Monday, January 17, 2011

Awards 2010: Solo Instrumental

"Transformation" - music by Stravinsky, D Scarlatti, Brahms, Ravel
Yuja Wang

"Altogether one of the most stimulating recitals I've heard this year", according to Calum MacDonald in BBC Music Magazine, who notes "keen, speculative intelligence... in many aspects of her playing, complemented by a fairly staggering technique". "Time was", Bryce Morrison reminisces in Gramophone, "when many celebrated pianists quailed before certain works... Yuja Wang makes light of even the fiercest complexity... This entire recital leaves you in no doubt that at 23 Yuja Wang is already among the most brilliantly gifted of today's pianists". Jeremy Siepmann in International Record Review goes perhaps a bit further: "she is already a great artist - a perfectly stunning virtuoso, a poet (both lyric and epic), a dramatist, a painter, an acoustical lighting engineer of astonishing skill and imagination - and self-evidently a thinker... this is one of the most remarkable and illuminating piano recordings ever to come my way".
The runners-up in this category include last year's Concerto Award winner, Danny Driver, with another York Bowen disc, as well as the final installment of Jean-Efflam Bavouzet's Debussy series (which has also featured among the runners-up in 2009 and 2008), a volume of Imogen Cooper's Schubert, and - proving that the piano is not the only instrument - James Ehnes's second recording of the Paganini Caprices.

Schubert: "Live, volume 2". Imogen Cooper [Avie]
Bowen: Piano sonatas. Danny Driver [Hyperion]
Debussy: Piano music volume 5. Jean-Efflam Bavouzet [Chandos]
Paganini: 24 Caprices. James Ehnes [Onyx]

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