YUJA WANG - RAVEL

MAURICE RAVEL

Piano Concerto in G major
Piano Concerto in D major for the left hand
FAURÉ: Ballade op. 19
Yuja Wang
Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich
Lionel Bringuier
Int. Release 09 Oct. 2015
1 CD / Download
0289 479 4954 1


Track List

Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937)
Piano Concerto In G Major, M. 83

Yuja Wang, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Lionel Bringuier

Gabriel Fauré (1845 - 1924)
Yuja Wang

Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937)
Piano Concerto For The Left Hand In D, M. 82

Yuja Wang, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Lionel Bringuier

Total Playing Time 50:07

. . . [Yuja Wang] has technique to burn . . . [Piano Concerto in G major]: Wang plays it deftly, unsentimentally, and with plenty of the necessary clarity and poise. It's particularly refreshing to hear her convincing rubato and refusal to slam on the brakes in the first movement's initial solo episode, as well as her fleet, direct, but dynamically sensitive reading of the central Adagio assai -- no affected profundity here! . . . Wang takes the trouble to articulate the finale's toccata-like textures with crystalline precision. Wang plays the Concerto for the Left Hand with similar confidence and directness, offering a particularly splendid concluding cadenza . . . [Fauré / Ballade op. 19]: Wang captures the music's flow in a work where subtlety of the rhythm and the ability to spin out those long, seamless lines of melody count for everything. In sum, this is unquestionably a fine release . . .

Yuja Wang continues to release recordings of extraordinary beauty. Here we have her scintillating accounts of the two Ravel concertos, coupled with the exquisite Fare "Ballade". The fine Atonable Orchestra plays elegantly under the exciting young conductor Lionel Bringuier, and the audio quality is exceptionally. There are countless recordings of these works, but these are among the best.

The outer movements are so deliciously light, like the most perfect soufflé, executed with disarming insouciance by pianist and orchestra alike, exemplified by the cheeky clarinet and trombone licks at the start of the third movement. Yet the central section of the first movement with the important harp solo is uncommonly eerie, as is that dissonant passage in the slow movement . . . You could not wish for a more atmospheric account of this concerto -- nor a more thrilling one. The same applies to the Left Hand Concerto . . . [technically, Yuja Wang] is fairly awesome in a recording of crystalline clarity and depth.

. . . her captivating pianism is placed entirely at the service of the composer, and with excellent support from the Zurich Tonhalle under Lionel Bringuier, this is a first-class issue. She's particularly persuasive in the "Piano Concerto For The Left Hand", where she captures better than almost any rival the dark, brooding character of the piece.

. . . an obviously perfect fit . . . the virtuosity on display in both pieces involves technical challenges that Wang has long since shown she can breeze right through. The result is that both of these performances, with lustrous orchestral support from conductor Lionel Bringuier and the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, burst vividly to life . . . Wang's playing is at once fleet and full of character, and she brings plenty of presence and scope to the Concerto for Left Hand. But the real gem in this new release, which also includes a resplendent account of Fauré's Ballade in F-Sharp as a palate-cleanser, is Wang's rendition of the slow movement of the G-Major Concerto. It's stately, expansive, rich in sonority -- yet also self-contained and somewhat mysterious . . . It's magical.

. . . [I have long admired Bringuier's conducting,] as well as YujaWang's superlative technique and musicianship . . . this is music with considerable backbone, all the more impressive for the clarity of her playing . . .

. . . [she guides] the listener into the elusive nuclei of the piano music of Fauré and Ravel . . . and what beauties [she discovers there!]. . . [Ravel / Piano Concerto in G major]: Wang makes a valuable contribution to Deutsche Grammophon's initiative to record all of Ravel's orchestral music . . . Wang's confident mastery of the tricky writing for the piano is extremely impressive, and she proves herself to be an assured mistress of negotiating the almost schizophrenic, jazz-influenced shifts of mood in the music . . . The Adagio assai second movement receives from Wang and Bringuier a performance shaped by the pianist's crisp but deeply affectionate phrasing of the extended melodic line . . . The brisk Presto movement that ends the Concerto inspires Wang to an exhibition of technical prowess that is far more than a pyrotechnics display . . . Wang and Bringuier offer an unmistakably youthful reading of the Concerto that lacks none of the lucidity and drama of classic interpretations . . . [Ravel / Piano Concerto for the left hand]: Wang's visceral account of the opening Lento -- Andante -- sequence is defined by the pianist's athletic execution of the opening cadenza, her chiseling of the broad swaths of thematic material from the fine-grained stone of Ravel's music uncovering surprising niceties of sentiment exegesis . . . Whether playing music by Ravel or Fauré, with this disc Wang expands her reputation as an artist capable of fashioning a tremendous range of colors with her palette of black and white keys.

. . . [both Ravel piano concertos] require a certain degree of sophistication and suavity, nicely met here by Wang, 28, and Lionel Bringuier, 29, who leads his Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich . . . Wang is the best of the several young Chinese firebrands on the scene these days because of her taste, which is never self-indulgent. In these two Ravel works, she probes expressive impulses without ever losing sight of the long line, of propulsion and pleasure. Her phrasing combines a modicum of percussiveness with intimate warmth . . . The allegro playing is thrilling and clean but also shaped, not just mechanical. The highlight of the disc is probably the slow movement of the G-major concerto, which is taken at a pace that keeps it moving along rather than floating ethereally (as is often done), her delicacy matched by genuine warmth. Bringuier and the orchestra give her tightly intertwined support and the recording captures the wonderful acoustics and space of the old hall . . .

Yuja Wang easily won the concerto prize with her recording of both Ravels (DG), the G Major as good as any in the catalogue and the Left-Hand nothing short of a revelation.

What startles all over again in these brilliant recordings with the Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich under Lionel Bringuier (in no sense lesser partners) is her ability to find the depth, height and scope of any music she addresses and do it with unerring authority and delicacy. Ravel's Left-Hand Concerto may never have sounded more imposing or important, and the G Major Concerto leaps over all previous recordings of it . . . You don't have to strain at all to hear "Rite", and jazzy Stravinsky, in this astounding new G Major. And the Gabriel Faure F-sharp minor solo-piano Ballade that separates, or rather connects them, is, at last, as monumental as the composer's music is reputed to be but rarely sounds.

. . . fine performances . . . there is clear rapport between Wang and her conductor Lionel Bringuier . . . orchestral balance and detail is carefully considered . . . [in the G major] Wang acquits herself well, with perfect trills, so important in the first two movements, and a real sense of Gallic lyricism. The helter-skelter of the finale is correspondingly well caught. Ravel's Concerto for the Left Hand finds both pianist and orchestra bringing real power to the experience. Wang seems perfectly within the piece (technically, there is some truly awesome playing here), her delivery at times riven with grandeur, at others the very definition of tender . . . There is so much to admire here . . .

. . . [Faure's expansive, virtuosic] "Ballade" is delightful, all the more because Wang's technique is mesmerizing and mercurial . . . Wang's pianism bears all the hallmarks that excite audiences around the world, so this CD isn't likely to disappoint her fans. At 28 she's still a mini-skirted wonder . . .

Yuja Wang now clearly seems the finest pianist her country has ever produced . . . Her recording of the two Ravel concertos is easily her finest outing to date and instantly becomes one of the most competitive in a very crowded market . . . the G-Major Concerto is everything it needs (and deserves) to be: cheeky, jazzy, and buoyant -- so buoyant, in fact, that it feels perpetually airborne. The playing is so completely effortless that we overlook how tricky it actually is, while the long sweep of the celebrated "Adagio assai" emerges in a single, unbroken phrase . . . [not in a generation] has another pianist floated through the movement with such effortless grace, nor has any brought more meticulously controlled abandon to the head-long final movement, which fizzes, crackles, and electrifies by turns. If anything, her version of the Concerto for the Left Hand is even more impressive, cajoling, thundering, quietly insinuating by turns. The cadenza is a "tour de force" from beginning to end . . . Lionel Bringuier proves the perfect foil to his mercurial partner, matching her every playful zig with an equally alert zag. An affectionate look at the solo piano version of the Fauré Ballade rounds out an album that would be difficult to fault on any count. In fact, many will regard it as the new benchmark for these much recorded works.

. . . arguably Wang's finest concerto collaboration to date . . . Wang has all the technique these works demand, but aside from empty virtuosity, there is also a need for musicality and a sure sense of style . . . The Concerto in G has all the requisite qualities to make it successful, captured in beautiful sound . . . Soloist and conductor get inside the idiom with total confidence. Particularly impressive is a beautifully sung slow movement . . . In the somewhat darker Concerto for the Left Hand, Wang brings a winning mix of seriousness and daring to this often difficult to balance work. Bringuier has his forces playing with intelligence . . . The Fauré is gorgeous and certainly adds to the overall success of this very appealing album.

. . . [eine] sehr gelungene Aufnahme . . . Yuja Wang spielt hervorragend, da bleiben auch für Ravel-Liebhaber keine Wünsche offen!

Scheinbar ganz leicht fallen Wang die schweren Laufpassagen oder die von Gershwin inspirierten Jazzrhythmen. In den rasenden Akkordballungen behalten ihre Reflexe und gelenkigen Finger die Oberhand . . . Ravels düster schwelendes Konzert für die linke Hand gelingt ihr schillernd, sinnlich, rhythmisch wie gestochen. In der Solokadenz zeigt Wang mit ekstatischer Geste, dass fünf Finger reichen, in großen Steigerungsbögen zu denken.

. . . die CD verdient auch bei altgedienten Sammlern durchaus Beachtung . . . wegen eines vorbildlich transparenten und tiefengestaffelten Klangbilds, durch das jenes für Ravels Konzerte typische kammermusikalische Wechselspiel aller Instrumente und Instrumentengruppen hervorragend zur Geltung kommt . . . Vor allem aber fesseln auch die Darstellungen selber durch ein sehr lebendiges, die Eigenheiten der Partituren virtuos und farbig herausarbeitendes Musizieren des Orchesters und das perfekt "runde" fabelhaft harmonische, geschmeidige und leichte [Spiel von Bringuiers Generationsgenossin Yuja Wang] . . .

. . . Wang spielt in keiner Weise dominant, sondern pflegt selbst in den virtuosesten Momenten eine schöne Interaktion mit den Orchestermusikern, die Ravels souveräne Orchestrierungskunst im schönsten Licht strahlen lässt und die vielen Bläser-Soli freundlich neben sich duldet. Bringuier seinerseits verschenkt an der Spitze seiner souveränen und engagierten Musiker nichts von Ravels vielen Nuancen in agogischen, klangfarblichen und dynamischen Details, hat eine durchaus zupackende, erfrischende Attitüde, ohne die elegante Noblesse dieser Konzerte zu vernachlassigen . . . [als Zugabe spielt Wang Faurés Fis-Dur-Ballade auch] ohne viel pianistisches Brimborium, geschmackvoll, elegant und charmant.

Das Tonhalle-Orchester tritt selbstbewusst auf, technisch auf höchstem Niveau, aber nicht so dominant, dass die Pianistin sich nicht behaupten könnte.

Dans le "Concerto en sol", le jeu de la pianiste vaut pour son abattage (vitesse et précision d'attaques), sa virtuosité fantasque, son énergie désinhibée. Dans les mouvements extrêmes, la joie manifeste des interprètes est communicative . . . Dans le "Concerto pour la main gauche", l'artiste chinoise préfère l'héroisme . . . Yuja Wang négocie avec une insolente facilité la cadence finale, fleuve tranquille plutôt que traversée tragique. La lumière de la "Ballade" de Fauré lui sied mieux que le romantisme noir: elle pare cette partition peu fréquentée d'une fraîcheur heureuse, d'un brio jamais ostentatoire.

  • Yuja Wang - Ravel (Trailer)

    On her eagerly expected new orchestral album star-pianist Yuja Wang wows with two perennial hits: Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major and The Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D major. Both are heavily influenced by jazz, which Ravel had encountered on a concert tour of the United States in 1928.


  • Yuja Wang - Ravel - Behind the Scenes

    On her eagerly expected new orchestral album star-pianist Yuja Wang wows with two perennial hits: Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major and The Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D major. Both are heavily influenced by jazz, which Ravel had encountered on a concert tour of the United States in 1928.


  • Yuja Wang - Ravel: Piano Concerto in G, 1. Allegramente (excerpt)

    On her eagerly expected new orchestral album star-pianist Yuja Wang wows with two perennial hits: Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major and The Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D major. Both are heavily influenced by jazz, which Ravel had encountered on a concert tour of the United States in 1928.


  • Yuja Wang - Ravel: Piano Concerto for the left hand in D (excerpt)

    On her eagerly expected new orchestral album star-pianist Yuja Wang wows with two perennial hits: Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major and The Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D major. Both are heavily influenced by jazz, which Ravel had encountered on a concert tour of the United States in 1928.