GRIMAUD Reflection von Otter Salonen

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HÉLÉNE GRIMAUD
Reflection

Werke von / Works by
Clara Schumann · Robert Schumann
Johannes Brahms
Anne Sofie von Otter
Truls Mørk
Staatskapelle Dresden
Esa-Pekka Salonen
Int. Release 02 Jan. 2006
1 CD / Download
CD DDD 0289 477 5719 1 GH
Hélène Grimaud explores the music of Clara and Robert Schumann, and Brahms – in an innovative concept album


트랙리스트

Robert Schumann (1810 - 1856)
Piano Concerto in A minor, Op.54

Hélène Grimaud, Staatskapelle Dresden, Esa-Pekka Salonen

Clara Schumann (1819 - 1896)
3 Lieder, Op.12

Anne Sofie von Otter, Hélène Grimaud

6.
2:17

Hélène Grimaud, Anne Sofie von Otter

Johannes Brahms (1833 - 1897)
Sonata For Cello And Piano No.1 In E Minor, Op.38

Truls Mörk, Hélène Grimaud

2 Rhapsodies op.79

Hélène Grimaud

총 재생시간 1:19:39

. . . a vibrant new CD . . .

Hélène Grimaud presents us with a second lovingly themed gift, this time mirroring the entwined love of Robert and Clara Schumann and their adored protégé, Johannes Brahms. Sumptuously presented . . . and recorded . . . Brilliantly partnered by Esa-Pekka Salonen, who conducts with all the joy of first discovery, she launches the work with fierce authority before playing the principal theme with a rare sense of its expressivo and affetuoso character. The cadenza is a full-blooded as even the most ardent lover of the Concerto could wish . . . this is certainly among the most highly charged of Schumann piano concerto recordings. She is no less bold and impassioned partnering Anne Sofie von Otter, an ideal match for a singer whose intensity and vision leave you in no doubt that Clara was a more-than-gifted composer as well as a great pianist. Grimaud ends with Brahms's . . . two Op 79 Rhapsodies, playing with thrilling immediacy in the first and a welcome grandeur in the second . . . This is an exceptional disc, highlighting a young pianist who, imperiously and audaciously, lives for the moment.

Love is the "leitmotiv". Very classy.

The disc finds the French pianist at her visionary best. It opens with a passionate yet unsentimental performance of Schumann's Piano Concerto conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen that ranks among the finest ever recorded. Anne Sofie von Otter is the soloist
in a turbulent group of Clara's songs, while Truls Mork joins Grimaud for a powerful version of Brahms's First Cello Sonata. The album closes with Grimaud playing Brahms's Op 79 Rhapsodies, another overwhelming performance that captures the composer's shattering isolation as well as his deep affection for his best friend's wife. A truly great achievement, this is unmissable.

. . . all is well. Grimaud's playing in the concerto is impulsive, basking in rubato. One thinks of Martha Argerich -- fitting enough in a piece with such a passionate, headlong trajectory. The succulent sounds of the Staatskapelle Dresden, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, dovetail pretty well, and are captured in Dresden's Lukaskirche in an attractive, warm acoustic.

Grimaud's tribute to the mutual love between Robert and Clara Schumann and Brahms is a delight. Starting in beguiling fashion with a warm, reflective account of Mr Schumann's Piano Concerto . . . Anne Sofie von Otter sings Clara's Liebesfrühling Lieder, she and Grimaud are equal partners, each firing the other's inspiration.

. . . Hélène Grimaud presents us with a second lovingly themed gift, this time mirroring the entwined love of Robert and Clara Schumann and their adored protégé, Johannes Brahms . . . Grimaud's performance of Robert's Piano Concerto is a superbly bracing riposte to more indulgent and sentimental readings. Brilliantly partnered by Esa-Pekka Salonen, who conducts with all the joy of first discovery, she launches the work with fierce authority before playing the principal theme with a rare sense of its expressivo and affetuoso character. The cadenza is as full-blooded as even the most ardent lover of the Concerto could wish . . . this is certainly among the most highly charged of Schumann piano concerto recordings. She is no less bold and impassioned partnering Anne Sofie von Otter, an ideal match for a singer whose intensity and vision leave you in no doubt that Clara was a more-than-gifted composer as well as a great pianist. Grimaud ends with Brahms's brief return to his early drama and heroics in his two op. 79 Rhapsodies, playing with thrilling immediacy in the first and a welcome grandeur in the second. But before that she joins Truls Mork in the E minor Cello Sonata, where you get an almost palpable sense of the artists lifting each other to heights they might find hard to achieve alone. Few performances on record have a more robust eloquence and fervour. This is an exceptional disc, highlighting a young pianist who, imperiously and audaciously, lives for the moment.

Hélène Grimaud delivers Schumann with natural virtuosity

. . . even if her Schumann Concerto had come out on its own . . . I'd still strongly recommend it. From her first two forte chords it is clear this is going to be something special. Every single phrase, change of mood or colour, sounds as though it has been lovingly rediscovered . . . all credit to Salonen for his part in that . . . This new disc also has three beautiful renditions of three very impressive songs by Clara Schumann . . . this new release is definite worth the investment for the Schumanns.

Two marvellous songs by Clara Schumann setting poems by Rückert are sung with resonant commitment by Anne Sofie von Otter, and very stirring they are too . . . The Brahms E minor Cello Sonata is a work that has been recorded by generations of great cellists and pianists, but this new performance by Truls Mork and Grimaud is particularly rich in passion and drive. The first movement is very impressive . . . The second movement is done as a slightly gawky rustic dance and works extremely well as such. The finale can be less successful in the hands of two less completely committed artists, but here it is compelling, with the dialogue between the two instrumentalists creating truly stirring results. Grimaud is someone whose Brahms-playing has been long admired . . . and she and Mork have a real sense of Brahmsian phrasing . . . an exceptional performance . . .

A fiery yet sensitive account of Schumann's piano concerto . . . With the Norwegian cellist Truls Mork. Grimaud trenchantly delivers the Brahms E minor sonata, then rounds the disc off grandly with Brahms's formidable B minor and G minor rhapsodies.

This fresh approach -- feisty and emphatic yet with no lack of introspection and heartfelt expression -- is welcome . . . The recording is vivid and fulsome . . . two settings of Rückert (alternately passionate and intimate) and then one to words by Wilhelm Gerhard brings another ardent outpouring. Anne Sofie von Otter delivers typical identification and Grimaud is demonstrative and sensitive by turns . . . the reproduction given to Truls Mork whose depth of tone and intense phrasing makes much of Brahms's E minor Sonata for cello and piano: the duo designation is deliberate, for Mork and Grimaud are a true partnership in this strongly emotional interpretation, perfectly balanced; sparks fly.

. . . a passionate take on Robert Schumann's piano concerto followed by some sweet songs by Clara Schumann and Brahm's E Minor Cello Sonata and muscular Rhapsodies. Grimaud is accompanied by a set of excellent guests . . . The group has collaborated on a bright, enjoyable disc . . .

. . . the almost 80-minute program is varied and fascinating. Robert's popular, stunning A minor Piano Concerto is played by Grimaud with romantic abandon but little sentiment; when it is showy, it comes from the music itself and is not an affectation. The first movement is filled with poetic vs. dramatic contrasts; there is a subtle but noble transition on piano and winds from the gently presented second movement to the springy, dramatically energetic third. Esa-Pekka Salonen is the remarkable conductor of the superb Staatskapelle Dresden . . . Brahms's Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 1 in E minor is given a strong but lyrical and well-balanced reading by Grimaud and cellist Truls Mørk; both play with passion. Brahms's two Rhapsodies for piano complete the program; Grimaud gathers the darkness of the second and gives a fervent performance. What a beautiful CD!

. . . the performance here achieves a nearly ecstatic identification with the composer's own lofty expressive ideals. Esa-Pekka Salonen's meticulous direction of the Dresden Staatskapelle creates a perfect foil for Grimaud; there's a fine balance between surging passion and formal discipline, between the two sides of Schumann's personality -- Florestan and Eusebius, as he called them. Three ravishing songs by Clara Schumann follow, sung by Anne Sofie von Otter with a rapt lyricism matching Grimaud's . . . As played with full, dark tone by Truls Mork, with Grimaud as a true partner, not just an accompanist, Brahms's First Cello Sonata supplies a melancholy introversion to contrast with Schumann's effusiveness. And when the spotlight finally shines solely on Grimaud in Brahms's Two Rhapsodies, Op. 79, the pianist's palpable emotional and physical involvement makes for a glorious summation of the album's journey -- and even of the entire Romantic century that spawned this rich variety of music.

Everybody is in top form, especially in Clara's songs, which have never sounded more distinguished.

. . . the success of the performances is unquestionable . . . Grimaud brings her characteristic electricity to every moment she touches, but finds strange, demonic highlights in the concerto¿s potentially innocuous second movement. She also accompanies Truls Mork with large, billowing gestrues in the Brahms cello sonata, better revealing its youthful ardor and melancholy. Everybody is in top form, especially in Clara¿s songs, which have never sounded more distingushed.

On her new recording, "Reflection," Hélène Grimaud carefully considers the music of Robert and Clara Schumann and their faithful friend, Johannes Brahms. She explores how their unique relationship resonates in their music, and through her heart-felt performance she gives us every reason to explore that intimate connection as well.

Clara Schumann's composing is represented by three fascinatingly tuneful songs, sung with a burning, womanly grace by Anne Sofie von Otter. Brahms' First Cello Sonata ¿ one of the masterpieces of Romanticism ¿ comes across almost feverishly in the hands of Truls Mork and Grimaud, a rush of sound as pure feeling. Grimaud's way with the ebb and flow of Brahms' Two Rhapsodies (Op. 79) is characteristically headlong, concerned more with incisive poetry than surface prettiness. Grimaud has made the ideal sort of classical album, in which technique blurs seamlessly into emotion.

. . . Robert Schumann's Piano Concerto -- which he wrote for his wife, Clara -- is the big item here, a perpetual concert favorite that Grimaud manages to give a freshly intense sound . . . The orchestral playing, from the dark-hued Dresden ensemble, could hardly be richer. Clara Schumann's composing is represented by three fascinatingly tuneful songs, sung with a burning, womanly grace by Anne Sofie von Otter. Brahms' First Cello Sonata -- one of the masterpieces of Romanticism -- comes across almost feverishly in the hands of Truls Mork and Grimaud, a rush of sound as pure feeling. Grimaud's way with the ebb and flow of Brahms' Two Rhapsodies (Op. 79) is characteristically headlong, concerned more with incisive poetry than surface prettiness. Grimaud has made the ideal sort of classical album, in which technique blurs seamlessly into emotion.

Ms. Grimaud is clean, sweeping, and often rippling . . . Mr. Salonen makes a stylish, sensible partner . . . Following the concerto, Ms. Grimaud plays three songs of Clara Schumann. That is, she accompanies Anne Sofie von Otter, the great Swedish mezzo, in them. Ms. von Otter sings with her usual intelligence, tastefulness, and beauty. Ms. Grimaud does well too, contributing the stormy, rhapsodic playing that she's especially good at. Next? A Brahms cello-and-piano sonata, in which Ms. Grimaud is joined by the impressive Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk. They make a good duo, producing strong, heartfelt, technically attentive Brahms . . . Last, Ms. Grimaud plays the two Brahms Rhapsodies, Op. 79. I have said that she can play rhapsodically -- and there's plenty of opportunity for that in rhapsodies. This is an unusual album -- and a commendable one . . .

This is an unusual album ¿ and a commendable one . . .

. . . a tough, independent-minded pianist of the highest caliber, and this new collection ¿ entitled "Reflection" ¿ is, if anything, even better. The thematic core is "love". But those looking for easy sentiment should seek elsewhere, for Grimaud sees love as "a revelation understood as feverish", and the performances here are feverish indeed . . . these works are presented as energetic, boldly articulated, rhythmically vital surges of passion. Even the middle movement of the Concerto, for all its ravishing curves, has strong undercurrents; and I doubt you've heard the finale of the Brahms Sonata played more ardently . . . every one of these performances is, on its own, absolutely compelling . . . Grimaud is blessed with exceptional partners . . . Mørk's churning Brahms is especially thrilling. The sound on my pre-production CD was excellent, too. In a word, treasurable.

. . . the almost 80-minute program is varied and fascinating. Robert's popular, stunning A minor Piano Concerto is played by Grimaud with romantic abandon but little sentiment . . . The first movement is filled with poetic vs. dramatic contrasts; there is a subtle but noble transition on piano and winds from the gently presented second movement to the springy, dramatically energetic third. Esa-Pekka Salonen is the remarkable conductor of the superb Staatskapelle Dresden . . . Brahms's Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 1 in E minor is given a strong but lyrical and well-balanced reading by Grimaud and cellist Truls Mørk; both play with passion. Grimaud . . . gives a fervent performance. What a beautiful CD!

In the past few years . . . she's turned into one of the most challenging keyboard artists of her generation . . . the disc exhibits her playing, with its fusion of detail and impulse, at its most magnetic.

Kraftvoll und stürmisch -- Hélène Grimaud auf ihrer neuen CD . . . "Reflection" markiert eine neue Stufe in Grimauds pianistischer Entwicklung . . . Das wird schon in den ersten Takten deutlich: Mit sicherer Hand lässt die Pianistin die Eingangsakkorde des ersten Satzes in den Raum donnern, aus denen sie dann eine empfindsame musikalische Erzählung fortspinnt. Die emotionalen Höhen und Tiefen dieses vielleicht romantischsten aller Klavierkonzerte werden von Grimaud leidenschaftlich und einfühlend ausgelotet. Im Andantino noch graziös, bisweilen kokett, erreicht ihre Interpretationskunst im furiosen Finale bislang unerkannte Höhen und macht den legendären Aufnahmen etwa Lipattis oder Brendels Konkurrenz. Wenn sie das euphorische, angriffslustige Hauptmotiv pathetisch, mit souveräner Technik in die ersterbende Stille des zweiten Satzes schmettert und dann durchvariiert, merkt man: Diese Frau lebt mit, ja in der Musik.

Ihr Musizieren klingt jetzt, ohne zu nivellieren, wie aus einem Guss. Es entwickelt sich frei und organisch, die Musik wird farbig, differenziert und unforciert dargelegt . . . eine sensibel vielschichtige und sympatisch eigenständige Interpretation des wahrlich nicht leicht aufzuführenden Werkes. Die folgenden drei Clara-Schumann-Lieder, die frühe Cellosonate op. 38 und die beiden Rhapsodien op. 79 von Brahms runden das Bild glänzend genug ab. Insgesamt eine Veröffentlichung, die durch die Verbindung der zeitlos gültigen Tugend stilgerechten Musizierens mit einem unkonventionellen Programm erfreulich aus dem Angebot herausragt.

Da wird einfach prächtig musiziert.

Roberts Klavierkonzert spielt Hélène Grimaud mit derselben jugendbewegten Emphase wie vor zehn Jahren unter David Zinman, doch in den Temposchüben organischer und dank der besseren Klangqualität mit reicherer Farbpalette. Die dialogischen Momente mit dem Orchester sind schön ausgehört, und Esa-Pekka Salonen dirigiert die Dresdner Staatskapelle sehr anpassungsfähig . . . Grimaud geht mit einem an Martha Argerich erinnernden, manchmal schon wütigen Engagement zur Sache . . .

Hélène Grimaud und ihre Musizierpartner gestalten grosszügig und veweben die Stimmen mit Verve.

Sie selbst, das ist ihr Spiel, ein Spiel voller Poesie, das sich in schönster Weise in ihrer neuen CD "Reflection" manifestiert . . . In allen Einspielungen gehen Energie und Empfindsamkeit Hand in Hand.

Ihr Musizieren entwickelt sich frei und organisch, die Musik wird farbig und unforciert dargelegt. Durch ihren natürlichen Spielimpuls gelingt es Grimaud sogar, im Einklang mit der ungezwungen korrespondierenden Dresdner Staatskapelle unter Esa-Pekka Salonen alle alteingeschliffenen Routine-Gesten vergessen zu machen . . . eine sensibel vielschichtige und sympathisch eigenständige Interpretation . . . [Die drei Clara-Schumann-Lieder, die Cellosonate und die beiden Rhapsodien von Brahms] runden das Bild glänzend genug ab. Insgesamt eine Veröffentlichung, die durch die Verbindung der zeitlos gültigen Tugend stilgerechten Musizierens mit einem unkonventionellen Programm erfreulich aus dem Angebot herausragt.

Elle signe une version à la fois épurée et effervescente du Concerto pour piano de Schumann, et la Sonate pour violoncelle no 1 de Brahms. Des émotions pures qui disent l'attraction des corps et le désir d'adhérer au monde.

On devine une intelligence hors normes, presque agaçante . . . Hélène Grimaud s'y dévoile en effet beaucoup plus que de coutume. Plus libre, plus sensible, plus expressive, plus tendre, plus chaleureuse . . . la pianiste aux loups qui pensait la moindre note se laisse enfin porter par l'émotion de la musique. On succombe.

La sortie d'un nouveau Grimaud est un événement . . . Un Concerto rendu à son jaillissement, ses couleurs de printemps, ses phrasés chambriste, mais également a sa profondeur, sa poésie de l'ineffable. L'osmose d'un orchestre souple et rayonnant avec une candeur mozartienne, d'un chef méticuleux et puissamment musical, et d'une soliste connectée à l'univers. Pour compléter cette nouvelle démonstration de piano souverain d'articulation, Grimaud a choisi des "lieder" de Clara Schumann, chanté par la mezzo suédoise Anne Sofie von Otter, puis une sonate et deux rhapsodies de Brahms, ave le violoncelliste norvégien Truls Mork.

. . . Grimaud busca ante todo una interpretación nítida, en la que establece un diálogo transparente con las diversas secciones de la orquesta, a las que Salonen pone de relieve con exquisita progresión, logrando un clímax poético constante . . . El timbre luminoso de Von Otter, la naturalidad de su emisión y su cuidado fraseo procuran una interpretación primorosa

... Anne Sofie von Otter ... liederista siempre refinada y elegante. ... unas rapsodias Op. 79 en la que Grimaud está en su elemento, poderosa, vehemente y dominadora, haciéndonos recordar a su admirada Marta Argerich; ... una prueba más de la eminente categoría brahmsiana de esta pianista.




Préface à Hélène Grimaud

À propos “Reflection”

L’amour, dans un sens absolu, n’existe pas. C’est toujours un jeu entre un «toi» et un «moi», entre deux êtres que la passion révèle dans leur unicité. Aimer, dans ce sens précis, c’est pouvoir se déployer selon les lois de l’existence qui nous est la plus propre. De là vient que l’amour – ni le cri de la souffrance extrême, ni le pressentiment de la joie parfaite, mais une révélation qu’on dirait fiévreuse – est bien l’expérience spirituelle la plus puissante, la modalité de connaissance la plus profonde, le dégagement, dans l’expérience, d’une transparence de l’être qu’il s’agit de garder devant soi comme le bout du chemin, aussi labyrinthique et brisé d’orages soit-il. Aimer, dès lors, qu’est-ce sinon s’ouvrir à une plénitude que le désir contient et renouvelle avec le monde; et, à travers cette ouverture, permettre à l’infini rêvé de s’incarner dans le fini d’un être qu’on élit?

«Je veux que tu sois» – cette parole est celle de l’amour, telle que Robert Schumann, Clara Schumann et Johannes Brahms l’ont prononcé, dans leurs œuvres, chacun l’un pour l’autre. Robert voulait que son épouse fût elle-même musique, comme Clara voulut que Johannes fût musique lui aussi, et que ce dernier permit à ses deux amis d’être tels qu’ils nous demeurent à travers leurs notes, dans leur intensité – preuve d’une histoire d’amour qui aura été singulière, comme toutes les histoires qui veulent conquérir un absolu, et l’atteignent. À leur façon, ces musiciens, dont l’espace intérieur fut celui d’un risque vertigineux, nous font entendre que l’amour est un don infaillible, la liberté la plus intime de l’un vis-à-vis de l’autre. Une loi dont Rilke a livré le secret dans son Requiem:

Car telle est la faute, s’il y a faute de quoi que ce soit: ne pas augmenter la liberté de l’aimé de toute la liberté qu’on trouve en soi. Nous n’avons, quand nous aimons, à nous tenir qu’à cela seul: nous laisser être l’un l’autre…

Dissolution dans les notes

Elle aime le moment où les notes n’ont plus de message concret et ne représentent plus des mots ou des théories, mais sont simplement musique. Pour Hélène Grimaud, la clef est la transcendance. L’événement véritable dans son jeu est la dissolution dans les notes. Tout devient possible pour elle dans le son, même l’amour: un état d’existence sans questions. C’est peut-être l’une des raisons pour lesquelles Hélène Grimaud aime tant parler de Robert et de Clara Schumann, de la rencontre entre le compositeur plus âgé et l’élève pianiste beaucoup plus jeune, de leur amour et de leur lutte commune pour trouver de nouvelles sonorités, et la fin déchirante de leur mariage quand l’esprit du compositeur s’embruma. Et elle aime aussi parler de l’amitié entre les Schumann et leur jeune admirateur, Johannes Brahms. Pour Hélène Grimaud, la vraie langue de ce trio était la musique. Le son était leur espace de vie. Il y régnait ce que la pianiste appelle «l’éternel champ de tension entre l’amour, la mort et la transcendance».

Hélène Grimaud s’est lentement rapprochée de ce trio exceptionnel de musiciens, cherchant la zone grise entre les touches blanches et noires: «Le germe est le monde musical qui a jailli entre Robert et Clara Schumann. Entre eux, ils ont conçu une musique en tant qu’espace pour l’esprit. Un monde d’imagination. C’est le monde dans lequel ils pouvaient vivre, aimer et lutter.» C’est en musique que Robert et Clara Schumann débattaient d’une réalité qui était souvent loin d’être simple. Ils travaillaient à leurs partitions, épuisés non seulement par eux-mêmes mais par tout le reste du monde. «Le résultat de cette friction entre esprit et réalité, dit Hélène Grimaud, est la musique incroyable qui nous est parvenue.»

Lorsque Hélène Grimaud s’asseoit au piano, la musique émerge quelque part entre ses mains, entre son austère main gauche et sa délicate main droite, et le son vient directement de son ventre – et aussi de sa tête. La pianiste crée l’espace pour le grandiose Concerto pour piano de Robert Schumann et pour les lieder microcosmiques du Liebesfrühling, que Robert et Clara mirent en musique peu de temps après leur mariage. Elle plonge dans les profondeurs des Rhapsodies de Brahms et dans les complexités raffinées de sa Sonate pour violoncelle. Sous ses doigts jaillissent des mondes d’évidences: «Ce sont des espaces pour les petites choses, pour les questions secondaires dont naît le cosmos musical», dit Hélène Grimaud.

Ce qui compte pour elle n’est pas le pathos ampoulé, mais les nuances qui disparaissent dans la mélancolie existentielle ou la légèreté céleste: «La plupart des œuvres commencent par une lutte avec le corps qui se dissout dans la musique et devient esprit. Il s’agit ensuite d’emporter le corps avec soi dans ce monde nouveau – et de voir qu’il est soudain capable de choses impossibles dans la vie réelle: voler, planer, être en apesanteur.» Le jeu d’Hélène Grimaud est toujours un équilibre entre le spirituel et le physique, entre la pensée et le corps.

Lorsque Hélène Grimaud s’enthousiasme pour la musique éthérée de Robert Schumann, elle fait penser à Clara Wieck, qui, comme la pianiste française, fut une enfant prodige. Hélène Grimaud avait treize ans lorsqu’elle fut admise au Conservatoire de Paris et qu’elle devint la plus jeune élève de la classe de Pierre Barbizet. C’est avec Daniel Barenboim qu’elle se produisit pour la première fois en concert. Robert Schumann étudia avec le père de Clara. Lorsque celle-ci avait treize ans, il se blessa la main et écrivit à Clara: «Tu es maintenant ma main droite.» Cette main droite allait guider son existence, interprétant, commentant et diffusant sa musique. Leur mariage donna naissance à huit enfants. Et ils firent la connaissance de Johannes Brahms, jeune pianiste et compositeur qui admirait les Schumann et qui partagea sa musique avec eux.

Brahms envoyait ses œuvres à Clara Schumann et la soutint quand Robert sombra dans la folie. Elle fut la muse et l’interprète des œuvres des deux hommes. Novatrice intelligente, source d’inspiration et défenseur de l’héritage de son mari – en cela aussi, elle ressemble à Hélène Grimaud. Comme Clara Schumann, Hélène Grimaud est un penseur qui aimerait surtout penser qu’elle préférerait ne pas penser du tout. À de tels moments, elle s’asseoit au piano et se dissout dans la musique – qui pour elle est l’espace de la transcendance.



Foreword by Hélène Grimaud


About "Reflection"

Love, in an absolute sense, does not exist. It is always a dynamic between a "you" and a "me", between two beings that passion reveals in their uniqueness. In this exact sense, love means being able to open up one's self according to the laws of existence as they are given to us. From this we see that love - not a cry of extreme suffering, nor a premonition of perfect joy, but a revelation perceived as feverish - is actually the most spiritual experience, the deepest form of knowledge, the revealing, through experience, of a transparency of being that one must keep before one's self like the end of the path, no matter how labyrinthine and storm-filled it is. What does "to love" mean then, if not to open oneself to a bliss that desire contains and renews with the world: and through this opening, to allow a dreamt-of infinity to incarnate in the finite space of a being one has chosen?

"I want you to be" - this phrase is that of love, like the love that Robert Schumann, Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms expressed for each other in their music. Robert wanted his wife herself to be music, just as Clara wanted Johannes to be music also - and as in turn Brahms enabled his two friends to be as they appear to us in their notes and intensity. This is the proof of a love story that will have been unique, like all stories that want to conquer an absolute and attain it. In their way, these musicians, whose inner space was one of vertiginous peril, allow us to understand that love is an infallible gift, the most intimate freedom that one may have towards another. A law whose secret was revealed by Rilke in his Requiem:

For this is the fault, if fault there is:Not to expand the freedom of a loved oneWith all the inner freedom one can summon.We need, in love, to follow only this:Letting each other be . . .

Dissolving in notes

She loves the moment at which notes no longer have a concrete message and no longer represent words or theories but are simply music. For Hélène Grimaud , the key is transcendence. The real occurrence in her playing is dissolving in notes. Everything becomes possible for her in sound, even love: a state of unquestioning existence. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Hélène Grimaud is so fond of talking about Robert and Clara Schumann, about the encounter between the older composer and the much younger student of the piano, about their love and common struggle to find new sounds and the harrowing end of their marriage when the composer's mind clouded over. And she also likes talking about the friendship between the Schumanns and their young admirer, Johannes Brahms. For Grimaud, the true language of this triumvirate was music. Sound was their Lebensraum. Within it there reigned what the pianist calls "the eternal field of tension between love, death and transcendence".

Hélène Grimaud has slowly felt her way towards this exceptional trio of musicians, seeking out the grey area between the black and white notes: "The germ cell is the musical world that arose between Robert and Clara Schumann. Between them, they created music as a space for the spirit. A world of imagination. This is the world in which they were able to live, love and fight." It was in music that Robert and Clara Schumann argued over a reality that was often far from straightforward. They slaved away at the lines of their music, worn down not only by themselves but also by the rest of the world. "The result of this friction between spirit and reality", says Hélène Grimaud, "is the incredible music that has come down to us."

When Hélène Grimaud sits down at the piano, the music emerges somewhere between her hands, between her austere left hand and her delicate right hand, and the sound then comes straight from her belly - and also from her head. Hélène Grimaud creates the space for Robert Schumann's grand Piano Concerto and for the microcosmic Liebesfrühling songs that Robert and Clara set shortly after their wedding. She plunges into the depths of Brahms's Rhapsodies and into the delicate complexities of the same composer's Cello Sonata. Beneath her hands worlds of self-evident truths arise: "They are spaces for the small things, for the side issues from which the musical cosmos arises", says Hélène Grimaud.
What matters for her is not the self-important bombast but the nuances that fade away in existential wistfulness or celestial lightness: "Most works start with a struggle with the body that dissolves in the music and becomes spirit. It is then a question of taking the body with you into this new world - and of seeing that it can suddenly achieve things that are impossible in real life: flying, hovering, weightlessness." Grimaud's playing is always a balancing act between spirit and physicality, between ideas and corporeality.

When Grimaud enthuses over Robert Schumann's ethereal music, she sounds like Clara Wieck, who, like the French pianist, was a child prodigy. Hélène Grimaud was thirteen when she enrolled at the Paris Conservatoire as the youngest student in Pierre Barbizet's class. It was Daniel Barenboim who introduced her to the concert platform. Robert Schumann studied with Clara's father. When she was thirteen, he injured his hand and wrote to Clara: "You are now my right hand." This right hand was to manage his life for him, interpreting, commenting on and disseminating his music. Their marriage produced eight children. And they also got to know Johannes Brahms, a young pianist and composer who admired the Schumanns and who shared his music with them.

Brahms sent his works to Clara Schumann and supported her when Robert went mad. She was the muse and interpreter of both men's works. An intelligent innovator, a source of inspiration and a champion of her husband's posthumous legacy - in this, too, she resembles Hélène Grimaud. Like Clara Schumann, Grimaud is a thinker who most of all likes to think that she would prefer not to think at all. At such moments she sits down at the piano and dissolves in music - music which for her is all about transcendence.