Pianist Hélène Grimaud plays Friday January 21 at the Halle aux Grains, in Toulouse. A long-awaited recital of Great Performers, which had to be canceled due to the pandemic.
As part of the season of Great Performers, the most famous French classical pianist finds this evening Friday the Toulouse public for which she has a sincere attachment. With pieces by Silvestrov, Debussy, Satie, Chopin, Schumann, Hélène Grimaud we embark on a reverie around his latest album entitled “Memory”, conducive to meditation.
How did you choose the program for your recital?
I’ve always liked to put together programs which may seem unusual but which give the pieces I play a different light depending on their positioning in relation to the other pieces. It’s amazing to see comments on pieces that almost smoke another life depending on the context in which they are placed.
This recital is called “Memory”, like your last album. Why this title?
Because memory is a fascinating topic, historically, humanly, biologically. All these pieces evoke a nostalgia, a melancholy. These pieces have a lot of transparency, poetry and beauty. I begin the recital with “Bagatelle” by Silvestrov, a seldom played Ukrainian composer, then I continue with Debussy, Satie, Chopin, and finally Schumann. It’s music that doesn’t impose itself. She is discreet, very subtle.
“A recital in the form of meditation”, we read on the program of Grands Interprètes… Do you practice meditation?
Yes, and I don’t always succeed. Before a recital, I do yoga breaths, which slow down the heart rate and make this inner space so that the mind is calm, that it does not wander.
Can this recital have a beneficial impact on the public?
In any case, it is my dearest hope! When we go on stage, we go there with 100% honesty, integrity, and we bring everything we can. Sharing with the public is what is magnificent in a concert. You have to let yourself be taken by the hand, by the heart. The recital becomes a shared adventure, where you have to meet halfway and wait to see what happens.
Music has a deep relationship with nostalgia, you say…
Yes, and with the passage of time. Music makes it possible to relive forgotten moments, to revisit them. She has the genius to transport us in the past. There is always something very poignant when you remember, when you reflect on when everything changed. And we’ve all experienced that, the before and the after. As painful as it may be, it is something that calms your heart.
You have an extraordinary relationship with the piano…
Yes, it’s a huge privilege to be able to do what you love every day that passes. And at the same time it is a great responsibility. This is what was painful in this period. Even if there have been some very fine projects in formats other than concerts, nothing can replace on-the-spot exchanges with the public.
Happy to find the Halle aux Grains?
Very fortunately. It’s a venue and a city that I love, that I’ve been coming to for three decades now, maybe more. I adore the whole team of Grands Interprètes, the Orchester du Capitole, with whom I have had the pleasure of playing several times, and the public of Toulouse, warm, authentic. I am sure that I will enter the Halle aux Grains on Friday in a spirit of gratitude and immense joy.
The wolf friend
Hélène Grimaud founded the Wolf Conservation Center in New York State in 1999, an association aimed at studying the behavior of wolves and promoting their protection and safeguarding. Between two stays in her native country and tours around the world, the pianist, born in 1969 in Aix-en-Provence, now lives on the West Coast of the United States. She will vote in the Presidential election by correspondence. The cause of wolves is “a fight that requires taking part in the whole political process so that this species is respected and that its habitat is not destroyed. Everyone, she says, can have a big impact on the world around them through their decisions. It is a goal to bequeath to future generations a world which has as much biodiversity as possible and which is as healthy as possible, for their well-being and that of their children. I believe that we must remain confident for the future. There are reassuring examples of exceptional people who have the courage and energy for initiatives that have the potential to change the course of events”.