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Top 10 for Dec

Helene Grimaud - Water / Boston Globe review

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French pianist Hélène Grimaud and Scottish artist Douglas Gordon collaborated last December in New York for a high-concept recital, "tears become . . . streams become . . .," in which Grimaud presented a mix of watery works on a Steinway grand in the center of a flooded Park Avenue Armory. Eerie and immersive, the experience they created was probably the closest thing possible to hearing Debussy's "The Sunken Cathedral" in an actual sunken cathedral.

Grimaud's new Deutsche Grammophon release was recorded during "tears become . . . streams become . . .," and the venue's vast space echoes through every piece, giving the piano's sound an ethereal shimmer. The short 19th- and 20th-century works by composers such as Liszt, Janacek, and Takemitsu evoke the many personalities of water: playful fountains, raging rivers, tranquil showers. Grimaud plays with a keen sensitivity to the music and the setting, letting the ribbons of arpeggios and scales in Ravel's "Jeux d'eau" flow with exquisite grace. Berio's "Wasserklavier" is spacious, individual chords like stones falling into a still pond.