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Brahms: Piano Concerto No.1 ~ Grimaud

Johannes Brahms , Kurt Sanderling , Staatskapelle Berlin , Hélène Grimaud Audio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Intense, romantic music-making from the world’s most captivating pianist


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“This is one of the most intriguing yet bewildering recitals I have encountered in a long time. At her fines Hélène Grimaud is a truly remarkable artist capable of transcending the piano’s essentially percussive nature to create magical worlds of tonal half-lights and ecstatic vocal ... Read more in Amazon's Hélène Grimaud Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Brahms: Piano Concerto No.1 ~ Grimaud + Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 / Piano Sonatas Nos. 30 & 31, Opp. 58, 109, 110 + Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2
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Product Details

  • Performer: Hélène Grimaud
  • Orchestra: Staatskapelle Berlin
  • Conductor: Kurt Sanderling
  • Composer: Johannes Brahms
  • Audio CD (May 5, 1998)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Erato
  • ASIN: B000006CS6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,817 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 15 In D Minor: Maestoso
2. Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 15 In D Minor: Adagio
3. Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 15 In D Minor: Rondo - Allegro non troppo
4. Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 15 In D Minor: Applause

Editorial Reviews

Wow! This is one hell of a performance! Grimaud has fought hard during her career not to be typecast as a "French" pianist doomed to spend her life playing cute little concertos by Saint-Saëns and keyboard fluff by Satie, and with this performance she really throws down the gauntlet. This is as classically Germanic a performance as you're likely to hear: rock solid, moderate tempos, a gorgeously modulated piano sonority, and a view of the music that perfectly balances passion with classical discipline. She is helped in no small measure by Sanderling, one of the great Brahms conductors of our day, and also by a live recording that catches the whole inspirational event on the wing. This is one of the great ones, make no mistake. --David Hurwitz

Product Description

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive and satisfying performance. September 12, 2000
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This performance reveals a side of Brahms' 1st Piano Concerto that one does not normally hear. Most performances present the first movement as very stormy and bombastic, albeit beautifully so. Grimaud and Sanderling, however, take a somewhat slower tempo than most and, in doing so, reveal moments of lyrical tenderness that one is not used to hearing -- yet with no loss of grandeur. The second movement is appropriately lyrical but not excessively slow and the finale presents a stirring conclusion to a highly satisfying performance. Clearly Grimaud is a pianist whose work is worth following.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Piano Playing October 17, 2006
Format:Audio CD
Among my 17 versions of this concerto (including the two of Arrau, Kovacevich and Weissenberg) this ranks among the best of the crop. Unfortunately, the timpany and horn parts are way too subdued, but Grimaud's superb interpretation compensates for that. The slow tempi don't bother me. They remind me of Richter-Haaser's memorable performances of both Brahms concerti reflecting the weighty character of the piece. I recently heard Grimaud playing the concerto live with Ashkenazy conducting. The tempos were faster, baut that does not take away anything from this CD. The performance was as memorable as those live performances of Curzon, Arrau and Richter-Haaser. Grimaud is an impressive Brahms interpreter, perhaps the most outstanding one since since Julius Katchen.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not just "another" interpretation December 20, 2007
By laroja
Format:Audio CD
With a handful of top notch pianists, both young and old each hashing through this highly complex concerto piece, one asks, why Grimaud? If we leave the beauty of her lyricism, her strength and her artistry aside, one can not help but be in awe of her instinctive understanding of Brahms as a composer. What I find even more fascinating with this recording is that the Pianist, born and raised in France, seems to understand German music, perhaps the Germanic sound expressionism far better than her counterpart- the German orchestra itself.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must have for your collection February 11, 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
If you like Brahms and/or just like piano repertoire, this d-minor masterpiece is a must have. And Ms. Grimaud's recording deserves to be heard as well. My favorite recording of this work so far is Alfred Brendel's. Leif Ove Andsnes has a wonderful recording as well. Be warned, some people complain that Grimaud's tempo for the 1st movement is too slow (alsmot as slow as glenn gould's infamous performance with leonard bernstein as conductor). If I could play the Brahm's concerto myself, I wouldn't play it as slow as Grimaud, but she still pulls it off very convincingly and passionately.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A revelatory performance. December 31, 2001
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This recording reveals a tragic grandeur of the concerto that
seems to have escaped other performers. The broad tempo of the
first movement seems just right for this purpose, and there is
an admirable gravity to Ms. Grimaud's playing. Would people one
day talk about this performance in the same hushed tone as
Richter's 1958 performance of Pictures at an Exhibition?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable probing account of the great D-Minor Concerto November 28, 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This powerhouse of a concerto can withstand a number of approaches, given its combination of drama and lyricism. Ms. Grimaud has taken it on with the objective of exploring its more hidden treasures. It's rare for a record collector of 35 years to hear a fresh approach to such a classic (i've heard Serkin/Szell; Fleisher/Szell; Kovacevich/Sawallisch; Cliburn/Leinsdorf and Gilels/Boehm and found great value in the approach of each, but this recording, made in performance in Berlin's Schauspielhaus is something quite special. In her jacket notes, she states her understanding of the piece as a response on Brahms' part to the incredible drama he faced at the loss of his best friend and mentor Robert Schumann to due mental illness (likely he was bi-polar) and his eventual death. This explains the intense craggy drama of the opening movement followed by the lovely resignation of the slow movement and the restored life-affirmation of the finale. There is likely a great deal of the composer's fondness for Clara Schumann in the slow movement. His unrequited love for her shows itself in a number of his piano works, not least of all the opus 119 pieces.

She takes, like Gilels and Gould, an extremely slow tempo in the first movement, balancing its dramatic and lyric elements beautifully while allowing the conductor, Sanderling, the opportunity to distinguish various inner voices and explore various instrumental balances and sonorities in long held passages and chords. The recording balance is amazingly good for an "in-performance" recording. The orchestra which serves in the pit of the Berlin Staatsoper is well accustomed to providing accompaniment, playing with a smooth blended sound that while not quite up to the high standard of the Berlin Philharmonic will still do quite nicely.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic June 5, 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This was an inspired artistic interpretation - I was particularly blown away by the 3rd movement - Grimaud is always true to the piece yet unique
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Grimaud is fine, but Sanderling is dead at the switch August 27, 2006
Format:Audio CD
Only one reviewer below notices what would grab any listener's attention immediately--the snali's pace of Sanderling's first movement. Brahms wrote a long orchestral introduction, but here we must wade through molasses for 4:15 min. before Grimaud enters, and when she does, I hear good but hardly revelatory pianism. In fact, compared to Sanderling's heavy lifting, she seems out of synch with her reserved entrance. However, Grimaud is no keyboard banger, and despite the slow crawl she's able to really perform. I'm afraid I got so tired of the thunderous plodding all around her that I wasn't able to appreciate all her points.

Actually, I was surprised to find that Grimaud's tempos are only 3 min. slower than average in the first movement, 2 min. in the second, and 2 min. in the third, but that's a lot in a work as broad to begin with as the Brahms First. Her Adagio is forceful rather than lyrical, in keeping with her determinaiton not to sound lady-like. Here she's closer to Claudio Arrau than to any other femaile virtuoso. The most conventional movement is the finale, which she and Sanderling seem to agree upon--they match each other in rhythmic bounce and cheerfulness, which makes for an agreeable time and earned my respect far more than what preceded.

In all, I can see why this Gallic powerhouse has a fan club, but I'll wait for other examples of her skill that aren't so hampered by the conducting.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
02-15-2014 Helene Grimaud is a beautiful young French lady with a passion for wolves un, (the four-legged kinds, that is---L.O.L.) and a passion for Brahms. Read more
Published 7 months ago by TONY L. ENGLETON C.N.M.T.
5.0 out of 5 stars The best recording of Brahms Piano Concerto #1
To my ears, this is the most riveting recording of the Brahms first piano concerto. The performance is richly textured and unmatched in the emotion and drama and power that she and... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Heather Gornik
5.0 out of 5 stars Brahms: Piano Concerto No.1 ~ Grimaud
Brahms: Piano Concerto No.1 ~ Grimaud is a 1998 Erato Disques recording starring pianist Helene Grimaud. Kurt Sanderling leads the Staatskapelle Berlin. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Bjorn Viberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Grimaud at her best
Helene Grimaud, a young pianist, merits serious consideration as a fine interpreter of Brahms. This recording with the legendary Kurt Sanderling conducting the Berlin Staatskapelle... Read more
Published on April 12, 2001 by John Kwok
3.0 out of 5 stars Cotton buds for all the other reviewers of this CD methinks.
Before I start commenting on the playing, I'll mention that this CD has a mere four tracks, one of which is allocated to applause. Read more
Published on November 25, 2000 by Mireille Wastwater
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