YUJA WANG Sonatas & Etudes


CHOPIN: Klaviersonate
Piano Sonata No. 2 op. 35
LIGETI: Etüden · Etudes
No. 4 »Fanfares«
No. 10 »Der Zauberlehrling«
SCRIABIN: Klaviersonate
Piano Sonata No. 2 op. 19
LISZT: Klaviersonate h-moll
Piano Sonata in B minor
Int. Release 20 Apr. 2009
1 CD / Download
0289 477 8140 0
Yuja Wang's a winner with her sparkling debut album for Deutsche Grammophon

Track List

Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849)
Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 35

György Ligeti (1923 - 2006)
6 etudes pour piano, premier livre

Alexander Scriabin (1872 - 1915)
Piano Sonata No. 2 in G-Sharp Minor, Op. 19 "Sonata Fantasy"



György Ligeti (1923 - 2006)
Franz Liszt (1811 - 1886)
Piano Sonata in B Minor, S. 178

edited by Alfred Cortot

Yuja Wang

Total Playing Time 1:14:00

Twenty-one year old Beijing-born Yuja Wang, who appeared in recital recently at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, is almost certain to become one of the foremost pianists of her generation; in less than a year she has taken the music world by storm, wowing audiences in major concerts with conductors of the stature of Charles Dutoit and Michael Tilson-Thomas . . . the young pianist gave us a superlative performance of Chopin¿s Piano Sonata No. 2 and an even better one of Stravinsky¿s Petrushka . . . Wang¿s playing here was not just powerful and focused -- it was explosive! She has that rare quality of being able to raise climaxes to the highest level of excitement in the heat of the moment -- the mark of a true virtuoso. Yuja Wang¿s technique is remarkable, but her force of personality is a wonder too. The first movement of the Chopin was magnificent, and in the middle section of the scherzo she found repose . . . In the funeral march she carefully prepared the climaxes and did not overdo them -- a very good sign for her ongoing development as an artist.
Technique, Rhythm, Passion, Personality -- the Complete Package! Without a doubt, the Stravinsky was the highlight of the concert. This music is one of the most challenging pieces in the repertoire, even for pianists with excellent technique. It never lets up, and Stravinsky has inserted in the score all manner of unusual rhythmic and melodic figurations. Wang played without any apparent technical problems whatsoever. Her rhythms were dead-on crisp and accurate, and she brought out all the color and exuberance the score demands . . . Her first album on the label (DG B0012534-02) was released last week, and was on sale at the concert; those listeners who bought it will not be disappointed.

. . . Her debut disc, which was a well chosen an bold showcase for her talents. In the Scriabin she demonstrated a beautiful sensitivity to the music's many an varied moods, in Chopin a fiery but never reckless aproach, and throughout the whole programme we are left in no doubt of her formidable technical command . . . We look forward with great excitement to following Yuja Wang's career for many years to come.

. . . Ms Wang pulls them together by providing flawless work on the keyboard . . . [Chopin]: The piece flies across the keyboard bringing the piano sonata to a breathless close . . . [Ligeti]: The rapid figures and flow along the keyboard is a perfect match and Yuja Wang plays both flawlessly. [Scriabin]: Ms Wang allowing her emotion to drift over the keys in a very romantic style . . . Like the Presto of Chopin¿s piano sonata and Ligeti¿s Etude, the Presto of Scriabin¿s piano sonata has a rapid series of flowing notes Ms Wang seems to effortlessly caress the music from the piano. Each note meticulously performed and yet so fluently fit into to the flow, the piano seems to float through the piece . . . Not only can she handle the flow up and down the keyboard, but her fingers maintain the same authority when needing to rapidly strike the same note. This track left me near breathless, unable to exhale until it was finished -- sheer magic . . . in Liszt¿s piano sonata Ms Wang exceeds all expectations. The shift between the dramatic to the soft and pensive is handled beautifully. There is no lack of emotion from either end of the spectrum . . . when you get a chance to hear the precision performance of someone like Yuja Wang, her perfection is taken to a new level. She is only twenty-two years old, making her debut CD all the more incredible. Helmut Burk did an outstanding job as the Recording Engineer to allow us a chance to hear every note from the most subtle, to the demanding aggressive passages pounded on the keyboard . . . Yuja Wang's debut CD, Sonatas & Etudes is all that and more, because you can revel in her ability over and over again. The more you listen to it the more wonderful pieces become stunning, and amazing pieces become breath-taking. Yuja Wang is young, and typically we could expect her to improve in the years to come. I am not sure how that¿s possible.

This may be the most eagerly anticipated debut album by a classical pianist in a generation. Yuja Wang, a 22-year-old from China by way of Philadelphia¿s Curtis Institute of Music, has been stunning audiences and driving critics to their thesauruses since she was 14 . . . Wang produces a 74-minute detonation of dazzling finger work, brilliant sprints across the keyboard undergirded by seismic bass lines. Her energy, power and stamina are awesome; so is her firm grasp of music that could easily spin out of control, especially at the speedy tempos she takes.
But this is more than a collection of finger-busters . . . this music is poetry -- free verse in sound. Wang gets that, too, phrasing lyrically and airing out phrases with silences in which the imagination has room to play.

The Scriabin and Ligeti selections stand out. Wang grasps the full measure of Scriabin's over-the-top rhetoric and lush textures, and flawlessly aligns Ligeti's chattering asymmetrical patterns so that each color, each balance, and each accent occurs precisely as the pianist wishes . . . Wang obviously is a thinking virtuoso with tremendous potential, and I look forward to hearing more of her work.

Gyorgy Ligeti's fleet study runs continuous melodic interference on an obsessive scalar pattern, eventually bringing it to earth. Yuja Wang, a young Calgary pianist, uses the piece as an interlude between meaty sonatas by Chopin, Liszt, Scriabin, on her impressive debut for Deutsche Grammophon.

. . . Chinese pianist Yuja Wang should win a prize for an intelligent and eclectic CD recital program . . . It is a real accomplishment to interpret the eight and one-half minute piece for its original beauty rather than parody. Gyorgy Ligeti's short "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" is a delightful discovery, as is Ligeti's spritely Etude 4: Fanfares. But Wang shows her mettle most in three sections of the notoriously mindbending Franz Liszt Sonata in b minor. She sounds like she has five hands at times. Wang has all of the technique in the world and oozes mature and intense interpretations. She tours often and actually broke into the concert scene mainly by filling in for ailing pianists, winning acclaim the originally scheduled pianists would envy. Wang is big time now. And she's only 22.

Music lovers attuned to the extraordinary rise of the young Chinese-born pianist Yuja Wang -- which includes many of us in the Bay Area, where she's made a number of stunning concert appearances -- have been waiting expectantly for her debut recording. It arrives this week, and it fully lives up to her remarkable promise. The repertoire is mostly conventional, with only a pair of Ligeti etudes to punctuate sonatas by Chopin, Scriabin and Liszt, yet the execution is anything but. Wang's playing combines a dazzling level of technical virtuosity with emotional and melodic grace, so that Chopin's Sonata No. 2 emerges as both a showpiece and an utterance of Romantic fervor. The Liszt Sonata is the high point, in a reading that fuses blistering passagework with an expressive urgency that is almost embarrassingly heartfelt. Wang also includes two of the hardest Ligeti Etudes (including the superhuman "Sorcerer's Apprentice") and knocks them off with casual precision.

The programming of this disc is inspired, as is . . . the playing of young Chinese pianist Yuja Wang . . . [Chopin]: Wang is intensely dramatic, shifting and bending . . . Her pianism is staggering, and she uses her technique to project the trajectory of the music inexorably onwards in all four movements. The Scherzo is relentless, so much so that Wang does not have to over-relax and distort the Trio to provide the necessary contrast. And yet she can imbue moments of the third movement with a tenderness . . . Wang gives one of the most volatile of readings, the music threatening to explode at any second . . . [Scriabin]: Wang's reading is perfumed without losing direction . . .[Ligeti]: Wang uses clearly distinguishable touches for the two units, laying the piece's modus operandi bare. The 'Scorcere's Apprentice' Etude is again technically assured . . . [Liszt]: Wang's way with the composer's massive edifice confirms the huge scope of her imagination. Her reading, while not shying away for a moment from the technical challenges, evokes whole worlds, with the reflective sections clearly seeming to prefigure Scriabin . . . Wang's exquisite tone in the quiet, higher-lying passages is certainly compensatory, and her full-toned way with block chords is remarkable.

At the age of 22, Yuja Wang has already reached a level of pianistic and musical sophistication matched by very few of her contemporaries. In a cannily selected programme for her recording debut, Wang reveals an abundance of admirable qualities. Among them is an instinctive feeling for piano sonorities. She takes a clear delight in the colours of the piano, but always with a logical musical purpose in mind. One example is the first movement of the Scriabin Sonata, where she captures the rippling, iridescent right-hand figurations to perfection. Another is the limpid singing tone with which she shapes the middle section of Chopin's Funeral March, not to overlook her uncanny control of pianissimo in the tricky figurations of the 'wind over the graves' finale . . . a very auspicious début. More, please!

Yuja Wang is one hell of a pianist . . . she has all the equipment to be one of the most exciting pianists of her generation . . . I urge you to hear this disc. Unquestionably, Yuja Wang is a pianist to watch.

It's hard to believe that such a fragile-looking young (22-year-old) woman has the stamina and power to play like this. The highlight of her stunningly recorded disc is an outstanding version of Liszt's Sonata, the final pages of which are almost as electrifying as Horowitz's famous recording. Two short studies by Ligeti are tossed off with tremendous élan . . . this is a remarkable debut disc and a name to watch.

. . . a weighty program that showcases both her muscular technique and her poetic gifts. She brings the requisite excitement to the opening of Chopin¿s tumultuous Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor and imbues the ensuing Scherzo with wistful longing. The chordal progressions unfold with stately grandeur in the Funeral March . . . Ms. Wang plays the Scriabin with improvisatory flair and brooding passion. Also included here is a powerful performance of Liszt¿s mighty B minor, in which Ms. Wang combines impressive virtuosity with a singing touch . . . That last performance is especially dazzling, the multiple voices emerging with crystalline clarity over shimmering torrents of notes.

A young Chinese pianist makes Chopin shine . . . The highlight is a passionate performance of Chopin's Piano Sonata No.2 . . .

. . . [Yuja Wang] has produced as stunning a debut disc as I ever expect to hear. I'm thrilled, first of all because she's so good . . . Yuja Wang delights in showing she can play very softly, and renders whenever possible everything in subtle pastel shades . . . for me it makes a work I find it easy to dislike, so much more . . . musical. This fragile-looking little butterfly . . . [will] go far. On this evidence, she is already a mature artist.

She has a big technique, an even bigger talent, big vision, a big personality . . . This debut disc is in many ways a sensational achievement . . . [an] almost frighteningly high-voltage account of the Chopin . . . The Liszt has many striking and moving things . . . Particularly fine is the Scriabin . . . the best thing of all are the two diabolically difficult Ligeti etudes, which Wang plays stunningly, and amusingly. It's one sign of her talent and imagination that it's inclusion and positioning of these two hugely different works that make this unforgettable recital work at all . . .

The 22-year-old pianist . . . has already generated considerable buzz in the keyboard world, and it's easy to understand why. Eschewing the easy road for her debut release, she tackles five technically daunting works by composers ranging from Liszt to Ligeti, performing with virtuosic panache and an artful maturity usually expected of a more seasoned soloist.

Brilliant meisterte sie den horriblen Solopart in Sergei Prokofjews Klavierkonzert Nr. 2 mit katzenhafter Geschmeidigkeit im Laufwerk und spritziger Akzentuierung. Wer nach diesem Auftritt befürchtet, hier sei ein weiblicher Lang Lang im Kommen, dem kann die Début-CD der Pianistin empfohlen werden. Da ist nämlich noch deutlicher zu hören, dass zum Artisitischen auch Musikalsiches tritt . . .

Was für ein Persönchen! Was für eine Persönlichkeit! Im blutroten Kleidchen verbeugt sich eine 22-Jährige artig vor dem Publikum, und dem bleibt beim frenetischen Applaudieren vor Verblüffung der Kiefer unten. Eben ist ein Wirbelsturm über die Tasten gefegt, von einer Angriffigkeit, Kraft und Ausdauer, die Prokofjews horrendem zweitem Klavierkonzert mitunter nur im Stehen beizukommen schien. Aber wie souverän! Der Taifun heisst Yuja Wang und stammt aus China. In diesem Zürcher Konzert Ende April war zu erleben, was die junge Frau vielleicht zur wirklichen Hoffnung . . . macht: Blosse Tastenlöwenmanier ist ihre Sache nicht. Die Energie ihres Spiels entlädt sich zwingend in die Bewältigung der Struktur und der grossen musikalischen Linien, verpufft nie im Effekt. Das gilt auch dort, wo sie Chopin und Liszt mit natürlicher Schlichtheit aushorcht -- zu hören im Débutalbum für die Deutsche Grammophon . . .

Mit erstaunlicher Kraft und Virtuosität hat die 22 Jahre alte chinesische Pianistin Yuja Wang ihr Debüt . . . eingespielt.

. . . [ihre Debüt-CD] präsentiert eine brillante Pianistin, die den Ansprüchen des pianistischen Virtuosenfutters gewachsen ist: Ob die atemlos galoppierenden Achtel im Kopfsatz der Chopin-Sonate, ob die Doppelgriffe in der linken Hand von Ligetis teuflisch vertrackter Etüde "Fanfares" oder auch die Prestissimo-Oktaven in der Stretta von Liszt h-Moll-Sonate, das alles weiß Yuja Wang mühelos zu bewältigen . . . [man hört], mit welchem Klangsinn Wang die lyrischen Abschnitte der Sonate interpretiert, wie viel Dolce-Seligkeit sie darin entdeckt, ohne gleich das ganze Parfum-Fläschchen auszugießen . . .

Yuja Wang spielt die Chopin-Sonate mit sehr viel Gefühl für die Struktur, nicht so sehr fürs Gerüst als vielmehr für die einzelnen Melodiestränge. Chopins Musik erklingt sensibel und poetisch, filigran und natürlich . . . Yuja Wang versteht es, allen russischen Klischees zu entgehen und eine Hauch von französischem Impressionismus in ihr Spiel mit einfließen zu lassen, was der Musik unwahrscheinlich gut tut . . . Eine wirkliche Entdeckung!

Die bekennende Schuhfetischistin bedient trittfest das Pedal und vermag mit der teuflisch schweren Ligeti-Etüde wie der hammerhart gegarten 2. Skrjabin-Sonate . . . technisch reif zu überzeugen.

Yuja Wang ist eine hochbegabte Pianistin mit erstklassiger Technik und einer fundierten musikalischen Ausbildung . . . Diese kleinen Ligetis gelingen ihr auch am besten, knackig frech und funkelnd, charmante Moderne mit Biss . . .

Die 135 Sekunden der zehnten Etüde von Ligeti lassen sogleich vermuten, dass in den zarten Fingern . . . Sehnen aus Stahl stecken müssen . . . [Chopin B flat minor Sonata]: fulminant die stürmischen Passagen nach den einleitenden Grave-Akkorden wie die Forte und die Forte-Fortissimo-Steigerungen am Ende des Satzes . . . Pianistisch flüssig . . . das aus leise-murmelnden Passagen hervorwachsende Geprassel des finalen, nicht überhetzten Presto.

Die 23-jährige, heute in New York lebende Chinesin besticht durch Temperament und Klangkultur: Ihre Petruschka-Version wirkt ebenso kraftvoll wie brillant, und in Brahms' Paganini-Variationen findet sie einen poetisch beseelten Ton. Ihr Glanzstück ist Ravels "La Valse". Wie Wang den Walzertaumel ins Groteske dreht: stark.

Auch Yuja Wangs zweites CD-Recital für die Deutsche Grammophon verschlägt einem durch die fantastische Mischung von schier grenzenloser manueller Gewandtheit und harmonischer Musikalität den Atem . . . Die mühelos wirkende Leichtigkeit ihrer Klavierbehandlung und die traumhafte Sicherheit, mit der sie die Umrisse jedes Stücks klanglich perfekt nachgezeichnet hat, haben pianistisches Ausnahmeformat.