“New World Symphony opens 30th season with a Russian banquet”

Lawrence Budman, South Florida Classical Review

“… she is a pianist with formidable technique and the ability to make even a second-rate score come alive. 

Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 4 went through two revisions following its unsuccessful 1926 premiere with the final 1941 edition becoming the standard performing version. While the score is not on the same inspired level as Rachmaninoff’s Second and Third Concertos, it deserves occasional revival. Darker and more modernist in orchestral texture, the concerto still abounds in the kind of richly romantic melodies and pianistic volleys that were the composer’s trademark.

Wang’s big-boned, sweeping rendition of the opening theme and sheer speed and digital dexterity immediately made one sit up at attention. She favored a lighter touch in the haunting melody of the Largo, but provided more muscle to the central episode. The Allegro vivace finale is the concerto’s most diffuse movement with the music, at times, seeming to wander aimlessly. Wang made the best case, tackling the  percussive fistfuls of notes at a rapid clip while bringing sensitive tonal contrasts to the secondary subject. Tilson Thomas captured the quintessential Rachmaninoff sound with lush orchestral playing …

Wang gave the score [Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 5 in G Major} stellar advocacy. She brought breezy abandon to the outer movements and restrained elegance to the slow movement which brings the score’s best moments. Tilson Thomas drew alert, hairpin changes in meter and dynamics from the ensemble. The audience obviously loved the work and awarded Wang repeated curtain calls.”