Album: Yuka Wang, Rachmaninov (Deutsche Grammophon)

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The Independent Culture

For her first orchestral recording, the brilliant pianist Wang has chosen two pieces by Rachmaninov, sumptuously realised with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra under Claudio Abbado.

She tackles the popular "Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No 2" with an ease that betrays her deep familiarity with the material; but it's the confident way she deals with the challenging "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini", which used the violinist's formidable "Caprices" as the basis for Rachmaninov's own series of 24 variations, that most impresses here. The early variations are a dizzying parade of skittish manoeuvres and more serene reflections that build to the big bustle of "Variation X". It's all hand-led with industrious grace by Wang.

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