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Piano Concerto No.4 (Grimaud, Nypo, Masur)

Beethoven Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £14.47 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Nov 1999)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Teldec
  • ASIN: B00001SIBN
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 226,223 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Piano Concerto No.4 In G Major, Op.58: Allegro moderato
2. Piano Concerto No. 4 In G Major, Op.58: Andante con moto
3. Piano Concerto No.4 In G Major, Op.58: Rondo - Vivace
4. Piano Sonata In E Major, Op. 109: Vivace, Ma Non Troppo
5. Piano Sonata In E Major, Op.109: Prestissimo
6. Piano Sonata In E Major, Op. 109: Andante Molto Cantabile Ed Espressivo: Gesangvoll, Mit Innigster Empfindung
7. Piano Sonata In A Flat Major, Op. 110: Moderato Cantabile Molto Espressivo
8. Piano Sonata In A Flat Major, Op.110: Allegro molto
9. Piano Sanata In A Flat Major, Op.110: Adagio Ma Non Troppo. Fuga : Allegro Ma Non Troppo

Product Description


Helene Grimaud's Beethoven collection proves, once again, that she may be the finest soloist of her generation. As poetic in many passages as she is brilliant in others, the pianist provides a live reading of the celebrated No. 4 that holds its own with any in the catalogue. Grimaud's mind is a palace--she moves through the score with the complete fluency of Beethoven's spirit, performing the material as if it were written yesterday. The opening five bars of the "Allegro Moderato" are not viewed as a mere prelude--Grimaud knows that the success of the entire concerto can hinge on the precise balance of the composer's rhythmic and melodic elements. Masur follows with a full-scale orchestral tutti, engaging our interest until the pianist returns with her crystal line. At no time does she substitute herself for the author--for Grimaud, Beethoven's text is natural and clear. In the concluding "Rondo", the soloist explodes across the staves with a totality suggesting the endless possibilities of the score. Both of the late sonatas are lovingly rendered, though the E Major Sonata (Op. 109) creates the strongest impression. Consider the sempre legato in the opening exposition, the concentrated sonata form of the fiery "Prestissimo" (Grimaud is particularly strong in the second group recapitulation), or the quiet spirituality conveyed in the theme-and-variations ("Andante molto Cantabile"). Throughout the programme, the pianist plays as if she fully understands what Beethoven meant when wrote that "it's impossible to leave the world until I've brought forth all that is in me ... Providence, grant me but one day of pure joy." In this recording, Grimaud grants the listener one full hour of the pure joy Beethoven was referring to. This is a masterpiece. --Kevin Mulhall

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Graham Mummery TOP 1000 REVIEWER
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Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto remains one of the best loved works in the Piano Concerto repertoire. Less dramatic and more lyrical than its brilliant successor the "Emperor," it has a charm and intimacy to it that make some prefer it. It's first movement starting, unusually, on the piano instead of orchestra sets listeners a question that seems to be answered here. Beethoven moves from being a "classical" composer and successor to Mozart into Romanticism. This continues in the second movement, where the piano "tames" and an angry orchestra, before the final joyous movement.

Helene Grimaud is a brilliant, visionary pianist, In my view one of the best of her generation, a successor to Martha Argerich, who is also and individualist as her autobiography Wild Harmonies: A Life of Music and Wolves amply demonstrates, with an empathy for wolves. There is a photograph of the pianist in the notes for this CD, presumably photographed at her sanctuary for this animal.

For skeptics of her, this is an ideal disk to acquaint themselves with this brilliant artist. The opening of the fourth concerto begins in a searching manner, and is sympathetically accompanied by the New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur. Masur, to my mind is often an able but uninspiring conductor. Not so here. His musicianship is subtle and eloquent perhaps inspired by the soloist who had never been so insightful as here. Until now my favorite recording of the work has been Wilhelm Kempff with Leitner (see Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos.4 & 5) but this is stiff competition.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Beethoven 4th Piano Concerto 13 April 2001
By John Kwok - Published on Amazon.com
Helene Grimaud is a French pianist who plays as though she was German. Her warm, lyrical playing reminds me of Arrau's and Kempff's. with a bit of Brendel's intelligence thrown in for good measure. In yet another fine recording, she shows that she can play Beethoven as well as the great German pianists I've mentioned. I can't help but wonder what a complete Beethoven concerto cycle with Masur and the New York Philharmonic would sound like. This sublime, well-engineered recording of Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto is a tantalizing glimpse. Her fine technique harnesses her rich emotions, which she lets loose at appropriate moments, such as the rousing rondo (third movement), never once missing a note. And this fine version of the 4th Piano Concerto is coupled with two of Beethoven's last three sonatas; these are also tantalizing glimpses into what a Helene Grimaud Beethoven piano sonata cycle would sound like. Unlike the noted French pianist Pommier who plays Beethoven's music as though it was composed by Haydn or Mozart, hers would be a lyrical Romantic tour de force.
Speaking of Masur and the New York Philharmonic, they are fine, unassuming accompanists. Their performance has to rank as one of the best they've given on behalf of an accomplished soloist like Ms. Grimaud (Only their collaboration with violinist Maxim Vengerov on Teldec's recently released recording of Dvorak's Violin Concerto might be better.). Once more, this has to rank as among the highlights of Masur's tenure as music director of The New York Philharmonic.
Within the liner notes are a notes describing Ms. Grimaud's devotion towards wolves. Animal lovers of all kinds will be delighted. I commend her keen understanding of the wolf's importance as a key player in forest ecosystems around the globe, especially here in North America. Regarding her devotion towards music and wolves, I can only say je vous aime!
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joyful & Visionary 25 Oct 2002
By music fan, amman, jordan - Published on Amazon.com
Utterly compelling account of this most beautiful music. Grimaud plays with profound insight of the sort encountered in Gould's Bach or Malcuzynski's Chopin. The sonatas are a revelation, songful, unsentimentally lyrical and rhythmically perfect. The Op 109 Andante is a stunning illustration of the depth and beauty of the rendition, as indeed is everything on this disc. Perhaps Grimaud's impact will mostly be felt in Beethoven.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars regardless of the pretty face - a commanding performance 31 Jan 2001
By Yonatan Glaubman - Published on Amazon.com
I have listened to this piece on my cart radio for the first time, and was completely taken by it, having not known the existence of a pretty face behind the piano. The thing about Beethoven for me is the dualism between the compelling and the commanding. One needs to have both faculties at full capacity in order to penetrate the sheer cliffs that are interpreting a Beethoven. HG's way of handling this rough terrain is by means of tempo and pressure. Her stamina in the second movement, and the way she explodes with just the right amount of control in the third is a true triumph. Highly recommended
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! A masterpiece of expression and skill. 22 Sep 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Helene Grimaud has mastered this Beethoven concerto with unusual and rare skill. The first notes, the introduction to the first movement, are played with the precision and emotion that Beethoven must have intended. The cadenza in the first movement is the longer, more difficult one and is played without any flaw--a small miracle given the live recording. The last movement is done with the same feeling as the first--quite a challenge given its rapid rhythm and flourish of notes. But Helene succeeds at this challenge with gusto and artistry.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good performances of great music. 6 Sep 2000
By D. R. Schryer - Published on Amazon.com
The 4th is my favorite of Beethoven's 5 piano concertos. I have loved it since I first heard it over 40 years ago and find this performance of it delightful. For some unknown reason I find that lesser-known pianists -- such as Grimaud currently is -- sometimes capture this concerto's exquisite subtlety and lyricism better than many big-name stars do.
The two piano sonatas are also played quite well. Sonata No. 31 (Opus 110) is a particular favorite of mine and I've never heard it played better.
Helene Grimaud is a very interesting and unique artist. For one thing she is quite pretty; for another she raises wolves. More important, in her teens she dropped out of the Paris Conservatory for a while because she wanted to concentrate on practicing substantial repertoire pieces rather than the lessons assigned by her conservatory teachers. Grimaud's individualistic approach seems to be working: she appears to be on the verge of a substantial career. If you haven't heard this fascinating young pianist yet, this CD would be a good place to start.
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