In this case, the great pianist Hélène Grimaud does not mince her words. The sharpness, ardour, and power of articulation of her performances here defuse any impression of Mozart’s virtuoso elegance, which can also be perceived as an excessively filigreed, one of the most recurrent annoyances among the detractors of the prodigious Viennese composer. That being said, the musician’s clear and forceful discourse throws an interesting light on the works for solo piano on the program. The same attitude is adopted by Grimaud for Concerto No. 20, performed with the impeccable Austrian chamber orchestra Camerata Salzburg. Another special feature of the program is that the Fantasia in D Minor serves as a prelude to the Concerto in D Minor; Grimaud omits the coda and attacks the Piano Concerto directly. We won’t go so far as to label the interpretation a transgression, perhaps more conformist minds will, for Mozart reveals himself here in a different light through Grimaud’s prism. Does it diminish Wolfgang Amadeus’ immanent personality a little, or does it reveal an unsuspected character trait? The choice is yours! The second part of this recording is devoted to a living composer, the Ukrainian Valentin Silvestrov: Two Dialogues With Postscript (in three parts), with chamber orchestra, and The Messenger for solo piano. The classical and romantic references of these quiet, introspective works coexist with postmodern minimalism. Opinions may also be divided, without any lack of taste, as to whether the two galaxies belong to the same universe.
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