" ... the overall impression was one of coiled energy
eventuating in unbridled excitement"
(The New York Times, 3 March 1999)
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 4 in G Major, op. 58
New York Philharmonic
Sonata No. 30 for Piano in E Major, op. 109
Sonata No. 31 for Piano in A minor, op. 110
- Hélène Grimaud's debut CD for Teldec shows her mastery in core repertoire - as soloist in Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto, accompanied by the New York Philharmonic/Kurt Masur, and performing Beethoven's late sonatas, op. 109 and 110.
- The Financial Times, in its review of the New York Philharmonic concert, wrote, "It would be easy to argue that she stands at the top of the under-30s pianists." The review went on to praise her performance. "What more could we have asked for: a superlative technique, a strong and intelligently used left hand, effective pedaling that kept her tone warm ... and most importantly, she unfailingly delivers original inflected conceptions of the music."
- Ms. Grimaud has received wide ranging media coverage, not only for her music-making but also on the fashion and feature pages for her personal style and her interest in animal husbandry. She raises wolves at her home in up-state New York.
- Born in Brieg, Silesia, in 1927, KURT MASUR studied piano, composition and conducting at the Music College of Leipzig. Upon graduation, he served as orchestra coach at the Halle County Theater, and later as Kapellmeister of the Erfurt and Leipzig Opera Theaters. He accepted his first major orchestral appointment in 1955, as conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic, and in 1958 returned to opera as general music director of music at the Mecklenburg State Theater of Schwerin. From 1960 to 1964, Kurt Masur was senior director of music at Berlin's Komische Oper, collaborating with Walter Felsenstein, one of opera's most influential directors. In 1967, he was appointed the Dresden Philharmonic's chief conductor, a post he held until 1972.
- Kurt Masur, who began his tenure as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic in September 1991, has left his hallmark on an orchestra that has felt the diverse influences of Mahler, Toscanini, Bernstein, Boulez and Mehta in this century. The impact of his leadership has attracted worldwide attention, and his distinctive approach to music-making has won praise from the media as well as the public. For twenty seven seasons, from 1970 until 1997, Kurt Masur served as Music Director of the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig. Since January 1992 he has also held the lifetime title of Honorary Guest Conductor of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
- Kurt Masur was named Musician of the Year for 1993 by Musical America. At the 1993 Classical Music Awards in London, the New York Philharmonic was honored as Orchestra of the Year in recognition of its new initiatives and audience outreach efforts, as well as for the artistic excellence the Orchestra has achieved under Kurt Masur's leadership. Noted for his commitment to the New York community, Kurt Masur has been an outspoken advocate for music education. He has conducted concerts and open rehearsals with the orchestras of a number of New York's music conservatories and settlement schools.
- The London Philharmonic Orchestra recently named Kurt Masur as its Principal Conductor, effective from the autumn of 2000. His commitment to the LPO will also include involvement with the London Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.
- Kurt Masur has been guest conductor of the world's leading orchestras and has toured extensively with both the New York Philharmonic and the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig. A professor at the Leipzig Academy of Music since 1975, he holds honorary degrees from Yale University, the Manhattan School of Music, Leipzig University, the University of Michigan, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Westminster Choir College and Hamilton College.
- For Teldec Kurt Masur has made many memorable recordings with the New York Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic and the London Philharmonic. These include Brahms and Schumann symphonies cycles and the Brahms Requiem, the Bruch and Mendelssohn violin concertos with Maxim Vengerov, piano concertos by Mozart, Beethoven and Mendelssohn with Helen Huang, the Tchaikovsky piano concertos with Elisabeth Leonskaja and Britten's War Requiem, among many others.
the New York Philharmonic
- Founded in 1842, the New York Philharmonic is by far the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States and one of the oldest in the world. Having performed continuously during two thirds of its national history, the orchestra celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1992-93.
- Kurt Masur, the orchestra's Music Director since 1991, follows in a distinguished line from his predecessors Zubin Mehta, Pierre Boulez and Leonard Bernstein. Previous composers and conductors who have led the New York Philharmonic include Anton Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky, Dvorák, Weingartner, Mahler, Rachmaninoff, Richard Strauss, Mengelberg, Furtwängler, Toscanini, Stravinsky, Koussevitzky and Walter.
- Since its inception, the Orchestra has championed the new music of its time, giving many important works, such as Dvorák's New World Symphony, their first performances. Premiere performances in the United States were given of Beethoven's Symphonies Nos. 1, 4 and 6, Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique and many other works now in the standard repertoire. The pioneering tradition has continued to the present day with works of major contemporary composers regularly scheduled each season.
- The New York Philharmonic's first domestic tour took place in 1882 under Leopold Damrosch and its first European tour in 1920 under Walter Damrosch. Since then, the orchestra has toured extensively on five continents.
- After more than seventy years in Carnegie Hall, the Orchestra moved in 1962 to the new Philharmonic Hall at Lincoln Center, later renamed Avery Fisher Hall, from which it plays around 200 concerts a year during a 35-week subscription season. It additionally reaches a wider public through recordings, radio and television broadcasts and free public concerts in the parks of New York City.
About Ludwig van Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 in the concert recorded for this CD:
"Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto ... tends to be presented as a subdued tone poem, shrouded in antiquarian reverence. But it is a concerto, after all, and thus also something of a showpiece. And that is how Hélène Grimaud chose to play it on Friday evening ... . There was no lack of poetry in that enigmatic Andante, certainly, but the overall impression was one of coiled energy eventuating in unbridled excitement. The outer movements were everywhere compelling, and though Ms. Grimaud opted for cadenzas by Beethoven ..., she endowed them with a remarkable spontaneity. Her penchant for taking risks was not without its prices but the rewards more than compensated."
(James R. Oestreich, The New York Times, 3 March 1999)
"It would be easy to argue that she stands at the top of the under-30s pianists. ... What more could we have asked for: a superlative technique, a strong and intelligently used left hand, effective pedaling that kept her tone warm ... and most importantly, she unfailingly delivers original inflected conceptions of the music."
(The Financial Times, 2 March 1999)
Series New Recording
Dates and Places Concerto: February 1999 New York: Avery Fisher Hall
Of Recordings Sonatas: March 1999 Purchase, N.Y.: The Performing Arts Center
Royalty Rate Full
Shipping Date 3 September 1999
Packaging Single Jewel Box with Booklet