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Fantasia by Yuja Wang

December 28, 2012

Fantasia represents Yuja Wang‘s fourth album for Deutsch Grammophon and when you look at the booklet with the track listing it’s spontaneous to define it a collection of miniatures, of bravura pieces she usually plays as encores at her concerts: this is highly entertaining music and a showcase for Yuja’s sparkling pianistic skills. We find four étude-tableau from her beloved Rachmaninov, three préludes by Scriabin alongside longtime popular staples like Horowitz’s variations on a theme from Bizet‘s Carmen (you will find an excerpt of it at the and of this post) and Staub’s arrangement of L’apprenti sorcier by Paul Dukas or Saint-Saëns‘ Danse Macabre.

There is a lot of criticism going around Yuja’s choices both dressing and recording, and while it’s hard to try to defend the former I consider the latter quite appropriate for a pianist who’s only twenty-five: the great pages of piano music aren’t going anywhere and there are a lot of magnificent and meaningful interpretations already available on disc, Yuja’s technical skills are undeniable and when she will reach full maturity as a person and as a pianist that will be the time to record those pages and to face the great pianists of the past, by then I guess her wardrobe will have improved too, in the meantime this CD contains much to enjoy.

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