Today's technology gave us the opportunity to watch musicians play our favorite music other than just listening. This is what this DVD is good for.
This time we are able to watch this entire concerto on our home system plus a surprise bonus for us to enjoy.
The first one is the sextet by Mendelssohn. Most of the time, chamber music are musical composition written by the composer, and also plays by the composer with his/her group of friends for their own enjoyment. The audience who happens to like the music is a by-product.
We can watch from this DVD as if we are in participation, and how I wish I could be one of them. Yuja is the leader of the group. The leader cum conductor in this DVD is the person who played the viola (David Carpenter). They communicate with each other by eye movements. At the end, they are all so happy with themselves because they just played a beautiful piece of music for their own enjoyment, not you, not me. Everyone smiled, especially the cellist(Sol Gabetta).
The second piece in the DVD is the anchor piece : Mendelssohn's first piano concerto.
I am assuming Mendelssohn is a wonderful pianist himself. If you have the sheet score like I do, and you read the sheet music while listening to this Concerto, you will find more intricacy of the concerto than just listening. Otherwise, just lay back, relax and enjoy the very spirited Yuja Wang pours her heart out. In my humble opinion, this concerto should always be played by a young and happy person (young like Yuja who is only 22 of age at the time of recording in 2009). Too bad Yuja is not partnered with a better conductor such as Abbado instead of Masur. I am biased, but Kurt Masur is not my favorite conductor.
The third piece is Mendelssohn's Symphony no. 3. I consider this as a "stuffing" to fill up the remaining of the DVD. The producer is trying to avoid us from complaining that the DVD is too short. No matter, it's there. I just ignored it.
The final bonus piece is a "piece de resistance". It is a solo recital by Yuja playing Igor Stravinsky's very famous Petrushka. Wonderful!
The Stravinsky's Petrushka is a fine testimony of Miss Yuja Wang talent. Within a bar, one can already tell that this going to be fun, good music. The interpretation is flawless. The technique is as incredible, better than a lot of the so called "greats". This is a real bonus.
Well, Yuja is right now one of the hottest pianist and she has to performs close to 100-200 live concerts a year to get through her commitments. Her repertoire is huge, and it is always an enjoyment to listen to her recitals. I have lost count of how many times I listened to her Prokofiev Piano Concerto no.2 on my iPod with Charles Dutoit conducting...
Needless to say, this is a DVD for keeps.
On the whole, Yuja came through beautifully. The mood is correct, the technique is very good. She also sings through the entire concerto !! Singing is very crucial for the understanding of the music. If an instrumentalist cannot vocalise the music, it often is an indication of the performer's lack of interest or the understanding of the music. Even Claudio Abbado sings through out all of his Mahler Symphonies, and sang out loudly during the "Firebird Suite", and of course, everyone know how Glenn Gould plays :-)
One day, I will bet my bottom dollar that Ms. Yuja Wang will be one of the world's greatest pianists. She is young now, fast and very energetic. Seldom makes any mistakes.
I really hope you will enjoy it. Give it a try. I wouldn't return mine but you could, so there is nothing to loose.
Happy listening ! And a very Happy Holiday Seasons !!!