Awards

"Gramophone Recommended" CD - February 2011 edition
Korea Times - recommended disc
Colorado Public Radio - February 2011  CD of the week.

In the charts

# 1 in New Zealand classical charts (Sept '11)
Hong Kong Classical   entered at # 2  (November '10)
UK Classical   entered at # 16  (November '10)
Amazon UK - Chamber Music #2


.: Special editions

iTunes version

Download from iTunes and get two free bonus tracks, "Sahara" & "Romance No. 1" both composed by Classic FM's John Brunning.



.: Review highlights

Gramophone, July 2011

"[Concierto de Aranjuez]...that fire, duende, which is the hallmark of the best interpretations, such as those of Julian Bream (RCA, 8/93), Pepe Romero (Philips or EMI) or, more recently, Xuefei Yang (EMI, 2/11)."

Limelight, March 2011

“Xuefei Yang's beautifully sonorous Australian instrument shines in this committed performance.” 

“This performance of Rodrigo’s famous Concierto de Aranjuez is probably very different from what the composer ever envisaged or heard. He is on record as saying the guitar does not have great power. Here, through the combination of close-miking and committed performance, the guitar has power aplenty, but this is not just a display of brawn. In fact, under Xuefei Yang’s command, the lyrical second movement of the concerto has rarely sounded so intensely emotional and expressive. It is a phenomenal performance, and Yang’s sensitivity is matched by the playing of the Orquestre Simfonica and a warm, responsive recording timbre."

 

“Here too is a brand-new concerto for guitar and orchestra, commissioned by Yang. It is by Stephen Goss, entitled The Albeniz Concerto and drawn from Albeniz’s piano works. It is, on first hearing, a very appealing work, which will probably become a concert-hall staple for this fine Chinese guitarist.” 

“Yang herself is no slouch at such arrangements, and the recital includes her own very well executed transcriptions for solo guitar of several Albeniz piano works. Of interest to Australian listeners will be that the guitar she has chosen for the two concertos is a beautifully sonorous instrument made by Greg Smallman and Sons of Australia.

A very different sounding Spanish instrument is used for the Albeniz and for the final solo piece, Invocacion y danza by Rodrigo, which Yang first performed many years ago when aged just 14, in front of its composer.” 

Gramophone, February 2011

“Thanks to Yang’s synthesising mind, of which her technical fluency and musical intelligence are but two manifestations, this programme works a treat.” 

“The Rodrigo concerto is replete with barely contained explosiveness that recalls Argerich at her best” 

“The Albeniz Concerto, a wonderful orchestral showpiece in which the guitar takes centre stage, is dispatched with elan by both soloist and orchestra. Goss’s writing for winds is particularly colouristic” “This [The Albeniz Concerto] is a strong work that one hopes will become a permanent part of the repertoire” 

“Bereft of an orchestra in Espana and Invocacion y danza, Yang compensates with a dazzling array of colours that complements her fastidious yet exuberant interpretations – which ensure the disc ends not with a whimper but with a bang.” 

Classic FM Magazine, February 2011

“Concierto de Aranjuez has been recorded countless times, but Xuefei Yang brings her own exuberant individuality to it, demonstrating brilliant, fleet-fingered technique in the outer movements and a subtle flamenco earthiness in the romantic second movement that you don’t often hear.”

“Yang is most impressive in her own arrangement of Espana and Rodrigo’s Invocacion – she captures all the sunshine and dusty clamour of the music.” 

“A splendid interpretation of an extremely well-known work by Yang.”

Los Angeles Times, December 2010

"When the Chinese guitarist made her debut in Madrid in 1991, the then-89-year-old Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo was on hand and reportedly was dazzled."

"She returns the favor with a luminous account of Rodrigo’s famous “Concierto de Aranjuez,” sensitively backed by the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona under Japanese conductor Eiji Oue"

Independent, November 2010

"Virtually blind by then, Joaquin Rodrigo could not believe that the Chinese girl who had just made her Madrid debut with his "Invocacion y danza" was aged just 14 at the time. And no wonder: now fully grown, Xuefei Yang's touch throughout this programme of Spanish pieces is stunning, with nimble fingering of trills and runs, and subtly emotional phrasing in the slower passages." 

"The balance between guitar and orchestra is perfectly measured on Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez", while Albeniz's "Espana" suite offers Yang space to display her full solo talents, using a guitar with a more mellifluous, rounded Spanish tone. Completing the programme is Stephen Goss's specially commissioned "Albeniz Concerto"."

Korea Times, November 2010

"Why we recommend it: It’s a rare piece of work ― not just because the classical guitar is still the minority in the classical music community, but because it’s so polished and well-rounded." 

"The album features hallmarks of the classical guitar repertoire ― posing thus a true test of an instrumentalist’s caliber, which Yang jumps over lightly with her virtuosic playing. "

"Best track: Albeniz Concerto" 

"When Xuefei Yang made her Madrid debut with Joaquin Rodrigo’s ``Invocacion y danza,’’ the Spanish composer, virtually blind at the time, could not believe she was barely 14. For twenty years since surprising Rodrigo, the vibrant young soloist has been steadily building a name for herself, and her exceptional gift shines through and through in this recording. "

"It’s a rare album ― not because the guitar is still the minority in the classical music community. It’s rare because it’s such a polished and well-rounded offering and presents in full the solo merits of the instrument under the delicate fingers of Yang. The title track is none other than Concierto de Aranjuez by Rodrigo. The piece brims with clarity and poeticism under the touch of her talented fingers. The interplay between the protagonist and orchestra finds a perfect balance, with Yang presenting agile finger work and lilting phrasings particularly in the slower parts."


.: Promotional videos


Promotional video for the recording

New album coming soon

.: Recording facts

Recorded at L'Auditori, Pau Casals Hall, Barcelona on July 12-15, 2010.

Producer & editor : Jorn Pedersen

Recording engineer : Arne Akselberg

Executive Producer : Stephen Johns

Instruments used : Greg Smallman & Sons, Australia, 2003 (concertos) ; Antonio Marin Montero, Spain, 2008 (solo works).

D'Addario EJ45LP strings used on both instruments.

.: The making of the CD

More photos from the making of the recording