. . . Yundi's energy is as impressive as ever . . . His playing is often unbelievably fast as in the Prelude No.18 in F Minor, but never sacrifices clarity or phrasing. Others like the No.23 in F Major move with an enchanting fluidity. It's a breathtaking recording and easy to play often for the sheer marvel of it.
Yundi brings a sensitivity -- and speed -- to the 1839 "Preludes" that often manages a fine and subtle measure of poetry. My own ears first perked up at the "D Major", whose knotty metrics ring with dramatic authority . . . Fine-tuned pedal marks the "F-sharp Major", a haunted moment of liquid beauty in Chopin . . . Fine playing all . . .
Yundi's Preludes are vividly contrasted and convey an exhilarating sweep . . . The bubbling, insouciantly rhythmical No 5 (D major) is followed by a satisfyingly subdued No 6 (B minor). The barcarolle-like No 13 (F sharp major) is pleasantly lyrical.
Yundi is at his best in the more reflective "Préludes" (the B minor, No 6, for example), and technically there are no detectable problems anywhere. No 8 in F-sharp minor offers a stunning vortex of notes, while the B-flat minor, No 16, presents fluid legato at breakneck velocity . . . The final D minor " Prélude" is dynamic, active . . . [the posthumous A-flat " Prélude" is] lovely and fluent.
Yundi's basic style is objective, with every phrase carefully matched to the technical requirements . . . yet when a particular prelude (such as No. 8 in F# Minor or No. 10 in C# Minor) opens itself to virtuosic dazzlement, Yundi is unfailing in his brilliance . . . he stands and delivers, one prelude after the other, to hold the audience in the palm of his hand . . . without a doubt Yundi is incredibly gifted.
Note, for example, No. 1's surging flow and clear textural delineation, No. 5's well-articulated syncopations, and the intense melodic interplay between No. 22's left hand octaves and right hand chords. Yundi's uncommonly brisk and headlong way with No. 17 puts an interesting, unsettled spin on a piece that is often smoothed over and sentimentalized.
Yundi Li bénéficie, lui, d'un piano magnifique, dont la plénitude et la rondeur s'accordent à des aigus royaux . . . [lui prend le premier prélude agitato,] qui lève le voile sur ce qui va suivre, inexorablement. Yundi Li impose au cycle un caractère sombre, désenchanté, presque altier. Les pauses sont excellemment gérées, ce qui a une grande incidence sur la perception que l'on a des "Préludes" . . . s'il joue de facon ondoyante, tendre et triste le kaléidoscope harmonique de l'Opus 45, Yundi Li aurait quand même pu ajouter quelques pièces en complément . . .