Lionel Bringuier / Yuja Wang / Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra

(Digital Download - Deutsche Grammophon #)

Review by Blair Sanderson

As a concerto soloist, Yuja Wang is best known for playing the Russian blockbusters of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, and Prokofiev, but this all-French album from Deutsche Grammophon reveals her talents in a different light. Maurice Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major and his Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D major are among the most effervescent in the repertoire, and Wang sparkles with charm and energy, sometimes giving a feeling of being lighter than air when playing with the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, under the direction of Lionel Bringuier. Most of the magic may be in Ravel's carefully voiced scoring, which creates space around the piano and makes it completely audible, but Wang deserves credit for her controlled touch, seemingly effortless virtuosity, and elegant phrasing, which are always in evidence, even in the more frenetic passages. Gabriel Fauré's Ballade in F sharp major is a solo piano piece that provides a palate cleanser between the concertos, and here Wang offers an intimate reading that is both rich in sonorities and transparent in all its details.

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