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Offline milk

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Yuya Wang review.
« on: March 05, 2020, 08:52:33 PM »
I don't know Yuya Wang's music but I thought this article was funny and interesting.


REVIEW: The virtuoso pianist offers an unusual program and appears flustered by audience behavior.

Yuja Wang stopped by Segerstrom Concert Hall on Thursday night for a friendly little Philharmonic Society piano recital and those who were there won’t soon forget it. She made an impression. I mean more than usual.

It’s difficult to know where to begin, so let’s start where she did, walking on stage in a tight, white mini dress and a pair of stiletto heels trying to set a world record. There couldn’t have been a husband in the house who was sorry to have been dragged there.

Her bow looked as if it would have caused whiplash in a lesser person and then she sat down to play … well, most everyone couldn’t have known what. That’s because Wang had put together a strange, elaborate and brainy program — mixing and matching lesser known works by Brahms and Chopin (intermezzos and mazurkas), Berg and Scriabin (sonatas), Ravel, Bach, Galuppi and Mompou (assorted pieces) — and then making an announcement, just before climbing on those stilettos to walk out, that she wouldn’t be performing them in the order listed, but in any damn order whim took her.


Photo courtesy of Kirk Edwards

Yuja Wang

So there. Pity the poor program note writer (a good one) who constructed her notes so as to explain the various comparisons and contrasts of these pieces in the original order put forward. Pity the poor listeners in attendance (my guess is the majority of them) who didn’t know these pieces well or at all and so had no idea what they were hearing all night long. As I was walking out at intermission, I heard one man, turning to the person next to him, ask, “Was that a mazurka?” Wang had just played Bach’s Toccata in C minor, BWV 911.

It can be good to listen to music without any preconceptions, of course. But a great deal of the point of Wang’s program seemed to be based on knowing what was what, on knowing that this was Scriabin’s Fourth Sonata and, that’s interesting, it sounds quite a lot like Berg’s Sonata. Oh well.

As it happened, she did open with the first movement of Baldassare Galuppi’s Sonata No. 5 (as the program said she would), a simple and lovely Andante in the galant style that she played with bejeweled tone and supple phrasing. For those keeping score, she then jumped to Ravel’s “Une barque sur l’ocean,” in a sumptuous yet technically dazzling reading, and then Mompou’s Satie-like “Secreto,” soft and slow, then softer and more distant, played through a chorus of coughing.

It was a prelude of things to come. There was clapping between pieces and Wang didn’t seem to mind, until she did. The audience didn’t seem to quite settle in all night, perhaps because they were confused about what they were hearing, and were fairly cough-prone, I suppose, but it’s hard to say if it was more than normally so. (Alfred Brendel once told me that he thought Southern California audiences coughed more than any in the world, because of the smog.)

At any rate, during the second half of the program, now wearing a long, canary yellow dress, she was making her way through a set of Brahms intermezzos and Chopin mazurkas and everyone was reverentially quiet between numbers, not clapping. As it should be. After the third one, though, clapping broke out, and this clearly threw Wang. It took her a long time to settle down to the next piece, and she put her hands up and then down from the keyboard before finally starting.

It is, of course, impossible to know what was going through her head, but when a chair scraped loudly on the floor during a dramatic silence in Scriabin’s Fifth Sonata, she threw her head back as if in disgust.

None of it, I should quickly say, came out in Wang’s performance. It was a stupendous night of piano playing and musicianship, from first to last. The two Scriabin sonatas were vehemently dispatched in an awesome display of virtuosity. Berg’s Op. 1 Sonata was given a warm and fluid account, bringing out, rather than Expressionistic agitation, a kind of gorgeous delirium.

To the Bach Toccata she brought all the tools a piano, as opposed to a harpsichord, can supply, giving it symphonic dimensions. She limned the melodies in Chopin’s mazurkas in elegant tracery while bringing snap to the rhythms; in the late Brahms she was beefier and richly melancholic.

She remains, to this listener, among the greatest pianists working today.

After the closing Scriabin’s Fifth, she left stage quickly and wouldn’t come back. The crowd kept clapping and stood around looking puzzled. The house lights didn’t come on (signaling that the performance was over), so some of us kept clapping.

Finally, Wang came out, stood by the piano with what appeared to me a very displeased look, executed a whiplash bow and left. No encore for you!

Timothy Mangan is a contributing writer for Arts & Culture at Voice of OC. He can be reached at timothymangan5@gmail.com

https://voiceofoc.org/2020/02/yuja-wang-displays-virtuosity-and-temperament-for-a-puzzled-segerstrom-audience/

Offline Traverso

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Re: Yuya Wang review.
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2020, 08:36:46 AM »
I don't know Yuya Wang's music but I thought this article was funny and interesting.


REVIEW: The virtuoso pianist offers an unusual program and appears flustered by audience behavior.

Yuja Wang stopped by Segerstrom Concert Hall on Thursday night for a friendly little Philharmonic Society piano recital and those who were there won’t soon forget it. She made an impression. I mean more than usual.

It’s difficult to know where to begin, so let’s start where she did, walking on stage in a tight, white mini dress and a pair of stiletto heels trying to set a world record. There couldn’t have been a husband in the house who was sorry to have been dragged there.

Her bow looked as if it would have caused whiplash in a lesser person and then she sat down to play … well, most everyone couldn’t have known what. That’s because Wang had put together a strange, elaborate and brainy program — mixing and matching lesser known works by Brahms and Chopin (intermezzos and mazurkas), Berg and Scriabin (sonatas), Ravel, Bach, Galuppi and Mompou (assorted pieces) — and then making an announcement, just before climbing on those stilettos to walk out, that she wouldn’t be performing them in the order listed, but in any damn order whim took her.


Photo courtesy of Kirk Edwards

Yuja Wang

So there. Pity the poor program note writer (a good one) who constructed her notes so as to explain the various comparisons and contrasts of these pieces in the original order put forward. Pity the poor listeners in attendance (my guess is the majority of them) who didn’t know these pieces well or at all and so had no idea what they were hearing all night long. As I was walking out at intermission, I heard one man, turning to the person next to him, ask, “Was that a mazurka?” Wang had just played Bach’s Toccata in C minor, BWV 911.

It can be good to listen to music without any preconceptions, of course. But a great deal of the point of Wang’s program seemed to be based on knowing what was what, on knowing that this was Scriabin’s Fourth Sonata and, that’s interesting, it sounds quite a lot like Berg’s Sonata. Oh well.

As it happened, she did open with the first movement of Baldassare Galuppi’s Sonata No. 5 (as the program said she would), a simple and lovely Andante in the galant style that she played with bejeweled tone and supple phrasing. For those keeping score, she then jumped to Ravel’s “Une barque sur l’ocean,” in a sumptuous yet technically dazzling reading, and then Mompou’s Satie-like “Secreto,” soft and slow, then softer and more distant, played through a chorus of coughing.

It was a prelude of things to come. There was clapping between pieces and Wang didn’t seem to mind, until she did. The audience didn’t seem to quite settle in all night, perhaps because they were confused about what they were hearing, and were fairly cough-prone, I suppose, but it’s hard to say if it was more than normally so. (Alfred Brendel once told me that he thought Southern California audiences coughed more than any in the world, because of the smog.)

At any rate, during the second half of the program, now wearing a long, canary yellow dress, she was making her way through a set of Brahms intermezzos and Chopin mazurkas and everyone was reverentially quiet between numbers, not clapping. As it should be. After the third one, though, clapping broke out, and this clearly threw Wang. It took her a long time to settle down to the next piece, and she put her hands up and then down from the keyboard before finally starting.

It is, of course, impossible to know what was going through her head, but when a chair scraped loudly on the floor during a dramatic silence in Scriabin’s Fifth Sonata, she threw her head back as if in disgust.

None of it, I should quickly say, came out in Wang’s performance. It was a stupendous night of piano playing and musicianship, from first to last. The two Scriabin sonatas were vehemently dispatched in an awesome display of virtuosity. Berg’s Op. 1 Sonata was given a warm and fluid account, bringing out, rather than Expressionistic agitation, a kind of gorgeous delirium.

To the Bach Toccata she brought all the tools a piano, as opposed to a harpsichord, can supply, giving it symphonic dimensions. She limned the melodies in Chopin’s mazurkas in elegant tracery while bringing snap to the rhythms; in the late Brahms she was beefier and richly melancholic.

She remains, to this listener, among the greatest pianists working today.

After the closing Scriabin’s Fifth, she left stage quickly and wouldn’t come back. The crowd kept clapping and stood around looking puzzled. The house lights didn’t come on (signaling that the performance was over), so some of us kept clapping.

Finally, Wang came out, stood by the piano with what appeared to me a very displeased look, executed a whiplash bow and left. No encore for you!

Timothy Mangan is a contributing writer for Arts & Culture at Voice of OC. He can be reached at timothymangan5@gmail.com

https://voiceofoc.org/2020/02/yuja-wang-displays-virtuosity-and-temperament-for-a-puzzled-segerstrom-audience/


Thank you for posting this,I read it with  great fun.

Offline milk

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Re: Yuya Wang review.
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2020, 06:05:49 PM »
Thank you for posting this,I read it with  great fun.
You’re welcome. I like the Seinfeld reference.  :laugh:

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Yuya Wang review.
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2020, 07:56:31 PM »
I think Yuja Wang’s rash decision to all of a sudden change the program order is silly and really uncalled for. When you go see two NFL teams play, do they all of sudden decide to play only one quarter and that whoever wins that one quarter wins the game? No, they play four quarters because that’s what the game requires them to do. If you setup a program, make the audience aware of such program, and then, all of a sudden, change it and expect your audience to be receptive to it, then that’s really poor professionalism on her part. I realize that there are people that are there because they perhaps think it’s some kind of social obligation and this is the way it is with any classical concert, but to those that are there to hear the music and expecting the music to be played as it was presented by Wang, I just think this was a misjudgment on her part. I never really thought highly of her to begin with, but I think even less of her now.

I hate to use another musician as an example but when Hilary Hahn shows up to perform, there was a program that was decided upon and that’s what she performs. She doesn’t change it or tell an audience the order of the performances are now different. No, this doesn’t happen because she’s a class act.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2020, 08:09:48 PM by Mirror Image »
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline milk

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Re: Yuya Wang review.
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2020, 09:52:43 PM »
I think Yuja Wang’s rash decision to all of a sudden change the program order is silly and really uncalled for. When you go see two NFL teams play, do they all of sudden decide to play only one quarter and that whoever wins that one quarter wins the game? No, they play four quarters because that’s what the game requires them to do. If you setup a program, make the audience aware of such program, and then, all of a sudden, change it and expect your audience to be receptive to it, then that’s really poor professionalism on her part. I realize that there are people that are there because they perhaps think it’s some kind of social obligation and this is the way it is with any classical concert, but to those that are there to hear the music and expecting the music to be played as it was presented by Wang, I just think this was a misjudgment on her part. I never really thought highly of her to begin with, but I think even less of her now.

I hate to use another musician as an example but when Hilary Hahn shows up to perform, there was a program that was decided upon and that’s what she performs. She doesn’t change it or tell an audience the order of the performances are now different. No, this doesn’t happen because she’s a class act.
She certainly started a conversation. I’ll give her that. But, yeah, I’d like to be able to follow what’s going on and that seems like the agreement. Unless she warns everyone before. Seems like she gets a lot of press for stuff that’s not music-related. Is her performance about her or the music?

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Yuya Wang review.
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2020, 09:58:29 PM »
She certainly started a conversation. I’ll give her that. But, yeah, I’d like to be able to follow what’s going on and that seems like the agreement. Unless she warns everyone before. Seems like she gets a lot of press for stuff that’s not music-related. Is her performance about her or the music?

I honestly don’t know what was going through her mind. Well, if it was about the music, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. ;) I think it’s unfortunate when someone of her status makes headlines with these kinds of stories, because, IMHO, it causes more harm to her own public image than anything else.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2020, 10:03:50 PM by Mirror Image »
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline milk

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Re: Yuya Wang review.
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2020, 04:13:57 AM »
I honestly don’t know what was going through her mind. Well, if it was about the music, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. ;) I think it’s unfortunate when someone of her status makes headlines with these kinds of stories, because, IMHO, it causes more harm to her own public image than anything else.
I'm interested in the relationship of the performer to the music and what makes a performer successful. Like, the kind of performer I tend to follow - who delves into one composer or genre or period deeply. Maybe that's a kind of focus and academic avenue. This is opposed to some young performers who play smatterings of different things. So, then, they're not spending their time investing themselves into some study and illumination of something in particular. They're trying to be successful as someone who plays the "greats." I'm sure there's room for all kinds but I don't quite get the latter type so much.
Anyway, Wang seems like she's famous as an "all 'round" concert pianist. I saw an interview with her where she talked about how she knows this piece and that piece of music like the back of her hand. Something seems a little shallow about that. On the other hand, who am I to judge? People seem to appreciate Wang quite a bit so she must have some great qualities. But I don't know her idea in courting controversy and the choices she makes. Maybe she will learn from her mistakes as she has a long career ahead of her. 

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Yuya Wang review.
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2020, 07:50:30 AM »
I'm interested in the relationship of the performer to the music and what makes a performer successful. Like, the kind of performer I tend to follow - who delves into one composer or genre or period deeply. Maybe that's a kind of focus and academic avenue. This is opposed to some young performers who play smatterings of different things. So, then, they're not spending their time investing themselves into some study and illumination of something in particular. They're trying to be successful as someone who plays the "greats." I'm sure there's room for all kinds but I don't quite get the latter type so much.
Anyway, Wang seems like she's famous as an "all 'round" concert pianist. I saw an interview with her where she talked about how she knows this piece and that piece of music like the back of her hand. Something seems a little shallow about that. On the other hand, who am I to judge? People seem to appreciate Wang quite a bit so she must have some great qualities. But I don't know her idea in courting controversy and the choices she makes. Maybe she will learn from her mistakes as she has a long career ahead of her.

I’ve read a good bit about Wang and I know enough about her to make the decision to avoid her concerts and ignore her career in general. She’s not a seriously deep musician like many pianists who have come before her: Argerich, Richter, etc. These are musician’s musicians. They get up onstage and there’s a dialogue that happens between the interpreter, the composer’s spirit (wherever it may be), and the audience. For me, this is the kind of musician that I want to see in concert. You can leave to the prima donnas to someone else who cares more about appearance than actual musicality.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline some guy

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Re: Yuya Wang review.
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2020, 02:05:38 PM »
One, it's Yuja.

Two, I would say that I care about musicality, and from what I've heard, Yuja Wang is a fine musician.

Three, I also think that she can dress however she likes. I go to concerts and buy recorded music primarily for the music itself, but I like well-designed album covers. And beautiful women as well. It is possible to enjoy several different things at once.

Offline Brian

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Re: Yuya Wang review.
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2020, 03:11:28 PM »
Three, I also think that she can dress however she likes. I go to concerts and buy recorded music primarily for the music itself,
The portion of the article about her fashion choices was disagreeable. Ms. Wang can wear what she wants and she exercises that right with considerable flair. Good for her. If I were a touring soloist of great fame, you couldn't force me to wear a tux every weekend.

Ms. Wang's clothing is also not an indication of her seriousness as a musician and can't be interpreted that way.

The rest of the article was entertaining. Personally I've contemplated the idea of a recital proceeding in surprise order - but maybe with announcements or a program written on white board with markers.

Offline San Antone

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Re: Yuya Wang review.
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2020, 04:38:32 PM »
My understanding is that she played the same works that were programmed, just in a different order.  The Scriabin was played first as opposed to later in the program.  I am not sure why this is such big bugaboo.  Whatever.  She can play what she wants, when she wants.  The audience will have to keep up.

Also, anyone who thinks that Yuja Wang is not serious pianist because of the clothes she wears is making a pretty superficial judgment.

Offline Baron Scarpia

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Re: Yuya Wang review.
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2020, 08:42:51 PM »
My understanding is that she played the same works that were programmed, just in a different order.  The Scriabin was played first as opposed to later in the program.  I am not sure why this is such big bugaboo.  Whatever.  She can play what she wants, when she wants.  The audience will have to keep up.

Also, anyone who thinks that Yuja Wang is not serious pianist because of the clothes she wears is making a pretty superficial judgment.

I can see how a person not intimately familiar with the repertoire would prefer to know of the order of the program. They might hear a piece they like and struggle to figure out what it was. 

Online Mandryka

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Re: Yuya Wang review.
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2020, 05:09:29 AM »
My understanding is that she played the same works that were programmed, just in a different order.  The Scriabin was played first as opposed to later in the program.  I am not sure why this is such big bugaboo.  Whatever.  She can play what she wants, when she wants.  The audience will have to keep up.


Uchida did this once in recitals which were billed as Schubert followed by an interval followed by Schoenberg or Webern. Of course there were people who were planning on leaving after the interval, including me. But she swapped things round, once you were in, there was no easy way to escape the Schoenberg.

For me it was a major experience, I found myself enjoying the Schoenberg far more than the Schubert, much to my surprise at the time.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Christabel

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Re: Yuya Wang review.
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2020, 02:50:38 PM »
One, it's Yuja.

Two, I would say that I care about musicality, and from what I've heard, Yuja Wang is a fine musician.

Three, I also think that she can dress however she likes. I go to concerts and buy recorded music primarily for the music itself, but I like well-designed album covers. And beautiful women as well. It is possible to enjoy several different things at once.

Some people are intense music-lovers and that is their main concern.  They don't care so much about album covers or what a musician/s wear, but they are probably wary of narcissism and the tendency to "look at me" rather than hear the music.  Wang is an exhibitionist, like so many of her generation, and these types usually have difficulties transitioning into non-exhibitionism and away from pouting narcissism.

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Yuya Wang review.
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2020, 04:35:09 AM »
But it's not an either/or - it's possible to be both a fine musician and a pouting narcissist.  Plus, most exponents of the performing arts are exhibitionists to some extent - it goes with the territory.  If the performance gets in the way of the music, it's possible the fault lies at least in part with the beholder, who after all could easily listen with eyes closed.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Yuya Wang review.
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2020, 04:45:00 AM »
But it's not an either/or - it's possible to be both a fine musician and a pouting narcissist.  Plus, most exponents of the performing arts are exhibitionists to some extent - it goes with the territory.  If the performance gets in the way of the music, it's possible the fault lies at least in part with the beholder, who after all could easily listen with eyes closed.

I tend to agree with you.  What was Paganini with his flowing locks and the trick of snapping his e-string on the very last moment of spell-binding virtuosity but a narcissist - whether he pouted as well I cannot say.  Part of performance has to include some element of physicalisation.  Personally when players flail around like a tree in a hurricane and emote every quaver it annoys me but as you say "look away now"!  The only aspect that concerns me is for musicians now (regardless of gender) is the fact that how they look is becoming more and more significant.  I get that we needed to move away from the look of musicians as over weight old men but neither should model-like good looks be the gateway to success.

Offline Irons

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Re: Yuya Wang review.
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2020, 02:19:43 AM »
Interesting discussion. It is a fact that most of the music I listen to is not only composed, but also performed by dead people. I see the "bright young things" on the covers of some currently released CDs and tend to degenerate them because the performers being so young and fresh-faced which is of course ridiculous. I have no problem with an artist changing an order of a programme, as Scarpia makes the point this can work out in a positive way. But not to inform your audience of what you are about to play is showing a complete disregard for them, a sneering contempt - If you know what I'm playing, good for you. If you don't you should not be here anyway. 

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Offline Daverz

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Re: Yuya Wang review.
« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2020, 02:54:40 AM »
Some people are intense music-lovers and that is their main concern.  They don't care so much about album covers or what a musician/s wear, but they are probably wary of narcissism and the tendency to "look at me" rather than hear the music.  Wang is an exhibitionist, like so many of her generation, and these types usually have difficulties transitioning into non-exhibitionism and away from pouting narcissism.

Misogynist crap.

Offline milk

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Re: Yuya Wang review.
« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2020, 05:57:12 AM »
Misogynist crap.
It's hard to say though. You don't think a male performer who changed the order around and refused to give an encore, or who showed up in sunglasses, would raise some hackles? I don't follow Wang's repertoire really so I can't tell how much of a genius she is.

Offline Brian

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Re: Yuya Wang review.
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2020, 06:56:35 AM »
narcissism and the tendency to "look at me" rather than hear the music.  Wang is an exhibitionist, like so many of her generation, and these types usually have difficulties transitioning into non-exhibitionism and away from pouting narcissism.
As a 30 year old, I feel this post is intended to provoke me into anger.

1. "the tendency to "look at me" rather than hear the music"
What do you call Karajan?? Let alone "look at me" artists like Horowitz etc. who place themselves before the composers.

2. The word "exhibitionist" now connotes a person who enjoys having, ahem, "adult relations" in front of other people. Not a person who is fashionable.

3. "pouting narcissism" uhhh what pouting?

4. Ultimately, your little rant boils down to your conviction that people should not wear what they want, and should instead wear what you want. I'm glad they ignore you.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2020, 07:00:24 AM by Brian »