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Tour de force

© Mat Hennek / DG
© Mat Hennek / DG

Following the hugely successful launch of Hélène Grimaud’s new recording of Brahms piano concertos, the French pianist has taken to the road again to perform Brahms in key cities around the world.

Most recently Hélène performed in London with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Hannu Lintu (replacing Andris Nelsons at the last minute due to illness). “Hers was a magisterial account of the First Piano Concerto” wrote The Times: “her sheer physical strength was focused enough to take on an entire orchestra — which is nothing less than this work demands. Robust rubato, rigorous rhythm, and that slightly staggered interplay between hands which gives breadth and truly Brahmsian style, contributed to a performance of superb mental and physical control. A revelatory evening, then, of fierce energies and hallowed spaces.”

“This was a tour de force of color, symphonic and pianistic” wrote which praised “Grimaud’s range of tone, from the delicate, celestial points of light in the slow movement to the most violent, ferocious shouting of the finale and first movement”

Next month Hélène Grimaud joins the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons for further performances of the 1st piano concerto in Düsseldorf (9 November) and Munich (11 November) before traveling to Japan for concerts in Tokyo (19 & 20 November) and Kitakyushu (23 November). From Japan it’s on to the States and performances of the 2nd piano concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin in both Philadelphia (5, 7 and 8 December) and New York (6 December).

Meanwhile the new 2CD release of the Brahms concertos is receiving equally glowing reviews. Germany’s Bavarian Radio commented: “Anyone who experienced the live concert of the D minor concerto in Munich’s Hercules Hall last year with Hélène Grimaud and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons, should be delighted with their reunion on this CD as it was unquestionably a pianistic and orchestral finest hour … their distinctive energetic and sparklingly clear inter-play, with compelling phrasing and lyrical intensity is impressive throughout.”