Yundi, one of the most celebrated and influential pianists of today, has returned to Warner Classics with the signature of a long-term agreement between him and the label. His first release under the new agreement, due for release in January 2020, will be an album of Chopin’s Piano Concertos Nos 1 and 2, on which he directs the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra from the keyboard. This constitutes both his first recording as pianist-conductor and his first recording of the Piano Concerto No 2. His previous Warner Classics release, the complete Chopin Nocturnes, dates from 2010.
Warsaw and Chopin have played an essential role in Yundi’s career: in 2000, at the age of just 18, he became the youngest winner of the ChopinRead more International Piano Competition. Since then, he has become recognised as a leading exponent of the Polish composer’s music and in 2015 served on the jury of the Chopin Competition. Earlier this year, in recognition of his contribution to Polish culture, he received Poland’s Gold Medal for Merit to Culture, ‘Gloria Artis’. He first conducted the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra in Chopin’s two concertos in 2017, performing in Warsaw, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chongqing.
This is aristocratic Chopin, unfailing in its clarity, elegance and unforced eloquence. Nothing is over-played, everything is expressed. Yundi Li ranks among the finest, his reading of the F minor Concerto’s central love song hauntingly inward looking. The Warsaw Philharmonic offer stout support, and sound and balance are exemplary.