Yuja Wang: The Berlin Recital

Recording of the Month  December 2018

Artist photos © Peter Adamik

Yuja Wang’s meteoric rise to global stardom has been one of the most extraordinary stories of the piano world over the last decade.

When her debut CD for Deutsche Grammophon was released back in 2009 she was barely in her 20’s and many (me included) raised their eyebrows at her choice of programme, opening with Chopin’s monumental B flat minor Sonata and squeezing in performances of Scriabin’s 2nd Sonata and two Ligeti Etudes before finishing with Liszt’s Sonata in B minor. As it turned out, she performed all these with aplomb, her Liszt in particular being among the very best readings recently committed to disc.

Since then, the Chinese virtuoso has recorded concerti by Rachmaninov, Prokofiev (perhaps the most emotionally gripping performance I’ve yet heard of his grief-ridden 2nd Concerto), Ravel and Mendelssohn. Her solo discs Transformation and Fantasia have delighted fans, and she has lit up the world’s greatest concert halls with her technically explosive and musically rapt playing.

Now she’s back with a new recording. The Berlin Recital was recorded live at the Berlin Philharmonie Kammermusiksaal in June 2018, and features a bedazzling programme of music by Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Ligeti and Prokofiev.

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It’s an easy choice for Recording of the Month. Let’s investigate…

Continue reading Yuja Wang: The Berlin Recital

LCM ‘In Concert’ anthology

Sheet Music Review

London College of Music Exams may be less well known to readers than the ABRSM and Trinity College London boards which I have written about previously, but that may be about to change. Certainly LCM offer a very wide range of different assessments for piano players – according to David Barton in this excellent blog post:

“I estimate that LCM offer nearly 20 different options for pianists at 15 different levels, right from the earliest stages of learning, through to the Fellowship of the London College of Music (FLCM). The range of options now available is fantastic; I feel enormously lucky to be teaching at a time when the needs of a diverse range of learners of all ages is finally being met by examination boards, led, in my view, by LCM. We live in exciting times, and it will be interesting to see what options continue to develop in the future.”

And it isn’t just in the area of examinations that LCM are looking to innovate and lead the way, but also in the area of publications…

When new Publications Officer David Duncan told me that he hopes to significantly shake up their publications, I quietly thought to myself ”thank goodness, as their previous efforts haven’t been particularly user friendly, well edited, or attractively presented.

That said, nothing prepared me for the extent and speed with which LCM Publications would reinvent itself: their new collection of selected works from their Piano Diploma syllabus has taken my breath away.

Put simply ’In Concert is an extraordinary achievement, and in a completely different league from LCM’s previous published efforts. And whether of not you are interested in LCM’s Diploma exam, this is a highly desirable new collection for players looking for interesting and diverse repertoire at this level.

Let’s take a closer look…

Continue reading LCM ‘In Concert’ anthology