Piano Concerto No.2 in G minor, Op.16
Piano Concerto in G
Yundi Li (piano)
Recorded May 2007 in Philharmonie, Berlin
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: June 2008
CD No: DG 477 6593
Duration: 51 minutes
The second movement is scintillating and incisive – daringly fast, too – but the third movement is rather too relentless (this coupled with a recording that has now become too up-front and over-emphasising of the ‘head-banging’ aspects of this concerto). The finale, too, gabbles away. Fine, Yundi Li can play it like this – no problem – and he has a Rolls-Royce orchestra and conductor with him at every turn … but phew! At least the beguiling folk-like melody offers some balm (from 2’16”, but a shame about the all-too-audible edit at 2’34” and the other ‘clunky’ joins in places – including between movements) before we’re off again for a swelling reprise of the plaintive melody and then a hard-driven if always pin-point grandstand finish.
It’s all terrific stuff, to be sure, but one wonders if the recording really does Yundi Li justice; he must have played quieter than this at the concerts! I’m not sure how many times this in-your-face rendition will (could) be aired – for all the musicianship and technical bravura on offer – but the Ravel is the pearl here (one of the best versions, nearly challenging the classic Samson François/André Cluytens taping on EMI). For the Ravel alone, Yundi Li’s disc is recommended, the Prokofiev a red-blooded bonus.