Xiayin Wang: American Piano Concertos

Chandos’s star pianist plays US concertos in Glasgow

Author: 
Jeremy Nicholas
CHSA5128. Xiayin Wang: American Piano Concertos

Xiayin Wang: American Piano Concertos

  • Concerto for Piano and Orchestra
  • Concerto for Piano and Orchestra
  • Concerto for Piano and Orchestra

Premiered in 1927, Copland’s Piano Concerto was described by one critic as ‘a jazz dance hall next to a poultry yard’, by another as ‘a harrowing horror from beginning to end’. Today the only passages that raise an eyebrow are Copland’s jejune attempts to assimilate jazz rhythms into his musical vocabulary (he himself admitted in a 1985 interview, ‘Actually, I wouldn’t know how to write a real jazz piece’). Nevertheless, he and Leonard Bernstein make these completely convincing in their 1964 recording. Oundjian is too literal here, often making Copland sound like bad Gershwin (or a send-up of it). His woodwinds are in a different part of the sound picture to the piano, disengaged from their dialogue with the soloist. Both recordings boast suavely lyrical accounts of the serene first movement.

Barber’s electrifying and athletically awesome Concerto (1962) opens the disc. You only have to hear the soloist’s first entry to know that in Xiayin Wang you have a virtuoso with all the power and pizzazz to encompass the work’s demands – and more. She leads from the front, with Oundjian giving the percussion and brass sections their head. It’s an exhilarating ride which does not relax its grip from beginning to end – and the Chandos sound packs a real punch. The same goes for the Gershwin Concerto. Occasionally you wish for a little more heart from the soloist, but then you get it – touchingly so – at the end of the slow movement. This is a fine, detailed and stylish account of this much-recorded work that can sit confidently among the best.

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£64/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe
From£64/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe
From£64/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2017