Notes & Reviews:
In her new release, Chinese guitarist Xuefei Yang performs the most famous concerto for her instrument: Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez. Recorded in Barcelona in July, 2010, Xuefei's performance alongside the Orquestra Simfonica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya, harkens back to the 1939 premier of this great work by the same Orchestra. Coupled with this famous concerto is a new concerto based on arrangements of four works by the guitar master, Albéniz, whose 100th anniversary it was in 2009. The arrangements of these four works are by the composer Stephen Goss, who is also responsible for the beautiful solo arrangements of Chinese folksongs on Xuefei's most recent album: 40 Degrees North.
Classic FM Magazine
Concierto de Aranjuez has been recorded countless times, but Xuefei Yang brings her own exuberant individuality to it, demonstrating brilliant, fleet-fingered technique in the outer movements and a subtle flamenco earthiness in the romantic second movement that you don't often hear...she captures all the sunshine and dusty clamour of the music.
Xuefei Yang's touch throughout this programme of Spanish pieces is stunning, with nimble fingering of trills and runs, and subtly emotional phrasing in the slower passages...Albeniz's "Espana" suite offers Yang space to display her full solo talents, using a guitar with a more mellifluous, rounded Spanish tone.
Thanks to Yang's synthesising mind, of which her frightening technical fluency and musical intelligence are but two manifestations, this programme works a treat. The Rodrigo concerto is replete with that barely contained explosiveness that recalls Argerich at her best
The performances won't please all ears: clipped, stark and with a hard sound from the Elias Quartet. It works best in the slow movements, where the strings bring out the sinuous false-relations, and when they temper their austerity with nimble articulation and cheery ornaments. The guitarist, too, seems to shirk from romanticising the music in any way. But it's all done with crystalline clarity.
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