Wei Luo

Release Date: 8/30/2019
Label: Decca
Catalog Number: 003069802
Number of Discs: 1

Physical Format:

In Stock
Notes and Editorial Reviews
The 20-year-old Chinese-born pianist Wei Luo has been attending the Curtis Institute of Music since age 13, where she studies with Gary Graffman and Robert McDonald, and was the recipient of the 2018 Gilmore Young Artist Award. There’s no questioning her pianistic proficiency. Ravel’s La Valse, the opening salvo, abounds with dazzling contoured runs and glissandos, awesome octave passages, staggeringly precise leaping chords, and climaxes that are massive yet never overblown. In time one hopes that Luo will yield more to the music’s sultry undercurrents and sensuous harmonies.

She caresses the Shostakovich D major Prelude deliberately, and voices the briskly-paced fugue with pinpointed calibration, yet doesn’t project the opus’ concluding Prelude and Fugue with the sustaining power and gravitas we hear from Konstantin Scherbakov or Jenny Lin. Although Luo is anything but fussy in the Haydn E-flat sonata’s outer movements, certain phrasings and dynamic gradations do sound a bit contrived and pre-planned. She begins the finale at a light and witty clip, yet her playing becomes slower and more generalized as the music progresses.

The same holds true for the Prokofiev Seventh first movement, but the pianist’s steady focus and ravishing legato compensate in the Andante coloroso. In the finale, Luo uncovers plenty of implicit melodic patterns and inner rhythms that prevent the motoric writing from sounding mechanical and undifferentiated. Lastly, Luo brings the little Shchedrin pieces to life with impressive independence between the hands. While it’s hard to say if, how, or why Luo stands out among hundreds of comparably talented young piano hopefuls jockeying for attention, her solo debut release certainly shows signs of promise. By the way, I love the booklet’s evocative abstract cover artwork.

– ClassicsToday (Jed Distler)
Works on This Recording
1. La valse by Maurice Ravel
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1920 ; France
2. Preludes and Fugues (24) for Piano, Op. 87: no 5 in D major by Dmitri Shostakovich
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1950-1951 ; USSR
3. Preludes and Fugues (24) for Piano, Op. 87: no 24 in D minor by Dmitri Shostakovich
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1950-1951 ; USSR
4. Sonata for Piano in E flat major by Franz Joseph Haydn
Period: Classical
5. Sonata for Piano no 7 in B flat major, Op. 83 by Sergei Prokofiev
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1939-1942 ; USSR
6. Polyphonic Pieces (2) for Piano by Rodion Shchedrin
Period: 20th Century
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