Xuefei Yang

Sojourn: The Very Best of Xuefei Yang

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Xuefei Yang has established herself as one of the world's leading classical guitarists, and even though her discography might seem too small to provide material for a greatest-hits collection, Sojourn: The Very Best of Xuefei Yang is an excellent introduction to her work. The album is organized in three categories, reflecting key aspects of her repertoire: five pieces by J.S. Bach, a pair of Chinese miniatures, and a block of Spanish classics and popular favorites, some of which are among the most beloved pieces composed for the instrument. Yang's manner of expression tends toward introspection and precise musicianship, so even though she is capable of playing flashy pieces, she tends to favor the calm moods of Bach, as in Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring; Air on the G string; and the Prelude in C major (backed in these chamber arrangements by the Elias String Quartet), and the poetic imagery of China in The Butterfly Lovers and Plum Blossoms in the Snow. Even so, she provides some examples of her technical skills in Tárrega's Variations on Carnival in Venice and Recuerdos de la Alhambra, Albéniz's Tango, and Sainz de la Maza's Zapateado, though these pieces also reveal the subtleties of Yang's playing, rather than surface virtuosity. The recording gives Yang great presence and clear sound, and the polished production of EMI and Warner Classics makes this an enjoyable album for quiet listening.

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