Critic Timothy Mangan from the Orange County Register reviews several new recordings, including ones by Yuja Wang and Daniil Trifonov.
Here’s Yuja Wang again, not in a little red dress, but fashionable all the same, in a halter-style top and long flowing skirt, the midriff bare, a come-hither look on her face. “YUJA,” it says, in big letters across the front of the album. This is the way she’s going to be sold, at least for a while, the sex kitten of classical music. We ought to take her seriously, though.
Her latest recording for Deutsche Grammophon features the two piano concertos of Ravel, the one bright and jazz-inflected, with more than a nod towards Gershwin, the other, for the left hand alone, darker and more ruminative, composed for the one-armed pianist Paul Wittgenstein. Both require a certain degree of sophistication and suavity, nicely met here by Wang, 28, and Lionel Bringuier, 29, who leads his Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich.
And then there’s Trifonov with a new Rachmaninoff recoding….
The Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov, 24, winner of both the Rubinstein and Tchaikovsky piano competitions and the object of critical hosannas the world over, gave one of the more amazing recitals your reviewer has ever heard earlier this year. It climaxed with a performance of all 12 of Liszt’s “Transcendental Etudes,” some of the most difficult pieces in the repertoire, dispatched with a blinding technique and musical verve hard to credit if you hadn’t been there.
Trifonov’s new recording for Deutsche Grammophon is devoted to Rachmaninoff, for whom the pianist confesses a particular passion. Included is a solo piano piece by Trifonov himself, “Rachmaniana,” written when he was 18 and feeling homesick. It’s a suite of five short mood pieces which sound as if Rachmaninoff had taken lessons from Ravel.