Top positive review
Yuja + Gustavo = 10 stars, and more!
May 25, 2019
I bought this recording initially because I am from Venezuela, and had the privilege to be invited to Gustavo Dudamel's debut concert as conductor, a few weeks before I moved to the USA. More later.
Comes in Yuja Wang. I fell in love right away with Yuja's extraordinarily elegant, yet energetic piano playing. I try to avoid glowing superlatives in my reviews, but, for me, Yuja Wang is the most elegant playing piano performer I've heard in many years, if not in my whole lifetime; and she plays the most challenging piano literature with such an ease and flawlessness that it's almost out of this world. With right she is considered by many as the best pianist of our present times. Unfortunately only a few recordings are available, most of them live from her recitals. I recommend anyone to go on YouTube and watch her playing there. It's worth it. No distracting mannerisms, no stiffness, but all concentration and focus on the music she plays. She is famous for playing in risque mini-dresses and stiletto heels and gets a lot of criticism and trolling for that, but I agree that we are in the 21st century, have tough competition from the Pop Scene, and the times when classical music performers had to look like sad birds on a rainy day are definitely over. In addition, the harmony in which her whole body works together when she is playing is worth to watch, and explains how she plays the most difficult literature with such elegance and ease, and then walks away from the stage as energetic and fresh as she came in. I used to be concert performer myself, and can tell how energy draining a recital can be.
Back to Gustavo Dudamel. In the moment I write this review Venezuela is making a lot of sad news, and Mr. Dudamel himself got into a nasty dilemma of conscience and lost his job with El Sistema. Political turmoil aside, however, Venezuela is -outside "oil and beautiful women"- the Italy of South America when it comes to natural musical talent of her people, and the world got lots of fine musicians from there. Gustavo Dudamel is one of them; he was gifted with a natural talent and the rest is recent history. The results can be heard in his many performances conducting world class orchestras, like in this recording. The Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra is lucky to have him as Conductor.
Yuja and Gustavo- good job...! You deserve 5 stars each; and 5 more for the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra; 5 more for the quality of this recording = 20 starts in total. Very, very recommended.