Yuja Wang Fantasia
Yuja Wang’s ‘Fantasia’ may be a this-and-that recital (including lavish tributes to Horowitz and Cziffra, two of the 20th century’s ultra-virtuosos) but whatever dazzles and delights is here in super-abundance. Wang is clearly one of the major talents of our time and her playing throughout is of an astonishing verve, style and dexterity. Hear her in Rachmaninov’s A minor ‘Red Riding Hood’ Etude, Op 39 No 6, where, opening with a ferocious growl, she sets the stage for playing of extreme virtuosity. The E flat minor Etude from the same opus may seem speedy and lightweight when compared to Horowitz and Cliburn (at his most magisterial and heartfelt) and her way with Albéniz’s ‘Triana’ may not class her among the Spanish piano aristocracy (Alicia de Larrocha, Luis Fernando Pérez, Esteban Sánchez and Rafael Orozco) but her Scarlatti is a glory of brilliance and piquancy.
In Victor Staub’s arrangement of Dukas’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice she runs the legendary Argerich/Rabinovitch two-piano disc a close second and her selection of early Scriabin is wondrously fiery and poetic as required. In the Saint-Saëns-Horowitz Danse macabre Wang storms the heights and her playing is of an unquenchable virtuosity. She herself declares all these pieces to be among her most cherished encores, and she has been superbly recorded in them. And those who also buy recordings for such things will be enchanted by DG’s presentation: there are seven photographs of Yuja Wang.