Yuja Wang is ravishing in Magnus Lindberg’s new piano concerto — review

Financial Times

“Lindberg[‘s]… third piano concerto was tailored for Yuja Wang’s dazzling virtuosity; on Thursday she played this formidable score from memory and sounded commanding throughout, from thunderous assertion to caressing lyricism.

This concerto, Lindberg said in an interview, is “the biggest piece I’ve written”, 30 minutes long in three movements. The result is alternately grand and intimately beautiful. There is a true dialogue between soloist and orchestra, both of whom play almost continuously, except for two virtuosic cadenzas.

The score conveys lush grandeur. There’s harmonic tartness, but never abrasiveness: one hears Lindberg’s affection for Bartók, but maybe Rachmaninov, too. The internal structure is intricate, involving, he has said, eight “characters” who continually intertwine. The same material is reconsidered in each of the three movements. None of this is perceptible, at least on a first hearing, but the characters shaped his thinking, making for a kind of hidden opera. However it was inspired and constructed, the result recalls the grand concertos of yore. It’s ravishing, as was Wang’s playing.”