Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
Andrew Palmer
Group Editor
12:00 AM 8th June 2024

Classical Music: Yuja Wang The Vienna Recital

Yuja Wang The Vienna Recital

Scriabin Piano Sonata No. 3 in F sharp minor, Op. 23; Kapustin 24 Jazz Preludes, Op. 53 No 10 & 11 Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 18 in E flat major, Op. 31 No. 3 'The Hunt';Albéniz Iberia, T. 105 / Book 4;T. 105 / Book 3 Brahms Intermezzi (3), Op. 117; Glass Études No 6; Márquez: Danzón No. 2 (Transcr. Gómez-Tagle for Piano) Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice Melodie dell'Orfeo (Arr. Sgambati for Piano)

Yuja Wang Piano

Deutsche Gramophon 767404

This album is stunning and magnificent, featuring impressive and coruscating virtuosic music from Yuja Wang's live recording of a recital she gave in April 2022 at Vienna's Konzerthaus.

Wang showcases her exceptional skill in a recital that is capricious, featuring a variety of well-executed pieces. There are plenty of sparks as Wang powers away with a commanding authority that grasps the listener with high-voltage energy, only moments later to tenderly caress the keys like a perfectly tuned idling engine ready to ignite at a moment's touch. 

Scriabin's Piano Sonata No. 3 is spirited, and Wang poetically moves between the movements. The wonderful ending of the gorgeous third movement builds the tension as we get to the fourth, ‘Presto con fuoco'.

Her admirable ability to capture the essence of each piece, including two of Kapustin's 24 Jazz Preludes and Albeniz Lavapiés, is evident; she delivers each piece with meticulous attention to detail. The change of pace and style in Beethoven’s Op. 18 Sonata 'The Hunt' with the humour, decoration, and triplet segments is full of rhythmic vitality, especially in the chase of the fourth 'presto' movement.

Ligeti's Automne à Varsovie, from Book 2 of Études, is particularly atmospheric. Márquez transcribed Gómez Tagle for Piano Danzón No. 2 has more of the Wang sparkle, and the sublime Melodie dell’Orfeo by Gluck shimmers with a warm glow as she surprisingly brings this recital to a quiet and sublime end.

The engineering team meticulously and brilliantly records Wang's interpretation so that the listener can observe the minutiae of each piece's tempi, accents, articulation, dynamics, phrasing, and clarity of Wang's playing.

What a performer, and what an exciting and diverse set of repertoire!