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!