Directed by Reiner E. Moritz
Commentary in English with French and German subtitles
The playing of the young pianist Hélène Grimaud has been described as “fire and ice, passion and reason all in one” (Le Monde de la Musique); “coiled energy eventuating in unbridled excitement” (NewYork Times);“superlative technique.. .she unfailingly delivers original inflected conceptions of the music” (Financial Times). But she is not only an extraordinary pianist, she is also an extraordinary woman, consumed by two loves in life -music and wolves. With her partner, photographer J. Henry Fair, she has founded a Wolf Conservation Centre at her home in South Salem, New York.
Grimaud came to music because it was the last resort of her parents, university professors in the South of France. “I was so easily bored. I was a distraction in the classroom. They tried martial arts, they tried sports. Then someone suggested music.” Music cured her boredom and her facility for playing the piano proved to be astonishing. By the age of thirteen she was accepted by a unanimous vote into the Paris Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique. In 1985 she was awarded first prize in Jacques Rouvier’s class and was invited to participate in masterclasses given by Gyorgy Sander, Leon Fleisher and Jorge Bolet, who said of her, “It has been a long time, a very long time, since I have met a natural talent of such quality and musical sensibility.” Her concert career took off in 1987 and now she performs with major orchestras around the world as well as being in demand for recital appearances. In February 2000 she was named ‘Soloist of the Year’ by ‘Les Victoires de la musique’. Still in her early thirties, she is arguably one of the very top pianists of her generation. To be spontaneous, not to be afiaid of taking risks and always to play as though it is the first time is Helene Grimaud’s maxim.
This encounter with Grimaud captures the essence of a musician and woman who is full of surprises. Refi-eshingly open and engaging, she gives an insight into her life and her music and is seen at work in Europe, performing, rehearsing and recording. At home in upstate New York her passion for wolves and her concern to educate people about these top predators is evident as she introduces her charges.
There are extensive performance extracts featuring Helene Grimaud as a concert soloist, a chamber musician and in recital, playing music by Rachmaninov, Bach/Busoni, Beethoven Brahms and Schumann.