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Helene Grimaud plays Ravel

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Philharmonie: Alfried Krupp SaalHuyssenallee 53, Essen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, 45128, Allemagne
Le vendredi 17 janvier 2020 at 20:00

The world-famous pianist Hélène Grimaud believes that “music can [...] help remind us that for all in our daily lives that is trivial, there’s a place where meaning is stored. And that it is not forgetfulness that is our burden, but the capacity to reflect and remember that is the wonder of being alive.” One of the cornerstones in her repertory is the G major piano concerto by Ravel, who wrote this inspired piece “in the spirit of the concertos of Mozart and Saint-Saëns” after the First World War. Despite its well-nigh classicist concentration, the scintillating concerto also features jazz elements and colourful virtuosity aplenty. Its slow movement in particular contains moving passages that Margeurite Long, the pianist at its premiere, called “so indescribably beautiful”, confessing: “Tears were running down my cheeks!”

After the interval, our principal conductor will conjure up the vision of a heavenly land of Cockaigne, penned by Gustav Mahler. Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, premiered in 1901, is one of his “Wunderhorn symphonies”, as its final movement uses the song “Das himmlische Leben” (“Heavenly Life”) from Des Knaben Wunderhorn, a collection of folk songs by Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano that was hugely popular during the romantic era. In Mahler’s masterly, confessional work, the different movements’ interrelated themes and motifs come together to form a unified whole – outlining a childlike soul’s journey through the “worldly fray” on a quest to recapture its lost innocence. One critic described this musical creation as a “dream-like journey up to the heavenly fields of Paradise” – that final “abode where every wish comes true and the blissful spirits dance and sing.”

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