Norman Lebrecht on shifting sound worlds
Today’s inscription reads: ‘To dearest Norman. Love, Yundi.’ The disc is out tomorrow, timed for Yundi’s Royal Festival Hall recital.
Watch this go wild on Weibo.
Yundi seems to have taken up the theremin. He’s that talented!
I remember an absurd comment to an entry from last year stating that Yundi’s career was all but dead. Well look at him now, piano pundits.
Sold out concerts and Berlin Philharmonic recording isn’t too shabby.
Yundi Li has imagination as well as technique, verified by his having won in 2000 the Chopin Competition, like Pollini, Argerich and Zimerman. He was still playing brilliantly when heard in Tokyo in 2008 (Prokofiev 2nd), Edinburgh in 2011, and (poorly programmed) Munich in 2012.
The other one is just a machine, heard in Los Angeles in 2001 (Chopin E-Minor), Aix-en-Provence and Vienna in 2009 (clueless Haydn), and Munich in 2012 (distorted Beethoven).
Then there is the “bulbs-to-boobs” professional, heard in Luzern in 2009 (Prokofiev 3rd).
Yundi’s RFH concert was a long way adrift of sold out. There were swathes of empty seats, especially in the rear stalls.
There are always many Chinese and other East Asians attending London classical concerts but on this occasion they represented, I estimate, 80-90 per cent of the audience. Without Yundi’s Chinese fans, attendance would have been sparse indeed.
The recital ended with a blisteringly forceful account of the Appassionata. Understandable calls for an encore went unheeded and the concert finished rather early, at ten past nine. The reason was soon apparent as we left the auditorium: this event was actually a CD signing, with a short concert attached. Yundi’s fans – again almost entirely Chinese/East Asian, as far as I could see – queued two or three abreast all round the RFH ballroom, up the stairs to Level 2 and back towards the bar. Even super-speedy signing would have put RFH staff deep into overtime. It looked as if DG might sell enough CDs on the night to cover the entire recording and production cost.
Name-dropping is the very worst thing you can do, Mr Lebrecht. My good friend Bobby De Niro told me so.
Smart piece of marketing. Now the worldwide blog readership knows all about it!
Sold out? There are still many tickets (>300) available now.
Longing for Artur Rubinstein or Claudio Arrau…………
Author, novelist, broadcaster, cultural commentator.
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More Lebrecht @ normanlebrecht.com
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