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Hélène Grimaud Plays Bach [Import]

Helene Grimaud Audio CD

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1. Prelude
2. Fugue
3. Prelude
4. Fugue
5. 1. Allegro
6. 2. Adagio
7. 3. Allegro
8. Prelude
9. Fugue
10. Chaconne in D minor
11. Prelude
12. Fugue
13. Prelude & Fugue in A minor BWV 543
14. Prelude
15. Fugue
16. Prelude in E major
17. Prelude in C sharp major BWV 872

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid Bach Recording from Helene Grimaud March 7 2009
By John Kwok - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Distinguished pianist Helene Grimaud has finally come around to recording Bach, and, for many, it is definitely a moment that was well worth waiting for. Her interpretations of Bach will not please everyone, especially those who are more comfortable with expressive recordings from the likes of Glenn Gould - whom she does admire greatly - and Simone Dinnerstein. While she professes little interest in period instrument practice, her latest recording features performances that are remarkably limited with respect to her usually expressive qualities, since she treats the modern piano keyboard much in the same manner as she would with the harpsichord, respecting Bach's original intentions by not exploiting the piano's considerably richer sonic qualities. Admittedly for some, this means that hers is a rather routine, quite dull, recording of Bach's keyboard works - including several transcriptions from other instruments - made by such noteworthy successors as Liszt, Busoni and Rachmaninov - but I respectfully disagree. There is much to be quite passionate about in Grimaud's recordings, especially in her delicate performances of selected preludes and fugues from The Well-Tempered Klavier. Indeed, as she, herself notes, in the album's liner notes, there is no right way to perform Bach, except when it is performed in a "...tradition of emotional and intellectual honesty, with the right balance between thought and intuition, between the notes on the page and the pulse of the heart."

Virtually all of the pieces were recorded in August 2008 in a Berlin recording studio. These include not only selected pieces from The Well-Tempered Klavier (No.2 in C minor, No. 4 in C sharp minor (Book 1), No. 6 in D minor, No. 20 in A minor, No. 9 in E major (Book 2), but also Busoni's transcription of the Chaconne in D minor (arranged from Violin Partita no. 2, BWV 1004), Liszt's transcription of the Prelude and Fugue in A minor (arranged from BWV 543 for organ), and Rachmaninov's transcription of the Prelude in E major (arranged from Violin Partita no. 3, BWV 1006). Her interest in performing these transcriptions was to determine how well these latter-day composers conveyed Bach's original musical thought, and, judging from her performances, they most certainly succeeded. Directing from the keyboard, Grimaud leads the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen in a spirited, most vibrant, performance of the Bach Concerto for Piano No. 1 in D minor, BWV 1052; itself a transcription of a concerto written originally for the violin, then transcribed by Bach, first for the organ, and then, the piano. Without question this is yet another fine recording from Grimaud, certain to win further admiration from her most devout fans and other admirers.
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I will enjoy listening to this CD many times Feb. 13 2009
By SantaBBob - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I have been playing classical piano for over 30 years and these are my comments:

Ms. Grimaud's DG recordings are distinguished by their unique programs. This CD is no exception. The CD opens with two Preludes and Fuges from the Well Tempered Clavier before moving on to the Keyboard Concerto in D Minor and then alternating between further excerpts from the Well-Tempered Clavier and romantic transcriptions of Bach's works, including the stunning Bach-Busoni Chaconne in D Minor.

The advantage of such programming is that the listener is constantly refreshed and interested because each section of the CD is so much different and the pieces linger long in the mind after the CD is over. I know of no one else who puts together CDs like this and this leads perhaps the whole to be more than the sum of the parts - not that the parts are bad!

The piano sounds, as portrayed on the cover, to be a full concert grand. I do not feel the music is therefore "intimate"; this is concert hall Bach not salon or living room Bach - but the piano is very warm and full sounding. Though I have heard criticisms of Grimaud's playing as too harsh, this is certainly not the case in this album.

The D Minor Concerto is technically impeccable, the notes clean and distinct. Her playing of the concerto is a celebration of a piece that is not polyphonic but a glorified continuo to a fairly dramatic keyboard concerto. There is no romantic interpretation however - the outer movements maintain a prcise and fast clip. Following along with the score, Grimaud and the Chamber Orchestra remain perfrectly in sync.

The Chaconne is very romantically played, including some accelerandos and pauses that caught me off guard. Parts of the Chaconne are sunnier then I have ever heard. The Chaconne is where Ms. Griamud is at her most individual, and thus perhaps the most memorable part of the CD.

In short, this is a CD I look forward to putting into my player and tour through the many facets of Bach and the other subsequent tributes to him by other composers.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of Bach July 13 2012
By Colin Rose - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I am quite fond of some of Helene Grimaud's other recordings, but this, alas, is not my cup of tea.

Helene Grimaud's rendition of Bach is essentially vertical rather than horizontal ... it is chordal rather than polyphonic. It is also very romanticised, heavily pedalled, and in my view, contrary to the spirit of Bach. I love Bach played on the piano ... in fact, I prefer Bach played on the piano ... but when done properly, Bach is pure and clean and transparent and elegant and godly ... whereas I find this performance heavy, waxed and almost glitzy.

Rather go for Gould or Richter .... incomparably better. And if you don't see why, then buy this and Gould (or Richter), and compare and enjoy!
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BRILLIANCE OF HÉLÈNE GRIMAUD MEETS THE GENIUS OF J. S. BACH Feb. 10 2009
By RSProds - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Four and a half OVERALL Stars!! Five Stars for Grimaud!! So much Bach from so many angles by one of the world's greatest pianists!!! Award-winning French virtuoso pianist Hélène Grimaud, in the third decade of her career, adds the works of Johann Sebastian Bach to her recorded repertoire, completing all '3 Bs' (Bach, Beethoven, & Brahms) for her discography. She has performed Bach before, most nobably a live blazing, nuanced Chaconne, which to my mind may in the end be her 'signature piece'. And the performances by this musical dynamo on this CD are just as brilliant, covering five prelude-fugue pairings from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, his Concerto for Harpsichord, Strings, and Continuo No. 1 in D Minor with the vaunted Bremen German Chamber Philharmonic (Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen) orchestra (Ms Grimaud is on piano), and 3 notable transcriptions/re-workings for solo piano by master virtuosos/composers: Liszt's transcription of the Prelude and Fugue in A Minor, Rachmaninov's Preludio based on Bach's Partita for Violin Solo No. 3 in E, and the awesome Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D Minor based on Bach's Partita for Violin Solo No. 2 in D Minor.

Grimaud puts her individual stamp on the Well Tempered Clavier prelude-fugue couplings, such as the energetic Book 1, "Prelude in C Minor, BWV 847" that is closer to Richter than Gould and Schiff. And the Book 2, Prelude in A Minor, BWV 889, which is conversely closer to Gould than Richter, and the Fugue which is the opposite, is still idiomatic Grimaud. But with all due respect to the prelude and fugue couplings and the Concerto which are marvelous from the Grimaud performance perspective, the pieces that consume my interest are the three aforementioned variations and arrangements by Busoni, Rachmaninov, and Liszt. Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor is a thing of pure beauty & Ms Grimaud puts her stamp on this work with an awesome performance. Also there are great performances of Liszt's Prelude and Fugue in A Minor and the Rachmaninov Preludio. On the Concerto for Harpsichord, Strings, and Continuo, the Bremen German Chamber Philharmonic orchestra is recorded somewhat behind Ms Grimaud's piano where their sound should be elevated more: an engineering technicality, but even so Grimaud and the orchestra are still magnificent. Hopefully the DDD-limited edition CD version has better sound: Bach - Keyboard Concerto And Piano Solo Pieces [Limited Edition] But, again, Ms Grimaud's Chaconne in D minor is the amazing performance and worth the price of admission on its own, along with the Liszt and Rachmaninov perspectives on Bach. Ms Grimaud is superb!! Highly Recommended. Four and a half WONDERFUL Stars!! (This review is based on an iTunes Plus digital download)
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Piano Talks May 22 2009
By Zaid - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
i've heard alot of Hélène Grimaud, and her moderate way in playing music, specially in this record, but when i heared it, its so different!!

in this record i felt really that the piano was not making sounds, it was talking!

from the first pieces (Das Wohltemperierte Klavier) to the (Das Wohltemperierte Klavier) stopping by (Partita for Violin Solo No. 2 in D Minor: Chaconne in D Minor)
to the end

Hélène performance in this record is Awesome, and these Bach's pieces are MAGICAL , unconsciencly you will be playing it over and over and over again, once you play it on , you just can NOT turn it off!

i really recommend this record to EVERYONE

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