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Concert Review

Minnesota Orchestra review: Spain sweet but Mozart memorable

  • Twin Cities.com

“Wang vividly brought out all of the gentleness, grief and exuberance that Mozart packed into this exquisite concerto. And she blended beautifully with the Minnesota Orchestra, which sometimes can put too much Beethoven into its Mozart and overpower soloists. Rarely did Wang fight to be heard, Mena helping bring a becomingly light touch to the music.”

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Mena Does Better In Ginastera II

  • Classics Today 8/10
“The finale offers a gloss on the last movement of Chopin’s Second Piano Sonata, itself almost dodecaphonic, and under Wang’s fingers both the reference as well as Ginastera’s own characteristic energy project vibrantly. Indeed, the entire work sounds especially convincing in this performance, from the opening variations onwards…They do the composer proud. A fine release.”
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Ginastera Orchestral Works 2 – Panambi; Piano Concerto No.2 Xiayin Wang; Manchester Chamber Choir; BBC Philharmonic; Juanjo Mena Chandos CHAN 10923

  • Gramophone

Xiayin Wang is jaw-droppingly impressive. She makes music out of even the most jagged phrases, and the BBC Philharmonic outclass all of the recorded competition in both finesse and commitment. I’d always thought of this work as inferior to the more popular First Concerto; this recording has made me seriously reconsider that opinion.”

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Ginastera Orchestral Works 2 – Panambi; Piano Concerto No.2 Xiayin Wang; Manchester Chamber Choir; BBC Philharmonic; Juanjo Mena

  • The Whole Note

Xiayin Wang’s elegant and sonorous performance of the Second Piano Concerto (1972) will be a surprise for anyone who associates the composer with pianistic bombast. Her crisp, even touch in both the perpetual motion, repeated-note scherzo and the prestissimo triplet finale is remarkable, yet so is her balance of complex chords and gradual pacing in the tread-like build of the slow movement to a crisis point. e first movement is the most dissonant and complex. Succeeding movements are more accessible; textures and sounds fascinate throughout.”

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Streaming Audio Review

  • Fanfare Magazine

“[Xiayin Wang] and Juanjo Mena are entirely on the same page when it comes to bringing this music to life.” 

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(++++) PIANOS PLUS

  • Infodad
Xiayin Wang tackles this very difficult work with aplomb and no apparent strain on a new Chandos release, and she is quite effectively backed up and abetted by the BBC Philharmonic under Juanjo Mena. This concerto is scarcely an endearing work and not one that listeners are likely to take to heart, but it is filled with unusual twists and turns and makes for more-satisfactory intellectual than emotional enjoyment.”
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ENDNOTES, November 2016

  • Quarterly Review
“The new CD also contains a recording of the Second Piano Concerto, with Xiayin Wang – a Chinese soloist who seems to have taken the world by storm, from Costa Rica to Carnegie Hall. A difficult, intensive and technically demanding piece, the Concerto gives the soloist a true challenge, with variations galore, and a vast range of percussive sonorities reminiscent of Bartok– but the whole half-an-hour of its time-span brilliantly brought into one powerful focus, thanks to Juanjo Mena’s conducting and his clear belief in such an unknown masterpiece.”
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Recording of the Month

  • Gramophone

“Soloist Xiayin Wang embeds herself firmly in the orchestral texture but, unlike in the Copland concerto, the piano remains a fully distinctive, individual element too with its own voice that debates, even contends with the orchestra. After the appassionato of the opening movement, the second movement canzone begins with…”

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The Wonder of Wang

  • Ilona Oltuski

“Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 2 and Khachaturian Piano Concerto Tchaikovsky was unlucky with his pianists – at least until now. Nikolai Rubinstein, the intended dedicatee of the First Concerto, declared it unplayable. Yet it went on to become one of Tchaikovsky’s most popular works. The Second was…”

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