11/07/2018 Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

REVIEW: Rachmaninoff by Ching-Yun Hu

6af9b776-73f3-4ae8-8117-e470e2c61bc5

 

 

Rachmaninoff by Ching-Yun Hu

Review by Donald Hunt

Five Stars

 

 

Recorded in February 2018, pianist Ching Yun-Hu presents a self-released album of a composer that has had a prominent place in her repertoire since she was 12: Sergei Rachmaninoff. This album is a love letter of sorts to Rachmaninoff as this is the 145th anniversary of his birth.

 

The album begins with his Etudes-Tableaux, Op. 39, a set of technical piano pieces that go well beyond what is expected of an etude. These etudes run the gamut for a pianist in its technical and interpretive demands, and Hu brings the story Rachmaninoff was trying to tell to life. The etudes require a relentlessly flawless command of the left and right hand, which Hu does with a clean, sensitive touch.

 

In perhaps his most famous composition, Hu performs a Zoltan Kocsis arrangement of Vocalise. The work has one of those singing lines that transports the listener into an immediate pleasurable state, no matter which instrument is performing. Hu delivers more of the tension in the harmonic counterpoint while seamlessly allowing each melodic phrase to flow.

 

Hu’s cheery interpretation of Rachmaninoff’s piano transcription of the Preludio from Bach’s Partita in E Major is a high-point on this disc. This is apparent as it’s the only non-Rachmaninoff composition, which gives Bach an even greater chance to stand out than usual.

Learn more about this album: chingyunhu.com

Preceding a dream-like arrangement of Rachmaninoff’s Lilacs, the album closes with his Sonata in B-flat minor, Op. 36. This sonata is one with multiple personalities established throughout its 40-minute timeframe. In an interesting tidbit, Rachmaninoff was never fully satisfied with this sonata. This level of doubt comes through in the frenzied manner of his sonata, and Hu distinguishes those moods beautifully.

 

Rachmaninoff is one of those composers that all top-level pianists programme entirely around because his output to the piano world is overwhelming. This album by Hu, winner of the 2008 Arthur Rubenstein International Piano Master Competition, is essential listening for Rachmaninoff admirers.

 

Watch the album trailer below:

 

 

 

Back to News

11/07/2018 Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Pianist magazine announces new partnership with Yamaha featuring acclaimed pianist Noriko Ogawa

Six stunning piano lesson videos are to be released alongside the next six issues of Pianist. ...


Composer Kaada masterfully stuns with brand new album – Closing Statements

Kaada's new release is breathtakingly raw; an album he claims to be 'one of the most enjoyable records to ...


60 vital tips for all pianists

60 short, effective pieces of advice for players of any age and level ...


Warner Classics and Askonas Holt partner to welcome Eric Lu to their respective rosters

The winner of the 2018 Leeds International Piano Competition to release the first single from his debut album ...


Other News

American pianist Eric Lu wins The Leeds International Piano Competition

The American pianist took home the prize at Saturday's night's competition final, held at Leeds Town Hall. ...


Lie-down and Listen: A unique classical music concert designed to benefit well-being launching this month

Pianist Christina McMaster is launching a lying down concert on September 21 in London. ...


Q&A with Serbian pianist Aleksandar Madzar

The Serbian pianist talked to us about his key advice for young pianists, and mentioned his exciting upcoming ...


Pianist James Willshire delights York crowd with mesmerising performance of 'Ten New Debussys'

The British pianist lit up York Unitarian Chapel, much to the delight of the expectant crowd. ...