Hlne Grimaud ~ Brahms - Piano Pieces Op. 116-119

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Customer Reviews:

  • Wonderful and moving
    This is one of my top 2 favorite CDs from Ms. Grimaud. I really wish I could hear her perform a recital of this disc. It's great, I don't know of many recordings for these works. Too bad Brendel won't record them, that would be fun to hear. Anyway, Grimaud's playing on this disc really made me take notice of Brahms' music more than ever before, so I must thank her for this. These works from Brahms are some of the most persona;/intimate masterpieces ever written for solo piano, and that intimacy comes across very well in this recording. Much better than Grimaud's Beethoven recordings....more info
  • Grimaud plays Brahms
    My title says it -- Grimaud is an extraordinary pianist, but more, a discerning and gutsy musician. She listens; Brahms is Brahms, not, as far as i can tell, Grimaud; likewise the other composers she champions. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED....more info
  • Excellent
    This album is simply excellent. Helene Grimaud's interpretation is very intense, and at the same time the pianist seems extremely concentrated on what she is doing, and knows perpectly well what these late-Brahms pieces are about. Even with such a strong personality - which makes her playing quite easily recognisable - she is still faithful to the score.
    Highly recommended....more info
  • Brahms Helene Grimaud
    Helene Grimaud is a French pianist that one should not overlook. From her style, to her knowledge of Brahms is amazing, so it is no surprise that her favorite composers are Brahms, Beethoven and Bach. The three B's.

    Prior to this recording, I really don't think much of Brahms; Bach, Beethoven and some modern composers are much easier to listen to.

    On this CD, Helene plays all four intermezzi, and my perception on Brahms is forever changed.

    My personal favorites are Opus 116/2, 117/2, 118/2 and finally 118/5. The staccato on the base octaves are simply sublime. Helene's technique is wonderful. She is also very beautiful. She acts part-time as a fashion model. Her latest ad is with Montblanc, the pen company. One can see her image posting allover Europe, even in Florenza or Milano's Duomo. Her ticket are all sold out for her recitals throughout the world, for the entire 2009. The naysayers will hate her.

    The rest of the intermezzi are very very good, really worth listening to.

    The Capriccios are too loud, which leads to some reviewers said she is over-reaching. Yes, she can be too loud as well.

    But the above mentioned intermezzi are sentimentally sensitive, lovingly romantic, and representing her love of Brahms and people.

    She came from a very good background. Went to the Paris Conservatory, then Georg Bolet, and her best friend Martha Agerich, coached her in depth on how to play Brahms, her training is impeccable. Her love of Brahms shows through this CD.

    The other intermezzi are very very good, but not as sensitive compare with the above favorite four pieces.

    The loud, but not thrashing pieces are 117/3, 119/2, 119/3, 119/4. Yet the recording are good enough so that each and every note can be heard, even on your computer. I don't hear any slurring.

    I bought the recording to listening to my four favorite intermezzi. I enjoy the rest of the intermezzi as well, but cannot appreciate the very fast and loud Op 117/10, 118/2,3,4.

    Yes, Helene and I are very good and close friends, but that doesn't skew my judgement.

    I'd still highly recommend this CD to you....more info
  • That poor piano
    She just bashes the piano. It is actually hard to listen to me. Sometimes she plays soooo fast that you cannot hear all of the notes, while sometimes she plays so slow you lose a sense of rythm.

    I would Highly recommend Jon Nakamatsu's Recording over these. He does an absolutely amazing job.

    ...more info
  • Who cares if the music's good or not, buy it for the album cover
    Why? Cause HELENE IS A HOTTIE! Anyone got her address? I need to FedEx a marriage proposal!...more info
  • Cincinnati Symphony Concert 2007 Brahms - Helene's CD LIve!!
    Spectacular Spectacular!.

    Helen present is smiling, hair pulled back in a pony tail, healthy, vibrant, a muse in her world. Agile magical fingers, translate emotions to sounds that stir feelings and images alike. Mindscapes are flowing beyond the speed of light into mythical, archetypal worlds. I feel the audience is under the spell of a siren. A siren with a golden heart!

    Spectacular turns to magical and magical is felt very deeply inside
    The loud applause brings me into here and now where I see something even more magical.

    Tears fill my eyes.
    I feel extremely privileged to be part of a numinous moment...more info
  • An enjoyable disk with a lot of music on it.
    I purchased this disc on a leap of faith. I have since not been dissatisfied in the least by this disc. In fact this recording has beome a favorite of mine. I do not claim great knowledge of pianists' interpretative abilities. I can only say that I purchased this disc because it seemed to be the only one I could find on which the Fantasien, Itermezzi, and Klavierstucke (Opus 116, 117, 118, and 119) were available on one disc.

    I find the music to be richly recorded but not overbearing. I enjoy Ms. Grimaud's playing. I have other discs with some of the pieces on this recording. I find that this recording compares favorably with these others in my collection. I would recommend this disc to another purchaser without reservation....more info

  • Never gets to the heart and soul
    I have to agree with the other reviewers who express reservations about Grimaud's getting to the bottom of this music, despite all the rubato, all the thrashing at the keyboard. Rather than enhancing this music, I heard all the Big Romanticism as an indication that she really doesn't know how to make these works sing on their own. Right after playing this disc I put on Julius Katchen in these same works and was amazed at the effortless, direct quality of his playing. These are really very simple pieces in the way they strike the ear. Of course, they're really not simple (certainly not techniclaly) but they are supposed to sound simple and direct. I think Grimaud miscalculates the weight each of these miniatures can bear and makes them too heavy, too overburdened. It's like playing the Brahms Second Concerto as though it were the Brahms First Concerto.

    This is the second time she has recorded at least some of these works. Her earlier go at op. 118, for Denon are cleaner, clearer and get to the core of these simple, delicate pieces. Here, as in a number of her recent recordings, I feel like she's playing all the notes but somehow missing the character of the music. It's very hard to explain, but when I hear it I can't shake it. I'd like to see more direct simplicity, and more line, direct line....more info
  • A very complex recording, certain to be controversial
    Behind the Grimaud diva-persona presented on the cover is a complex interpreter whose interesting, although by no means universally praiseworthy interpretations of late Brahms on this recording are destined to controversy.

    In a way, her ambiguous stance toward the music makes the CD a to-own, a worthy addition to the collection of connoisseurs who already own say, five recordings of all these haunting 'lullabies of sorrow'.

    But, alas, that's the problem really... there just isn't enough 'sorrow' in Grimaud's youthful soul-thrashing approach to the music, although there is a good dose of 'haunting'. She makes the Intermezzi press forward (A Major) or lean back (e minor) too much; or else glosses over moments of surreal beauty that others might dwell on.

    In spite of it all, however, I really like this recording. It has a sort of 'involved detachment' only a young French woman living in the US could pull off-- Grimaud's is a 'postmodern' and 'pan-cultural' reading of Brahms. Ego there is (we could do without THAT many breathing sounds!); but late at night in the lamplit hazes of pre-sleep, I think Helene fit to conjure the shade of Brahms, the old master, in his maturest reflections....more info