How many superlatives does it take to accurately describe classical pianist Yuja Wang’s brilliant solo piano recital at the Massry Center? I don’t know, but there aren’t enough words in this reviewer’s vocabulary to fully describe what 300-plus witnesses in the audience experienced that Saturday night.
Just 24 years old, Wang possessed beauty, grace and passion on the stage that night. The fashion model-gorgeous Wang wore a lovely black gown in the first set and a seductively expressive red one in the second. She was the personification of the word “beauty.”
Wang’s approach to playing the un-amplified grand piano was that of a seasoned concert pianist with the confidence and grace of a true master of the instrument. She was in charge, and the piano was her foil – whispering, singing or screaming with the controlling touch of her fingers.
Ah, Wang’s remarkable passion was in evidence every moment of the performance. Her intimate knowledge and flawless execution of the dynamics within each composition by Alexander Scriabin, Sergei Prokofiev and Franz Liszt, was breathtaking. No one that young should be on a first name basis with the spirits of the composers, but Wang certainly was. They weren’t just looking down from heaven, they were all grinning and patting each other on the back at the conclusion of Wang’s performance.
The same goes for the encores by Prokofiev and Liszt by way of Schubert. Wang aced them all flawlessly. In the world of brilliant pianists, Chinese-born Yuja Wang is one of the shinning stars on her way to possibly become another Rubenstein, Gould or Horowitz.
If you were in attendance, count your lucky stars that you were there to experience a great, world-class artist still on her way up the ladder to fame, fortune and making musical history.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
B.A. Nilsson’s review at Metroland
Priscilla McLean’s review at The Times Union
Excerpt from Geraldine Freedman’s review at The Daily Gazette: “Wang cut a still figure at the keyboard. She sat with her back very straight and displayed a natural kind of ease. This poise got a bit tossed aside for Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 6 in A Major. Massively difficult, it uses the entire keyboard and demands as much from the pianist as it does from the piano. The four movements range from big, bold, brash and unapologetic to a sparkling fleetness. The first movement was dark and percussive, with a heavy, rugged landscape. Wang laid down a heavy touch for the ponderous chords. The second movement was drier, with a poetic singing. The third was quick and fleet and the finale tight, hard-edged and very fast, like gnomes playing. This evolved into an expansive cathedral of sound. Wang was fabulous.”
YUJA WANG SET LIST
Alexander Scriabin’s Prelude in B major, Op. 11, No. 11
Alexander Scriabin’s Prelude in B minor, Op. 13, No. 6
Alexander Scriabin’s Prelude in G sharp minor, Op. 11, No. 12
Alexander Scriabin’s Etude in G sharp minor, Op. 8, No. 9
Alexander Scriabin’s Poeme in F sharp major, Op 32, No. 1
Sergei Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 6 in A major, Op. 82
Franz Liszt’s Sonata in B minor
Liszt’s Gretchen am Spinnrade