Discussion:
Helene Grimaud Rachmaninov
(too old to reply)
Dan Koren
2005-03-15 06:58:23 UTC
Permalink
I dropped Helene Grimaud from my auto-buy list
following her mediocre Beethoven PC4 and op.110,
and Rachmaninov Paganini Rhapsody and Corelli
Variations.

Last night at Tower I came across her new Chopin
and Rachmaninov B-flat sonatas CD. Rachmaninov's
2nd Sonata was Grimaud's debut recording, and a
remarkable (if not outstanding) performance for
a 16-year old. She has an obvious affinity for
this music (or at least so she thinks), so I
decided to give her the benefit of doubt and
bought the CD.

What a mistake!

The Chopin Sonata gets a perfunctory, auto-pilot
interpretation that one would reasonably expect
from any Juilliard student these days -- and
with better technique.

Rachmaninov fares a little better: she does at
least show some enthusiasm for the music -- but
not much more unfortunately. It is not as good a
performance as her debut recording. The second
movement sounds utterly mechanical. Technically
she sounds terribly strained in the 3rd movement.

The sound is an example of DG piano recording at
its very worst. Very closely recorded and with an
artificially inflated bass register -- probably to
make up for the lack of weight and fullness in her
tone, and with an overly bright and shrill treble.

For fillers, two of the most square and wooden
traversals of the Berceuse and the Barcarolle.

What a waste of $18! (at least one can be happy
some of it goes to the wolves!).

Now she moves to the auto-pass list -- forever.

Needless to say, the jacket would make a fine
cover for Marie-Claire. Maybe she'll start a
duo with Ali Wood. Someone who loves wolves so
much must be able to find a soft spot in her
heart for dingoes.



dk
Alex
2005-03-15 10:48:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan Koren
I dropped Helene Grimaud from my auto-buy list
following her mediocre Beethoven PC4 and op.110,
and Rachmaninov Paganini Rhapsody and Corelli
Variations.
Last night at Tower I came across her new Chopin
and Rachmaninov B-flat sonatas CD. Rachmaninov's
2nd Sonata was Grimaud's debut recording, and a
remarkable (if not outstanding) performance for
a 16-year old. She has an obvious affinity for
this music (or at least so she thinks), so I
decided to give her the benefit of doubt and
bought the CD.
What a mistake!
The Chopin Sonata gets a perfunctory, auto-pilot
interpretation that one would reasonably expect
from any Juilliard student these days -- and
with better technique.
Rachmaninov fares a little better: she does at
least show some enthusiasm for the music -- but
not much more unfortunately. It is not as good a
performance as her debut recording. The second
movement sounds utterly mechanical. Technically
she sounds terribly strained in the 3rd movement.
The sound is an example of DG piano recording at
its very worst. Very closely recorded and with an
artificially inflated bass register -- probably to
make up for the lack of weight and fullness in her
tone, and with an overly bright and shrill treble.
For fillers, two of the most square and wooden
traversals of the Berceuse and the Barcarolle.
What a waste of $18! (at least one can be happy
some of it goes to the wolves!).
Now she moves to the auto-pass list -- forever.
Needless to say, the jacket would make a fine
cover for Marie-Claire. Maybe she'll start a
duo with Ali Wood. Someone who loves wolves so
much must be able to find a soft spot in her
heart for dingoes.
I'll pass on this also (short measure and I can't imagine her surpassing
Kocsis among recentish versions in the Rachmaninov Sonata, and it's some
hybrid edition rather than the better earlier one) but her later Rach Second
Concerto is actually my favourite in modern sound, not least because of the
idiomatic accompaniment by Ashkenazy conducting the Philharmonia.
sidoze
2005-03-15 13:20:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan Koren
The Chopin Sonata gets a perfunctory, auto-pilot
interpretation that one would reasonably expect
from any Juilliard student these days -- and
with better technique.
So much for Hurwitz's highly favourable review :)
Paul Ilechko
2005-03-15 13:43:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by sidoze
Post by Dan Koren
The Chopin Sonata gets a perfunctory, auto-pilot
interpretation that one would reasonably expect
from any Juilliard student these days -- and
with better technique.
So much for Hurwitz's highly favourable review :)
You're taking Koren's word as gospel these days?
Bob Lombard
2005-03-15 15:00:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Ilechko
Post by sidoze
Post by Dan Koren
The Chopin Sonata gets a perfunctory, auto-pilot
interpretation that one would reasonably expect
from any Juilliard student these days -- and
with better technique.
So much for Hurwitz's highly favourable review :)
You're taking Koren's word as gospel these days?
I find it useful to mentally place a 'tends toward' before Dan's often
black-and-white evaluations. This restores the necessary aura of
subjectivity, and makes the Hurwitz - Koren disagreement at least
theoretically plausible.

bl



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sidoze
2005-03-15 16:56:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Ilechko
You're taking Koren's word as gospel these days?
Consider it more a meeting of similar tastes, at least lately. At a
concert a month ago I heard her play almost the exact same progarmme as
on this CD, and again I'd agree with Dan here. Or maybe they just
played the CD through the speakers at the hall? :)
Tom Deacon
2005-03-15 16:51:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Ilechko
Post by sidoze
Post by Dan Koren
The Chopin Sonata gets a perfunctory, auto-pilot
interpretation that one would reasonably expect
from any Juilliard student these days -- and
with better technique.
So much for Hurwitz's highly favourable review :)
You're taking Koren's word as gospel these days?
Over Hurwitz?

You have to be joshing.

Even on a bad day, I would suggest. At least you know Koren's prejudices.
Hurwitz's are murky, but there, nonetheless.

TD
a***@att.net
2005-03-15 20:01:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Paul Ilechko
Post by sidoze
Post by Dan Koren
The Chopin Sonata gets a perfunctory, auto-pilot
interpretation that one would reasonably expect
from any Juilliard student these days -- and
with better technique.
So much for Hurwitz's highly favourable review :)
You're taking Koren's word as gospel these days?
I NEVER take dk's word on anything, especially about pianos but he is
sure right about the "Wolf Lady"..... her debut recording was
outstanding but everything since then has been downhill (as I have said
before a number of times)

AB
David Hurwitz
2005-03-15 16:19:37 UTC
Permalink
In article <***@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>, sidoze
says...
Post by sidoze
Post by Dan Koren
The Chopin Sonata gets a perfunctory, auto-pilot
interpretation that one would reasonably expect
from any Juilliard student these days -- and
with better technique.
So much for Hurwitz's highly favourable review :)
I can understand Koren's negative reaction. I think I said pretty clearly that
the performances won't appeal to everyone. I found them refreshingly different
and thoughtful without being grotesque (i.e. Lang Lang's recent Rach 2), which
isn't easy in such oft-recorded repertoire, and I think her own version of the
Rach 2nd Sonata is a very effective conflation of the two editions. But like I
said, not for everyone, so I don't see why there should be any particular
conflict at all. Listen first, if you can, and make up your mind.

Dave Hurwitz
Dan Koren
2005-03-15 17:19:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Hurwitz
says...
Post by sidoze
Post by Dan Koren
The Chopin Sonata gets a perfunctory, auto-pilot
interpretation that one would reasonably expect
from any Juilliard student these days -- and
with better technique.
So much for Hurwitz's highly favourable review :)
I can understand Koren's negative reaction. I think
I said pretty clearly that the performances won't
appeal to everyone. I found them refreshingly
different and thoughtful without being grotesque
The Chopin Second Sonata is about as run of the mill
as one can imagine. What do you find "refreshingly
different"?

The Rachmaninov is pretty much on the surface too,
but played with more enthusiasm. In both works, we
hear technical limitations that put her definitely
out of the major leagues.

Come to terms with it, David: your understanding of
piano performance stops at the pedals.



dk
David Hurwitz
2005-03-15 18:15:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan Koren
Come to terms with it, David: your understanding of
piano performance stops at the pedals.
dk
Take a pill, Dan.

Dave
a***@att.net
2005-03-15 20:08:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Hurwitz
Post by Dan Koren
Come to terms with it, David: your understanding of
piano performance stops at the pedals.
dk
Take a pill, Dan.
Dave
I think that Dan meant the foot pedals of the tympani, is that right
dk??????

AB
Dan Koren
2005-03-16 00:33:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@att.net
Post by David Hurwitz
Post by Dan Koren
Come to terms with it, David: your understanding of
piano performance stops at the pedals.
Take a pill, Dan.
Dave
I think that Dan meant the foot pedals
of the tympani, is that right dk??????
Nope.

I meant the pedals of the BMW.



dk
David Hurwitz
2005-03-16 00:50:02 UTC
Permalink
This post might be inappropriate. Click to display it.
a***@aol.com
2005-03-16 02:59:52 UTC
Permalink
Could we keep the kettledrums out of this?

Please. They are old ladies and they don't understand this sort of
stuff.

Kind regards,
Alan M. Watkins
a***@att.net
2005-03-15 20:05:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by sidoze
Post by Dan Koren
The Chopin Sonata gets a perfunctory, auto-pilot
interpretation that one would reasonably expect
from any Juilliard student these days -- and
with better technique.
So much for Hurwitz's highly favourable review :)
why are you surpised.... Hurwitz is a highly literate, high class
writer of bullshit.... When are you going to accept this fact......

AB
sidoze
2005-03-15 22:18:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by a***@att.net
why are you surpised.... Hurwitz is a highly literate, high class
writer of bullshit.... When are you going to accept this fact......
When am I going to accept this? That's rather funny. You don't know a
thing about me and you're already certain that I haven't been able to
accept something or other. I guess you missed the lighter side of my
reply.
Tom Deacon
2005-03-15 16:49:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan Koren
I dropped Helene Grimaud from my auto-buy list
following her mediocre Beethoven PC4 and op.110,
and Rachmaninov Paganini Rhapsody and Corelli
Variations.
Last night at Tower I came across her new Chopin
and Rachmaninov B-flat sonatas CD. Rachmaninov's
2nd Sonata was Grimaud's debut recording, and a
remarkable (if not outstanding) performance for
a 16-year old. She has an obvious affinity for
this music (or at least so she thinks), so I
decided to give her the benefit of doubt and
bought the CD.
What a mistake!
The Chopin Sonata gets a perfunctory, auto-pilot
interpretation that one would reasonably expect
from any Juilliard student these days -- and
with better technique.
Rachmaninov fares a little better: she does at
least show some enthusiasm for the music -- but
not much more unfortunately. It is not as good a
performance as her debut recording. The second
movement sounds utterly mechanical. Technically
she sounds terribly strained in the 3rd movement.
The sound is an example of DG piano recording at
its very worst. Very closely recorded and with an
artificially inflated bass register -- probably to
make up for the lack of weight and fullness in her
tone, and with an overly bright and shrill treble.
For fillers, two of the most square and wooden
traversals of the Berceuse and the Barcarolle.
What a waste of $18! (at least one can be happy
some of it goes to the wolves!).
Now she moves to the auto-pass list -- forever.
Understandable.

I took that decision at the presentation of the very first DG album.

Evidently some are more lenient than I.

TD
Dan Koren
2005-03-15 17:21:54 UTC
Permalink
=============================================================
Post by Tom Deacon
Post by Dan Koren
Now she moves to the auto-pass list -- forever.
Understandable.
I took that decision at the presentation
of the very first DG album.
I do not have any of her DG albums. This
is the first one I tried.
Post by Tom Deacon
Evidently some are more lenient than I.
I am not lenient. I made an exception
only because the Rachmaninov was her
debut recording, thus a good tool to
measure her progress. I think she has
all gone to the wolves... ;-)



dk
Peter Lemken
2005-03-15 19:39:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan Koren
I am not lenient. I made an exception
only because the Rachmaninov was her
debut recording, thus a good tool to
measure her progress. I think she has
all gone to the wolves... ;-)
She took your advice and published a novel. Its titel is "Wolfssonate" in
German and it got rave reviews from very renowned critics.

I listened to an interview with her about that book and this young lady
seems to have lot more talents than just piano playing. I've never heard a
native French display such eloquence in English without a trace of an
accent.

She has and will have ups and downs in her playing and I guess that once
she's fed up with the star cult (and DGG) and starts playing in venues like
the ones Richter did, she'll again be a pianist to look out for.

Good looking, too ;-)

Peter Lemken
Berlin
--
Dass man den gesunden Menschenverstand ausschalten und stattdessen an
allem so lange rumdeuteln muss, bis man die böswilligst mögliche
Interpretation gefunden hat, ist ein Armutszeugnis.
Josep Vilanova
2005-03-15 19:56:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Lemken
She took your advice and published a novel. Its titel is "Wolfssonate" in
German and it got rave reviews from very renowned critics.
I listened to an interview with her about that book and this young lady
seems to have lot more talents than just piano playing. I've never heard a
native French display such eloquence in English without a trace of an
accent.
She has and will have ups and downs in her playing and I guess that once
she's fed up with the star cult (and DGG) and starts playing in venues like
the ones Richter did, she'll again be a pianist to look out for.
Good looking, too ;-)
Peter Lemken
Berlin
She's written a novel and speaks English without accent??? Now I'm really
jealous.




josep
Matthew B. Tepper
2005-03-15 20:57:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Josep Vilanova
Post by Peter Lemken
She took your advice and published a novel. Its titel is "Wolfssonate"
in German and it got rave reviews from very renowned critics.
I listened to an interview with her about that book and this young lady
seems to have lot more talents than just piano playing. I've never
heard a native French display such eloquence in English without a trace
of an accent.
She has and will have ups and downs in her playing and I guess that once
she's fed up with the star cult (and DGG) and starts playing in venues
like the ones Richter did, she'll again be a pianist to look out for.
Good looking, too ;-)
Peter Lemken
Berlin
She's written a novel and speaks English without accent??? Now I'm
really jealous.
You'll have to get past the wolves, though. And the other wolves, too.
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Take THAT, Daniel Lin, Mark Sadek, James Lin & Christopher Chung!
Owen Hartnett
2005-03-16 13:52:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matthew B. Tepper
Post by Josep Vilanova
Post by Peter Lemken
She took your advice and published a novel. Its titel is "Wolfssonate"
in German and it got rave reviews from very renowned critics.
I listened to an interview with her about that book and this young lady
seems to have lot more talents than just piano playing. I've never
heard a native French display such eloquence in English without a trace
of an accent.
She has and will have ups and downs in her playing and I guess that once
she's fed up with the star cult (and DGG) and starts playing in venues
like the ones Richter did, she'll again be a pianist to look out for.
Good looking, too ;-)
Peter Lemken
Berlin
She's written a novel and speaks English without accent??? Now I'm
really jealous.
You'll have to get past the wolves, though. And the other wolves, too.
Forget the size of my teeth, I really am your grandmother.

-Owen
Dan Koren
2005-03-16 00:42:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Lemken
Post by Dan Koren
I am not lenient. I made an exception
only because the Rachmaninov was her
debut recording, thus a good tool to
measure her progress. I think she has
all gone to the wolves... ;-)
She took your advice and published a novel.
?!?!? My advice ?!?!?

Perhaps Valery's, or her wolf husband's ;-)
Post by Peter Lemken
Its titel is "Wolfssonate" in German and it
got rave reviews from very renowned critics.
And what does it have to do with her playing?

Except perhaps she didn't practice enough while
writing it....
Post by Peter Lemken
I listened to an interview with her about
that book and this young lady seems to have
lot more talents than just piano playing.
Perhaps, but that's besides the point. I only
have access to the talents she puts on CD's.
All the others do me no good.
Post by Peter Lemken
I've never heard a native French display such
eloquence in English without a trace of an
accent.
Considering that she has been living in the US
for a long time and has an American SO, that is
a rather underwhelming accomplishment. She does
speak/read/write Russian however. That deserves
much higher credit,
Post by Peter Lemken
She has and will have ups and downs in her
playing and I guess that once she's fed up
with the star cult (and DGG)
She seems to be increasingly enjoying it too.
Post by Peter Lemken
and starts playing in venues like the ones
Richter did, she'll again be a pianist to
look out for.
She will probably have to turn into a Santa
Clara first.
Post by Peter Lemken
Good looking, too ;-)
You should have started your article with the
last line. At least it would have prepared the
audience for the rest.


dk
James Kahn
2005-03-16 01:05:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan Koren
Post by Peter Lemken
I've never heard a native French display such
eloquence in English without a trace of an
accent.
Considering that she has been living in the US
for a long time and has an American SO, that is
a rather underwhelming accomplishment. She does
speak/read/write Russian however. That deserves
much higher credit,
For what it's worth it's very difficult to speak
a second language without an accent no matter how
long you've lived where it's spoken, unless you arrived
before the age of 10 or 11. (Exhibit 1: Henry Kissinger.)
--
Jim
New York, NY
(Please remove "nospam." to get my e-mail address)
http://www.panix.com/~kahn
Matthew B. Tepper
2005-03-16 06:59:49 UTC
Permalink
I've never heard a native French display such eloquence in English
without a trace of an accent.
Considering that she has been living in the US for a long time and has
an American SO, that is a rather underwhelming accomplishment. She does
speak/read/write Russian however. That deserves much higher credit,
For what it's worth it's very difficult to speak a second language
without an accent no matter how long you've lived where it's spoken,
unless you arrived before the age of 10 or 11. (Exhibit 1: Henry
Kissinger.)
Exhibit 2: Gerard Hoffnung, who emigrated from Germany to England at the
age of 14.
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Take THAT, Daniel Lin, Mark Sadek, James Lin & Christopher Chung!
Dan Koren
2005-03-16 17:51:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by James Kahn
Post by Dan Koren
Post by Peter Lemken
I've never heard a native French display such
eloquence in English without a trace of an
accent.
Considering that she has been living in the US
for a long time and has an American SO, that is
a rather underwhelming accomplishment. She does
speak/read/write Russian however. That deserves
much higher credit,
For what it's worth it's very difficult to speak
a second language without an accent no matter how
long you've lived where it's spoken, unless you arrived
before the age of 10 or 11. (Exhibit 1: Henry Kissinger.)
There are plenty of counter exhibits.

Just walk through the streets of San
Francisco (or Toronto) any day, and
you will find them.


dk
j***@earthlink.net
2005-03-16 17:28:47 UTC
Permalink
Or he could have summed it up this way:

Eye candy but playing like concrete -- occasionally rocky but sand and
cement in between. Nothing sweet or palatable about this Rach.

jy
Matthew B. Tepper
2005-03-16 20:43:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by j***@earthlink.net
Eye candy but playing like concrete -- occasionally rocky but sand and
cement in between. Nothing sweet or palatable about this Rach.
I enjoyed the R. PC2 she did at the Hollywood Bowl maybe 10 years ago.
--
Matthew B. Tepper: WWW, science fiction, classical music, ducks!
My personal home page -- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/index.html
My main music page --- http://home.earthlink.net/~oy/berlioz.html
To write to me, do for my address what Androcles did for the lion
Take THAT, Daniel Lin, Mark Sadek, James Lin & Christopher Chung!
Vaneyes
2005-03-15 20:44:39 UTC
Permalink
This post might be inappropriate. Click to display it.
Chris Martin
2005-03-16 18:58:18 UTC
Permalink
I heard her in recital about a month ago here in Atlanta in a hall that
has curtains on the perimeter to dampen the sound. Each curtain can be
pulled up to a suitable height, in order to expose the hard walls,
which then creates a more resonant hall.

Grimaud chose to play with all the wall curtains rolled up completely,
which would would have been fine if it were say Anonymous 4, but with a
pianist playing Chopin and Rachmaninov, you don't want that much
resonance. Only the slow movements sounded OK, all of the fast pieces
sounded like mush.

Anyway the recital itself wasn't particularly memorable. To be fair,
I've never liked Rachmaninov's second sonata, so I don't blame her for
that. I didn't enjoyed the Chopin barcarolle, but and the slow movement
of the second sonata. The Rachmaninov encores were good, but not great.


She did seem genuine when she spoke to the audience before her second
encore. Ironically, she talked about how she enjoyed adjusting the
acoustics of the hall with curtains while she was rehearsing. So I have
absolutely no idea why she eventually chose to play with all the
curtains.

I was fortunate enough to hear the Orch Nationale de Paris with Kurt
Masur and Thibaudet in the same hall. They were very good, especially
in Scheherezade.

Chris
Post by Dan Koren
I dropped Helene Grimaud from my auto-buy list
following her mediocre Beethoven PC4 and op.110,
and Rachmaninov Paganini Rhapsody and Corelli
Variations.
Last night at Tower I came across her new Chopin
and Rachmaninov B-flat sonatas CD. Rachmaninov's
2nd Sonata was Grimaud's debut recording, and a
remarkable (if not outstanding) performance for
a 16-year old. She has an obvious affinity for
this music (or at least so she thinks), so I
decided to give her the benefit of doubt and
bought the CD.
What a mistake!
The Chopin Sonata gets a perfunctory, auto-pilot
interpretation that one would reasonably expect
from any Juilliard student these days -- and
with better technique.
Rachmaninov fares a little better: she does at
least show some enthusiasm for the music -- but
not much more unfortunately. It is not as good a
performance as her debut recording. The second
movement sounds utterly mechanical. Technically
she sounds terribly strained in the 3rd movement.
The sound is an example of DG piano recording at
its very worst. Very closely recorded and with an
artificially inflated bass register -- probably to
make up for the lack of weight and fullness in her
tone, and with an overly bright and shrill treble.
For fillers, two of the most square and wooden
traversals of the Berceuse and the Barcarolle.
What a waste of $18! (at least one can be happy
some of it goes to the wolves!).
Now she moves to the auto-pass list -- forever.
Needless to say, the jacket would make a fine
cover for Marie-Claire. Maybe she'll start a
duo with Ali Wood. Someone who loves wolves so
much must be able to find a soft spot in her
heart for dingoes.
dk
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