Review: LA Philharmonic/John Adams: Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes?

” The new concerto opens by sending Yuja Wang, the soloist here (as at the premiere), into the boxing ring for three rounds against the devil. Fists fly as pianist and orchestra trade blows in a rhythmically pugnacious stand-off, which hardly lets up in energy until near the very end. Wang’s hands flash up and down the keyboard with brilliance.

From there the music relaxes somewhat as it sinks into a slow, atmospheric night piece, followed gradually by a return of rhythmic patterns, now malevolent and bumptious, as if the devil’s superior smile is glinting through […] Keeping the original team together, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conductor Gustavo Dudamel provide high-octane support, and Wang follows up her scintillating finger-work in the concerto with a sparkling account of China Gates.”

Financial Times

“As for soloist Yuja Wang, she gives an outstanding performance here. With her electrifying technique, she effortlessly masters the intricate and at times exceptionally difficult piano writing, successfully weaving lightness and elegance together with dynamism and explosiveness – the contrasting but characteristic qualities of Adams’ music. Reviewing the premiere, The Washington Post lauded her playing, noting that she was “as impressive for her poetic sensibilities as for her pyrotechnic dazzle.” Wang’s brilliant music-making is ideally captured on this vibrant new release.”

Broadway World