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David Denton
David's Review Corner, December 2007

In an age when we suspect editors are stitching together recordings one bar at a time, it is good to see the incredible Tianwa Yang faultlessly producing in a 'live' concert the most amazing display of virtuosity in two of Sarasate's outrageous showpieces. Still only twenty, and with eyes closed throughout, this young Chinese musician and her violin have become totally joined up. As she goes through every technical hurdle in the Habanera and Capricho vasco you begin to wonder if there is anything she could not do. That she undertakes these challenges, often at hair-raising speed, is remarkable, that she performs them without blemish and with impeccable intonation is truly extraordinary. Those pieces surround Sarasate's Playera where she displays her silky tone, the three tracks sufficient to buy this concert recorded in London's Wigmore Hall last May to celebrate the 20th year of Naxos. It showcases some of its stable of performers in 'Virtuoso Music of the 19th Century', the stage being set for Yan's brilliance with the appearance of the highly experienced Ilya Grubert who won the Helsinki Sibelius Prize thirty-seven years ago. After a nervy start he too shows a formidable array of technique in Ernst's Fantaisie Brillante on themes from Rossini's Otello immaculately accompanied by Christopher Hinterhuber, who returns with a well played piano solo by Ferdinand Ries, Fantasy after Schiller's poem 'Resignation'. Wolf Harden's contribution is less outgoing, the difficulties of Busoni's Toccata better recognised by pianists rather than the thrill-seekers. The disc opens with Konstantin Scherbakov playing the Consolation and Rapsodie espagnole by Liszt. Pity the silhouette of the microphones is present on the backdrop to the stage, otherwise the pictures and sound is typical of a 'live' concert. At this price a most pleasing purchase.

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