- Sonata for keyboard in E major, K. 380 (L. 23) "Cortège" - Domenico Scarlatti - Fred Munzmaier - Yundi Li - Yundi Li
- Sonata for keyboard in G major, K. 13 (L. 486) - Domenico Scarlatti - Fred Munzmaier - Yundi Li - Yundi Li
- Piano Sonata No. 10 in C major, K. 330 (K. 300h) - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Fred Munzmaier - Yundi Li - Yundi Li
- Carnaval for piano, Op. 9 - Robert Schumann - Fred Munzmaier - Yundi Li - Yundi Li
- Rhapsodie espagnole (Folies d'Espagne et jota aragonesa), for piano, S. 254 (LW A195) - Franz Liszt - Fred Munzmaier - Yundi Li - Yundi Li
There's a deliciously old-fashioned appeal to Yundi Li's Vienna Recital, with its program moving from the Baroque through the Classical and Romantic eras, from repose and restraint to fiery virtuosity. Recorded in the wonderfully alive acoustics of Vienna's Musikverein concert hall -- though it's not taken from a live performance -- Li's recital gives us a heavy dose of the 19th-century repertoire, an area where he's already staked a commanding claim on three albums devoted to Chopin and Liszt. But first, Li offers a refreshing taste of his other wide-ranging talents; whether or not these samples of Scarlatti and Mozart happen to be teasers for more extensive recording projects, they certainly succeed in whetting the listener's appetite for more of the same. In Mozart's Piano Sonata in C Major, K. 330, Li spins out captivatingly crystalline ripples of sound in the outer movements, but it's the melancholy poetry of the central Andante cantabile that lingers most in the memory. Following upon the balanced self-possession of Mozart, the headstrong volatility of Schumann's Carnaval seems all the more revolutionary: Listen to this CD to instantly understand the distance between the 18th century and the 19th. Li's stirring performance of Carnaval successfully navigates Schumann's high-strung emotional shifts, savoring each dreamy digression while bringing an invigorating clarity to the contrasting details of articulation, rhythm, and phrasing that mark the sequence of 20 miniatures. If Liszt's Rhapsodie espagnole satisfies our desire for virtuoso display at the recital's end, it also reminds us of Li's ability to give an individual and subtle reading of a flashy showpiece, paying as much attention to color and texture as to speedy fingerwork. Li's best recording to date, the Vienna Recital offers irrefutable evidence that this young pianist is one of the finest and most interesting on the scene today.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Yundi Li is a curiousity of sorts. Unfairly compared with Lang Lang, Li has maintained a dubious reputation as technical craftsman with a heavy handed emphasis on percussiveness. Note, for example, the rather dry intonation of the introductory Scarlatti sonatas. The acoustics within Vienna's Musikverein hall make the piano sound brittle and rather clangy. Li also takes a rather pedestrian view of Mozart's K330 sonata, opting for less demonstrative ornamentation so that there is little mood or depth of feeling. Overall, Schumann's Carnival is played with virtousic bravura, but is shallow and lacks depth. There is little imagination in the breadth and scope of this work. Separately each piano piece is played with precision and very fine intonation, but again the percussiveness of the harder toned sections overwhelm the lighter, more romantic phrases. It is probably the Lizst Rhapsodie Espagnole that disappoints the most. This listener was almost under the impression that Mr. Li was attempting to "charge the fences" in attempting to close the piece with a rousing finale. In sum, Yundi Li, like his contemporary Lang Lang, is best suited for the big toned bombastic works of Lizst and Prokofiev. It is bewildering why DGG would release three so-called "recitals" by Mr. Li: Chopin Recital, Liszt Recital, Vienna Recital, but all which maintain a visionless, directionless path to nowhere. The word "recital" means to recite from memory. It appears to this listener that Mr. Li displays incredible memorization of technique and virtuosic finesse, yet he lacks the intuitive gifts and sensitivity to fit each of his works into an organic whole.