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Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F / Ravel: Piano Concerto in G

George Gershwin , Maurice Ravel , David Zinman , Baltimore Symphony Orchestra , Helene Grimaud Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Frequently Bought Together

Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F / Ravel: Piano Concerto in G + Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 / Piano Sonatas Nos. 30 & 31, Opp. 58, 109, 110 + Bach
Price for all three: $51.21

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Product Details

  • Performer: Helene Grimaud
  • Orchestra: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: David Zinman
  • Composer: George Gershwin, Maurice Ravel
  • Audio CD (November 25, 1997)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Erato
  • ASIN: B000005E5M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,071 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Piano Concerto In F Major: Allegro
2. Piano Concerto In F Major: Adagio - Andante con moto
3. Piano Concerto In G Major: Allegro agitato
4. Piano Concerto In G Major: Allegramente
5. Piano Concerto In G Major: Allegro assai
6. Piano Concerto In G Major: Presto

Editorial Reviews

This is one class act. Helene Grimaud generally prefers the heavy-duty German repertoire and has fought hard not to be typecast as a dainty "French" female pianist. Nevertheless she has expressed a certain affection for selected French and non-Germanic works, which is a good thing for us because this is the best performance of the Gershwin concerto we are ever likely to hear. It has style, warmth, and bravura to spare. In fact, everyone concerned treats it like it's the greatest piece of music in the world, and the same positives apply to the Ravel. --David Hurwitz

Product Description

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite good but not the absolute best March 22, 2000
Well... this isn't likely to be a 'popular' review, but it will be honest. First let me say that Helene Grimaud is simply the best pianist I've ever heard recorded. I have her Brahms recordings and find her sense of expression, control of dynamics, and most importantly, warmth, unmatched by any other at the instrument. (The only way to get warmer would be to play the Intermezzi, for example, on a Boesendorfer Imperial...but that's another issue.)
In this PARTICULAR recording however, I don't really like what I hear, although the playing is still admirable. The trouble is that Grimaud seems to lack her characteristic dramatic gusto and 'big sound'-- something necessary for playing Brahms. Perhaps she found this mode of playing unsuited to the Gershwin and Ravel-- Ravel, I can understand... that half of the recording is 4 1/2 stars certainly. The Gershwin is more about 3 stars. Zinman and his orchestra outshine Grimaud-- partially Gerswhin's "fault" since his orchestration is so damn coloristic and exciting. Grimaud sounds as if she's playing down at even th big fortes... this might be an acoustic balance problem too. I also find her under tempo-- I understand that for 'modern' recordings it's the in thing to slow down the repertoire and bask in the glorious clarity of the recording... but, if you listen to Gershwin's own interpretation or, better still, OSCAR LEVANT's top-notch interp. of the Concerto, you'll see that Gershwin and his entourage very consciously brushed over notes, used A LOT of rubato, and whizzed through the movements like showoffs. That's the 'jazz spirit' of the piece... Even the slow movement is quite a bit faster in Levant with very tasteful rubato and swing.
So, I guess I'm saying...
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate "Romantic" Gershwin and Ravel! April 3, 2006
Helene Grimaud's performance of the Gershwin Piano Concerto with the Baltimore Symphony conducted by David Zinman is the ultimate "Romantic" performance of this work, unlike the "jazzy" approach most people are used to in this concerto. Grimaud brings out the lyrical and melodic elements of the score, making it more tuneful and memorable than other recordings. By "Romantic" I mean both romantic in its usual sense as well as being in the vein of nineteenth century classical music (the Romantic era in music). The concerto sounds less brash and modernist and more like a traditional piano concerto from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century, albeit with a uniquely American or "Gershwin" sound! This "Romantic" approach to the concerto does not, however, come at the expense of excitement: Zinman effectively controls the orchestra, allowing it to build to climaxes of great physical excitement and Grimaud lets loose with fiery playing when it's called for.

Grimaud's playing is certainly not tentative or signifying her discomfort with the jazz elements of the work, as some reviewers here suggested. Her playing is quite deliberate and a quick listen to her super-fast and virtuosic last movement (as well as the first and third movements of the Ravel) reveals her ability to play quite comfortably at faster tempos. Her delicate entry into the first and second movements of the Gershwin are a deliberate effort to reclaim this work as a genuine "classical" piano concerto. Her approach succeeds in this endeavor, making this work a true piano/orchestral "classic", not just a jazzy crossover attempt by a composer only known for non-classical works.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
If you're interested in hearing more of Grimaud's playing then buy this CD. However, her performances of the Gershwin and Ravel concerti aren't definitive. Indeed, her playing of Gershwin seems tentative, as though she admits her lack of comfort with playing jazz music or her unfamiliarity with Gershwin's music. She is almost immediately overshadowed by Zinman's energetic conducting and the vibrant performance he yields from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Much more successful is her fine performance of Ravel's Piano Concerto, which is as good as her earlier Denon recording with Lopez-Cobos conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. If you're interested in hearing her splendid playing of Ravel's music, along with Rachmaninov's, then you might be better off buying her earlier CD instead.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Performances July 19, 2007
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I became interested in this recording from reading "The Collection" in the June 2007 Gramophone. In the article by Jeremy Nicholas, after comparing 30 recordings of Gershwin's Piano concerto, selected this one as his best performance. I first heard Gershwin's concerto played by Earl Wild and the Boston Pops but my favorite has always been the recording made by Oscar Levant and Andre Kostelanetz. This recording differs from other recordings of the concerto by playing the work as a Romantic piano concerto instead of playing up the jazz elements. The concerto was adapted for jazz band by Ferde Grofe, who did the orchestration of Rhapsody in Blue but with his concerto Gershwin was writing within a classical structure rather than the free-form of a rhapsody.

Rather than push the jazz elements this performance by Helene Grimaud and David Zinman takes a less hurried approach, particularly in the first movement. The slower tempos allow more focus on the classical structure; there is no over-emphasis just the musical colors that Gershwin wrote. The slow movement is laid-back with the blues element of the music beautifully played. Here Ms. Grimaud matches the mood of the orchestra with very smooth playing, lingering over the phrases. The Finale is fast and furious with a marvelous rolling of the gong at the end.

The Ravel Concerto is a nice pairing with the Gershwin, especially since they met and admired each other's music. Like the Gershwin, Ravel's Piano Concerto is performed at an easy tempo bringing out the colors of the score. Ms. Grimaud is fantastic throughout and delivers an excellent performance and David Zinman has great sensitivity for the score.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful performance, great technique and fine performance
I wish I could see Helene Grimaud in performance. Short of that I play this CD with my eyes closed in a quiet room as the performance is a thrilling experience.
Published 28 days ago by Daniel J. McGarigle
5.0 out of 5 stars Ravishingly beautiful music
This is an especially beautiful performance of one of the 20th century's greatest pieces of music. Ms. Grimaud is an artist of amazing sensitivity.
Published 7 months ago by Robin Swados
5.0 out of 5 stars The best
The second movement of the Ravel is mesmerizing!!! You will become obsessed with it! Especially the duet between the piano and the English horn!!! Read more
Published 12 months ago by Thomas G. Steffens
5.0 out of 5 stars Well played
This is a great recording of great music. Both the Gershwin and Ravel were perfectly executed by pianist and orchestra.
Published 13 months ago by Liam C
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gershwin concerto is resolved perfectly; the Ravel is...
There's a delightful sense of ebullience about this CD, which pairs two works that straddle the fence between jazz and classical. Read more
Published on September 5, 2011 by Santa Fe Listener
4.0 out of 5 stars Sensational Orchestra, Entertaining Concert
Sensational playing by the orchestra in both concertos. Sound balance favors the orchestra, spectacularly so in the Gershwin. Read more
Published on July 12, 2011 by lebvendors
5.0 out of 5 stars Grimaud at her Best, Gershwin & Ravel at their best !
Helene Grimaud is wonderful with her rendition of Gershwin and Ravel. The artists' would be proud and pleased of her interpetion of their works. Read more
Published on March 14, 1999
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