Artist: Yundi Li
Title: Chopin: Ballades, Berceuse, Mazurkas
Release Date: 2016
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Adored by millions of fans for his Chopin playing, Yundi continues his dedication to the composer with an album of Ballades.”
Yundi, the Chinese dazzling pianist acclaimed by the Wall Street Journal for his — poetic depth and patrician elegance — continues his award-winning exploration of the works of Chopin with a new recording of the Ballades, and by embarking on a major international tour. If precedent is a guide, both are expected to cause massive excitement among his fans.
For his new all-Chopin recording, Yundi performs the Opus 17 set of four Mazurkas, the Berceuse (Op 57), and all four Ballades. The latter works were composed between 1831 and 1842, and contain some of the composers most operatic writing, as well as his most challenging technical demands.
With his forensic, lyrical poeticism underpinned by a phenomenal technique, Yundi has become one of the most admired performers of Chopin in recent years. In 2000, he was he the first Chinese performer ever to win the prestigious Chopin Competition. He was also (at eighteen) the youngest winner in the history of the event, and the first player in fifteen years to be granted first prize. In 2015 Yundi accepted the great honour of returning to the competition in the capacity of an adjudicator (becoming the youngest judge in the competitions history) alongside other luminaries of the keyboard world including Martha Argerich, Dmitri Alexeev and Garrick Ohlsson.
Following his 2015 release of Frdric Chopin’s Prludes on Deutsche Grammophon, Yundi Li continues his survey of the Polish master’s works with the Four Ballades, the Berceuse in D flat major, and the Four Mazurkas, Op. 17. Yundi’s album is part of his ongoing Chopin Project, which has the appearance of being his life’s work, so closely is he associated with this music. In keeping with Chopin’s preferences, Yundi plays with calm introspection and flexibility in his phrasing, which gives the music a spontaneity that avoids formulaic Romantic clichs. Most importantly, Yundi’s use of rubato and his dynamic adjustments are appropriate to the music’s flow and not employed for sentimentality or showmanship. Instead, Yundi gives the lyrical Ballades room to breathe, and the tugging of the tempo is always at the service of expression, rather than effect. To sample Yundi’s exquisite treatment of line and pacing, the poetic opening of the Ballade in F major, Op. 38 (track two) is a good place to start. But for a livelier example, the Mazurka No. 1 in B flat major shows the pianist in fine form. –AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
- Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 23 – 9:33
- Ballade No.2 in F, Op.38 – 7:31
- Ballade No.3 in A Flat, Op.47 – 7:31
- Ballade No.4 in F Minor, Op.52 – 11:48
- Berceuse in D Flat Major, Op. 57 – 4:32
- 4 Mazurkas, Op.17: No.1 in B Flat Major – 2:29
- 4 Mazurkas, Op.17: No.2 in E Minor – 2:02
- 4 Mazurkas, Op.17: No.3 in A Flat Major – 5:34
- 4 Mazurkas, Op.17: No.4 in A Minor – 5:00