Wednesday, 9 November 2016

CD Review (The Straits Times, November 2016)

Deutsche Grammophon 4826653 
(CD + DVD) / ****1/2

The virtuosity of Chinese piano phenomenon Yuja Wang is already well-known. This compilation rehashes highlights from her earlier recordings, including pieces by Chopin, Brahms, Ravel, Stravinsky, Ligeti and a platter of virtuosic transcriptions by Horowitz, Cziffra and Volodos.

She tantalisingly offers four new tracks, where digital dexterity is the main draw, from Scarlatti's Sonata in G major (K.455) to a live performance of Prokofiev's Toccata, where memories of a young Martha Argerich are rekindled. That she is able to bring out the tongue-in-cheek of Rachmaninov's Polka De V.W. or the vertiginous runs in Art Tatum's version of Tea For Two is a testament to her versatility.  

The accompanying DVD entitled Through The Eyes Of Yuja, a 49-minute film by Anais and Olivier Spiro, provides glimpses of a young jet-setting artist's life on the road. From Kansas City to Zurich and Caracas, she is seen rehearsing and performing works like Prokofiev's Second Piano Concerto and Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto

She acquits herself as a modest and mostly likeable personality, besides being a true servant of music. Fans of her hyper-charged pianism (and low-cut outfits) will need no further encouragement in acquiring this album. 

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