- Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58, CT. 203
- Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise for piano & orchestra, Op. 22
- Etude for piano No. 2 in A minor, Op. 10/2, CT. 15
- Etude for piano No. 5 in G flat major, Op. 10/5, CT. 18
- Etude for piano No. 23 in A minor, Op. 25/11, CT. 36
- Nocturne for piano No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 9/1, CT. 108
- Nocturne for piano No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 9/2, CT. 109
- Nocturne for piano No. 5 in F sharp major, Op. 15/2, CT. 112
- Fantasy-Impromptu for piano in C sharp minor, Op. 66, CT. 46
There is no question as to Yundi Li's technique. When this recording was made in 2001, Li was a mere 19 years old, but from the evidence on this disc, he was already a formidable technician. The extravagant technical difficulties of the repertoire -- Chopin's "Sonata No. 3," several of the etudes, and the Andante spianato et grande polonaise -- are dispatched with skill and panache from the most delicate arabesques to the thunderous double octaves in contrary motion. Although there have been many other pianists who have played these works as well or better from a technical point of view, Li's performances stand up well in their company. But for all of his maturity as a technician, Li's interpretations are still those of a youth. The deeper meaning of the "Sonata No. 3" -- its awe-inspiring harmonic structure and its formalization of fear and courage in the opening and closing movements -- are wholly beyond Li. The transcendent elegance of the Andante spianato and the radiant joy of the grande polonaise are merely graceful and cheerful in Li's interpretations. And his three "Nocturnes" are not so much emotional, seductive, and beautiful as they are sentimental, playful, and pretty. With his amazing technique, Li may develop into an amazing pianist. But one hopes that he grows as an interpreter as well.
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Chopin Recital based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Yundi Li was born in Chongquing in central China. Like many musicians, his penchant for music became apparent in early childhood. One day, when he was three years old, he was so fascinated by a man playing an accordion in a shopping mall that he refused to leave the mall. At the age of four, he started learning to play the accordion. When he was seven, he asked his parents to let him have piano lessons. At the age of twelve, Li gave the best performance in a fiercely competitive selection process and thus earned himself a place at the top music school in Sichuan province. About a year later, when Li's teacher decided to take up a post at the School of Arts in Shenzhen, southern China, Li's family moved in order to allow the young prodigy to continue his studies in Shenzhen. The tuition at this school was expensive, and Li's mother had already given up her job in order to supervise the boy's education. However, Li had won numerous scholarships and awards which enabled him to afford the fees. At thirteen, Li won the Stravinsky Competition in the United States. He went on to take First Prize at the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition in the United States and Third Prize at the Franz Liszt Piano Competition in the Netherlands, as well as being a major winner in the Second China International Piano Competition in Beijing. At just eighteen, Yundi Li won the first prize at the Frederic Chopin Competition held in Warsaw in October 2000. He is believed to be the youngest winner of this prestigious contest which has been held every five years since 1927.
I had just seen and heard Yundi Li in concert and was floored by his impressive talent. Someone sitting nearby told me that I would also be impressed by his recordings. It was a huge understatement! This young man has talent to spare and shows it in every way on every track. I have ordered all of his recordings.