Promoting the unknown, a continuing series
(Actually this interpretation is far better known than the others included in this post (and it’s far better known than the pieces I generally choose to include in posts like this), but I’d never even heard about Yuja Wang before I watched this so I’ll assume some of my readers are also unfamiliar with this pianist. There’s a weird yell by the conductor around the two minute mark; I’ve never heard anything like that before during a concerto – the commenters seem to thinks it’s a tempo adjustment request (‘slower’?), which makes sense. Anyway the rest of the concerto is quite wonderful, and nothing similar happens during the rest of the concerto.)
Update: When I wrote the post I as mentioned had never heard about Yuja Wang. I’m always hesitant to evaluate pianists based on my first experience of their works – I know that sometimes I’ll change my opinion dramatically on account of having heard a piece multiple times; sometimes flaws and imprecisions only become completely obvious to me after I’ve heard a piece a couple of times. Since I posted this post I decided at one point to have a closer look at her stuff, and at this point I now feel that I’ve heard enough of her stuff to draw some conclusions. The main conclusion to draw is that she’s not just a pretty face who’s okay at playing the piano – she is in fact a truly remarkable and incredibly talented pianist, who happens to also be quite beautiful (at least to me). The funny thing was that I was hesitant at first to know what to think in part due to the many dislikes her videos get on youtube; it’s common for her videos to get 10 percent or so dislikes, compared to likes; check out any Horowitz or Gilels video and you’ll see that that’s a high ‘dislikes’ to ‘likes’ ratio for a video like that – it’d have to be a really bad performance. At this point, after I’ve checked out some of her material online, I sort of feel that I have to assume that a significant proportion of the dislikes her videos get on youtube is due to the very fact that she happens to be a young and beautiful woman; her abilities are simply extraordinary, and I frankly am somewhat surprised these people even feel qualified to judge the quality of her material. And nope, that’s not just the halo effect talking – remember that I’ve been playing this instrument for almost a couple of decades, just as she has (and do note that the Halo effect, at least in my case, goes both ways; it’ll also make me consider her to be more attractive if she happens to be a very accomplished pianist…). For example I’d deem her Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 as right up there with my old Van Cliburn interpretation; and that’s simply as good as it gets.
I’m really happy to have ‘discovered’ her. Most of the great pianists I know are either (very) old or (very) dead. She is neither, she’s in fact younger than I am, and she’s a pure joy to (/watch and) listen to.
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