composers – can shed a special light on to one another.” – Hélène Grimaud

The recording sessions took place at the start of this year at an historic Mozart site in Salzburg, the Great Hall of the University, where Grimaud was joined by the Camerata Salzburg. The album includes three works by Mozart: the unfinished Fantasia in D minor K 397, the famous Piano Concerto in D minor K 466 and the Fantasia in C minor K 475. Grimaud sees his use of the minor as suggestive of “confrontations with fate or destiny”. She now appreciates that there is more to his writing than Apollonian elegance and restraint, noting that it took her “many years of inner cultivation to fully recognise those burning, unpredictable currents rippling beneath the transcendental beauty”. Valentin Silvestrov’s ‘The Messenger – 1996’ offers both a response to and an echo of Mozart’s music – this idea of acknowledging and paying tribute to what has gone before is central to his art as a composer.

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