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Piano Music: Poems Waltzes D

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Product Details

  • Performer: Xiayin Wang
  • Composer: Scriabin Alexander
  • Audio CD (May 26 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ncl
  • ASIN: B0020LSWVQ
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #72,945 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Numbered among the musical elect of her generation, the multi-award-winning Xiayin Wang presents a recital of piano music that virtually spans Scriabin' career. The mysterious impressionism of Vers la flamme builds to an exhilarating intensity that i

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa9684bd0) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8b87f90) out of 5 stars (-) Well-Chosen, Partly Perceptive Scriabin Compilation Nov. 5 2009
By C. Pontus T. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
There is no question the reports about millions of Chinese children learning to play the piano are now resulting in a rapidly increasing number of professional pianists of Chinese origin. Xiayin Wang, a graduate of the Shanghai Conservatory, came to New York in 1997, but her career in the West only took pace the last few years. This represents her record debut on a 'major' label--which Naxos probably has to be called now, given its extensive worldwide distribution.

Scriabin's piano music more often than not is fiendishly difficult to bring off--on this disc represented by the Polonaise, Fantaisie and Vers la flamme. It is also uniquely beautiful, such as the Opp 32 & 41 Poems and the marvelous Op 38 Valse. Ms Wang deserves praise for her unusually well-chosen programme. As accurately pointed out by Scott Morrison, Wang is mostly successful in the more dreamy numbers--Opp 32/1, 41 & 52--whereas there is an overall shortage of adrenaline and forward momentum elsewhere. Moreover, she apparently struggles with the structure, myriad notes and multiple voices of the Polonaise (sample the middle G-flat-major section at 1:46) and above all the massive B-minor Fantaisie, where she gets more or less lost--and where her tone turns rather ugly in fortissimo passages (e.g. 5:02 and 8:27); that said, I have to give her the latter's second, D-major motif is gorgeously done (from 1:43).

Truly masterful Scriabin playing is hard to come by. Hamelin, Glemser and Sudbin come closest amongst modern pianists--whereas the names of Horowitz and Richter likely always will retain their place in collections of Scriabin's piano music. Lettberg's near-complete 8-disc survey is not quite great but good enough to be in a prominent position in any piano connoisseur's discography.

Even though I find it hard to appreciate Bryce Morrison's recent claim that 'Wang plays all this music with a special brilliance and refinement', I do agree there is enough perceptive playing here to make one 'look forward to hearing her in a wide range of repertoire'--although this is a far less auspicious 'debut' than that of the other Wang, forenamed Yuja. Alas, Xiayin Wang is not helped by the rather clangy engineering attained at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York.

REFERENCES: Lettberg, Fantaisie--Glemser, Valse--Sudbin, Vers la flamme--Horowitz
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8b88a74) out of 5 stars Good News, Bad News June 23 2009
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Xiayin Wang (not to be confused with the better-known emerging Chinese pianist, Yuja Wang) has had the clever idea to record a CD of Scriabin piano pieces played in chronological order, beginning with two charming Chopinesque waltzes written when he was fourteen, and ending with Deux Danses, Op. 73, from the last year of his life. And much of the playing here is quite good. The little waltzes from his youth are played with charm and grace. The Polonaise in B Flat Minor, Op. 21, has the right amount of swing. But the big Fantaisie in B Minor, Op. 32, admittedly a loosely constructed work that can be hard to hold together, comes across as awkward, not thoroughly digested by Ms Wang. When we get to the Two Poems, Op. 32, one begins to hear more of the idiosyncratic and impressionistic Scriabin, but again there is some discrepancy in Wang's playing. The first Poem is simply gorgeous; the second -- the more dramatic of the two -- is played too bluntly, too brusquely. The same can be said for both the Poème tragique, Op. 34, and the Poème satanique, Op. 36. One gets the impression that Ms Wang is more comfortable in the dreamier, more soft-edged pieces as in her lovely playing of the Poème in D Flat Major, Op. 41. And so it goes.

The best known piece here -- and appropriately suggested as a theme of the entire album by Wang, whose booklet notes are helpfully informative -- is 'Vers la flamme' ('Toward the Flame'). This late piece has all of Scriabin's mysticism, his unique harmonies, his suggestions of darkness and brilliant points of light, and the beating of moths' wings. And Wang plays it beautifully, capturing its evanescent moods.

The CD ends with the Deux Danses, Op. 73, which came immediately after 'Vers la flamme', and they continue the exaggerated stillness and periods of manic activity of that work. Again, Wang is at her best.

To sum up: Wang's performances are somewhat uneven. There are patches of awkwardness and seeming incomprehension in the more overtly dramatic, flamboyant pieces. But she seems to relate best to the more static, harmonically elliptical works and does them well. She is given true-to-life piano sound by her engineer/editor Leszek Maria Woycik.

Scott Morrison
7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8b88c78) out of 5 stars Wonderful pianist, great choices Sept. 12 2009
By M. Flynn - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Recording is well made. Selections are a nice array of Scriabin's piano works. Xiayin Wang's playing is energetic, inspired, technically brilliant.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By EDWIN LARACUENTE - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
5 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8b88c90) out of 5 stars Scriabin Piano Music Dec 8 2009
By John Berger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I bought this CD because Ms. Wang was coming to Honolulu and I knew I would be meeting her. I was not disappointed by her performance on this CD nor by her performance in concert.

To elaborate: Her interpretations of Scriabin's melodies are soothing and relaxing as background music, yet also sufficiently intricate and engaging to reward attentive listening when the mood strikes.