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#524306 - 02/08/08 07:55 PM helene grimaud in sf this weekend
gpiu Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/30/07
Posts: 80
Loc: sf bay area
Ms. Grimaud will be playing Bartok with the sf symphony tonight and tomorrow night. I've only heard a couple of recordings by her. Has anyone listened to her during a live performance and recommend attending

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#524307 - 02/08/08 08:02 PM Re: helene grimaud in sf this weekend
J. Mark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 1323
There are live performances on Youtube. She was in NYC last week. Here's a review:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/05/arts/m...serland&emc=rss

A quote:

"Ms. Grimaud is a frequent presence in New York, and if she plays as well as she did on Sunday, audiences will not tire of her. She makes a big, vivid sound; has fine control of Beethoven’s spectacular virtuoso effects; and is good at patiently building climaxes over long stretches of phrase."

I was not there. Tickets were mostly sold out by the time I tried. I won't miss her next time. I have several of her CD's, and they are very good, but I somehow imagine live performances are where she really shines.

I just started her book today. I was actually somewhat surprised at how much it immediately drew me in. Very poetic prose, while also deeply personal, and not overly dramatic. She's a good writer, as well as a great pianist.

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#524308 - 02/08/08 09:10 PM Re: helene grimaud in sf this weekend
Emanuel Ravelli Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 687
Loc: Virginia
I heard her at the Kennedy Center a couple of years back playing the Bartok 3rd. If that's the Bartok she's playing on your program, you're in for a treat if you go. She had a strong, marked attack for the sharp folk rhythms in the piece; the "Night Music" section in the 2nd movement was pure magic -- you could almost see the frogs, crickets and birds Bartok was trying to evoke; and the finale roared along like a well-tuned race car, with the chromatic octave run at the end finishing at precisely the same moment as the orchestra. It also did nothing to detract from my enjoyment that she's drop dead gorgeous. I'd buy a ticket.
_________________________
Phil Bjorlo

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#524309 - 02/09/08 06:59 PM Re: helene grimaud in sf this weekend
gpiu Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/30/07
Posts: 80
Loc: sf bay area
Many thanks to both of you for the feedback. I'll plan on attending this evening, and will post comments on the performance.

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#524310 - 02/09/08 07:47 PM Re: helene grimaud in sf this weekend
Auntie Lynn Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 1122
Loc: San Francisco, CA
I am going tonight. Her reviews were grim, to put it as politely as I can. Also on the program is Shosty 6, which got raves...

Plus Ligeti...

More later...

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#524311 - 02/09/08 07:57 PM Re: helene grimaud in sf this weekend
BB Player Online   content


Registered: 11/17/06
Posts: 2717
Loc: Not in Texas
Taken from the S.F. Chronicle's review of the concert:

The evening's only weak spot came in the middle, with a dull, clattery account of Bartók's Third Piano Concerto featuring soloist Hélène Grimaud. This is the most overtly ingratiating of the composer's three concertos, and Grimaud contributed a few gentle blandishments in the first movement, but most of the performance was raucous and unrefined.

I'll be interested in hearing your thoughts on her performance Auntie Lynn and gpiu.
_________________________
Greg

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#524312 - 02/09/08 08:04 PM Re: helene grimaud in sf this weekend
J. Mark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 1323
I read a review somewhere that was critical of her. It said something like "she is not a delicate player." Hm. Listening to her play Brahms Intermezzo 117, I could disagree with that.

But I recently bought a whole pile of her CD's, and I can see the point. She is quite ... strident? at times. I don't know much about piano players, but for some reason it reminded me a bit of Horowitz. I never really liked Horowitz (at least what I have heard, which is not much). But I will say, after the third or fourth listen to these CD's, they are starting to grow on me.

I too will be interested to hear the reviews.

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#524313 - 02/10/08 07:50 AM Re: helene grimaud in sf this weekend
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1711
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
Hmm, I've only heard Grimaud via her recordings, and I could see why some may consider her "strident." However, I find that she has only a modest amount of that particular quality when compared to, say, Kovacevich (such as his complete Beethoven sonata cycle on EMI) or even the aforementioned Horowitz.

I think any mixed/negative reviews of her performance of Bartok's Third Concerto may be partly due to the fact that it is a relatively longstanding tradition to play this particular work in a lyrical, almost self-effacing manner. The fact that she might've been more earthy in her playing probably turned off quite a few people (in the same way that some people were turned off by the Zehetmair/Bruggen recording of Beethoven's Violin Concerto). However, I myself would probably find this approach refreshing, and the work (especially its last movement) could certainly take some earthiness.

In any case, I've heard nothing but good to excellent reviews (like this one) of Grimaud's recording of the concerto with Boulez (DG), so I really do wonder.

But enough of my ramblings. Let's hear from those who attended the concert -- and don't forget the other works on the program!
_________________________
Die Krebs gehn zurcke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.

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#524314 - 02/10/08 09:44 AM Re: helene grimaud in sf this weekend
Auntie Lynn Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 1122
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Well, I thought she was great! She looked like a million in a black faille and satin halter jumpsuit which was probably a Gaultier knock-off if not the real thing - and a pair of Chanel suede ankle boots with silver clusters. If she's been ailing for whatever reason, it sure didn't show.

Anyway, it's true, the Shosty was the drop-dead event of the evening - whatta fab piece - I suspect the reason it's not heard more often is it's so hard to play...the scherzo runs into a presto and had the orchestra gasping and flipping pages like mad...

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#524315 - 02/10/08 10:40 AM Re: helene grimaud in sf this weekend
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13812
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Interesting that Auntie Lynn's praises only address her fashion sense and not her playing. \:\(
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#524316 - 02/10/08 04:39 PM Re: helene grimaud in sf this weekend
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1711
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
Yeah, please tell us of Grimaud's interpretation of the Bartok. Did it reflect the previous reviews?
_________________________
Die Krebs gehn zurcke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.

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#524317 - 02/10/08 04:56 PM Re: helene grimaud in sf this weekend
J. Mark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 1323
Actually, I'd like to hear more about how she looked. \:\)

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#524318 - 02/10/08 04:58 PM Re: helene grimaud in sf this weekend
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1711
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
Sheesh, this is disheartening. You're probably at least half-joking, J. Mark, but if you're serious, I wonder whether you should change your signature.
_________________________
Die Krebs gehn zurcke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.

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#524319 - 02/11/08 01:03 AM Re: helene grimaud in sf this weekend
DDS24P&FOP87 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/07
Posts: 374
_________________________
She was with me even in my grave
When the last of my friends turned away,
And she sang like the first storm heaven gave.
Or as if flowers were having their say.

- Anna Akhmatova, "Music"(Dedicated to Dmitri Shostakovich)

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#524320 - 02/11/08 02:03 AM Re: helene grimaud in sf this weekend
Secondo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 312
Loc: Seattle, Washington
J. Mark you are funny!
_________________________
Baldwin SF-10 320152, Marshall & Wendell, Steinway B

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#524321 - 02/11/08 02:08 AM Re: helene grimaud in sf this weekend
Secondo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 312
Loc: Seattle, Washington
Raucous and unrefined? Oh my.
_________________________
Baldwin SF-10 320152, Marshall & Wendell, Steinway B

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#524322 - 02/11/08 06:51 PM Re: helene grimaud in sf this weekend
gpiu Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/30/07
Posts: 80
Loc: sf bay area
I attended the event on saturday evening. Unfortunately, I ended up having a set in the orchestra level on the very 1st row, which made for very poor acoustics.

Must say I was underwhelmed with her playing. At times, especially in the 3rd movement it seemed she did not produce enough sonority to keep up with the orchestra. It seemed she was playing with very little arm weight. I could clearly hear the violins and cellos at either side of her. It almost seemed as if the piano was behind the orchestra.

The 2nd movement was the highlight of the concerto. If I closed my eyes, she could at times create the spell of a pastoral setting, but could not seem to mantain it completely through the section.

Although in general it was a competent performance, IMHO it did not deserve the rousing standing ovation it received. The overall sense was the she was playing 'safely'.

Unfortunately, I was stuck in traffic and missed the Ligetti, but the Shostakovich was by far the highlight of the evening. I had never heard it live before and made it well worth it to make a trip to the city.

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#524323 - 02/11/08 06:54 PM Re: helene grimaud in sf this weekend
gpiu Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/30/07
Posts: 80
Loc: sf bay area
I attended the event on saturday evening. Unfortunately, I ended up having a set in the orchestra level on the very 1st row, which made for very poor acoustics.

Must say I was underwhelmed with her playing. At times, especially in the 3rd movement it seemed she did not produce enough sonority to keep up with the orchestra. It seemed she was playing with very little arm weight. I could clearly hear the violins and cellos at either side of her. It almost seemed as if the piano was behind the orchestra.

The 2nd movement was the highlight of the concerto. If I closed my eyes, she could at times create the spell of a pastoral setting, but could not seem to mantain it completely through the section.

Although in general it was a competent performance, IMHO it did not deserve the rousing standing ovation it received. The overall sense was the she was playing 'safely'.

Unfortunately, I was stuck in traffic and missed the Ligetti, but the Shostakovich was by far the highlight of the evening. I had never heard it live before and made it well worth it to make a trip to the city.

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#524324 - 02/12/08 11:27 AM Re: helene grimaud in sf this weekend
DDS24P&FOP87 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/07
Posts: 374
gpiu -

Thanks for your review. I would have loved to have been at the concert for the Shostakovich.
_________________________
She was with me even in my grave
When the last of my friends turned away,
And she sang like the first storm heaven gave.
Or as if flowers were having their say.

- Anna Akhmatova, "Music"(Dedicated to Dmitri Shostakovich)

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#524325 - 02/12/08 02:07 PM Re: helene grimaud in sf this weekend
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8926
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by DDS24P&FOP87:
I would have loved to have been at the concert for the Shostakovich.
Aye, one of my favourite works from a composer I have rather mixed feelings about. Had I been in the Bay Area, the presence of that work on the program would have been the deciding factor in attending the concert.

So about Ms. Grimaud...
_________________________
Jason

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#524326 - 02/12/08 04:22 PM Re: helene grimaud in sf this weekend
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7978
 Quote:
Originally posted by gpiu:
I attended the event on saturday evening. Unfortunately, I ended up having a set in the orchestra level on the very 1st row, which made for very poor acoustics.
[/b]
I've had the experience many times in that hall of feeling the piano soloist in a concerto was just not making enough sound to through the orchestra. It's almost as if there's a sort of acoustic Bermuda Triangle right where the instrument is placed. But it may also partly be a side effect of listening to too many concerto recordings where the piano soloist was artificially forward in the mix, and so my expectations are out of kilter.

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