Hélène Grimaud – The Messenger (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:18:38 minutes | 1,45 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Deutsche Grammophon (DG)
Hélène Grimaud has announced her new studio album, The Messenger, will be released on 2 October 2020. For her latest concept album Hélène Grimaud has created a fascinating pianistic dialogue between Mozart and the Ukrainian-born contemporary composer Valentin Silvestrov. Watch the video for the first single, the third movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20, released today.
The recording sessions for The Messenger took place at the start of this year at an historic Mozart site in Salzburg, the Great Hall of the University, where Hélène Grimaud was joined by the Camerata Salzburg. The album includes three works by Mozart: the unfinished Fantasia in D minor K 397, the famous Piano Concerto in D minor K 466, and the Fantasia in C minor K 475. They are presented in chronological order of composition and all three are among the relatively small number of works in Mozart’s vast output written in minor keys. Hélène Grimaud noted, “minor keys were suggestive of confrontations with fate or destiny” for Mozart. She said it took her “many years of inner cultivation to fully recognise those burning, unpredictable currents rippling beneath the transcendental beauty. That is when playing this music became a necessity.”
Valentin Silvestrov’s The Messenger (1996) offers both a response to, and an echo of, Mozart’s music – the idea of acknowledging and paying tribute to what has gone before is central to his art as a composer. The Messenger starts with a theme reminiscent of Mozart and, like a messenger, creates a connection between the present and the world that existed before. Hélène Grimaud is passionate about Silvestrov’s music, which some describe as post-modernist or even neoclassical. “Like Arvo Pärt, Silvestrov’s music is harmonic, which far from being a weakness, is an enlightenment in its own right and very powerful in its simplicity,” noted Hélène. The composer’s own words hint at why this is for her so intriguing, “I do not write new music. My music is a response to and an echo of what already exists”.
Having reached the middle of her life, the pianist Hélène Grimaud is thinking about Time; that Mighty Sculptor evoked by Marguerite Yourcenar, the thing that weaves our destinies and gets us all in the end. Exploring the past to better understand the present, Hélène Grimaud finds some answers in pieces by Mozart and the Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov. You can feel the time passing like a gentle breeze, creating a dreamlike nostalgia-filled atmosphere.
On top of these existential thoughts, there’s the pandemic that hit the world at the beginning of 2020 – the very time Hélène Grimaud started recording this album. The crisis is having ramifications in all parts of society. It’s affected each and every one of us. It’s weakened the economy. It’s provoked questions and reactions within artistic communities who are pretty good at expressing emotions.
It took Hélène Grimaud a little time to tame Mozart’s music, settling for nothing short of perfection. Performing either alone or with the Salzburg Camerata in the dark minor tones of the two sublime Fantasias surrounding Concerto No. 20, she chose to perform K. 466 – one of Mozart’s most burning, rebellious compositions, full of lightning and foreboding atmospheres. Grimaud praises the dishevelled Romanticism by drawing from Beethoven (whose cadenzas she uses for this concerto). The result is radical and seems to relieve her anxiety… and seemingly ours as well. – François Hudry
1. Hélène Grimaud – Mozart: Fantasia No. 3 in D Minor, K. 397
2. Hélène Grimaud – I. Allegro (Cadenza Beethoven)
3. Hélène Grimaud – II. Romance
4. Hélène Grimaud – III. Rondo. Allegro assai (Cadenza Beethoven)
5. Hélène Grimaud – Mozart: Fantasia No. 4 in C Minor, K. 475
6. Hélène Grimaud – Silvestrov: The Messenger (For Piano and Strings)
7. Hélène Grimaud – I. Wedding Waltz
8. Hélène Grimaud – II. Postlude
9. Hélène Grimaud – III. Morning Serenade
10. Hélène Grimaud – Silvestrov: The Messenger (For Piano Solo)