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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yundi Li is not an acrobat!
Much is said about the large number of Chinese "acrobats" that have emerged in recent years - pianists with perfect technique but mediocre musical understanding.

Yundi Li's latest disc shows that he is not one of them. The live recording shows that he is but human, and makes mistakes in concerts. I am referring to the Nocturne in D Flat Major, OP 27 No 2...
Published on 25 Oct 2011 by M. Yung

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars When all the reviews were being submitted by one single party, it is plain what's happening.
I got these two discs, one CD and one DVD.
Frankly speaking, I will never listen to them again. The Li Yun Di that I knew in the early 2000's has since disappeared from the planet earth.
Now we have a film-star, a hyperbole fanned on by a host of Chinese fanatics, who would go to the extreme of posting the same viewpoints under different persona, in UK and USA...
Published 11 months ago by Abert


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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yundi Li is not an acrobat!, 25 Oct 2011
By 
M. Yung (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Live in Beijing (Audio CD)
Much is said about the large number of Chinese "acrobats" that have emerged in recent years - pianists with perfect technique but mediocre musical understanding.

Yundi Li's latest disc shows that he is not one of them. The live recording shows that he is but human, and makes mistakes in concerts. I am referring to the Nocturne in D Flat Major, OP 27 No 2. Anyone familiar with this piece will notice that he had a quite obvious memory lapse at bar 56, when he played the first half of bar 16 instead. There is no question that he had learned the wrong notes because he played correctly in his studio recording of the complete nocturnes.

Yundi Li should be applauded for releasing this recording unedited.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo!, 2 May 2011
By 
This review is from: Live in Beijing (Audio CD)
"Live in Beijing" is another very impressive recording by Yundi. It is an all-Chopin programme played in 2010 to mark the bicentennial of Frederic (Fryderyk) Chopin's birth. All the pieces were very impressively played here. It is not easy to find a pianist possessing both great interpretative ability as well as very impressive virtuosity. Yundi is one such pianist. To know how well he had played these pieces, you may be able to get a better idea if you compare his playing with that of others.

If you try to compare Yundi's playing of these Nocturnes with that of others, it may not seemed necessary as Yundi belongs to a class of his own - besides possessing more impressive skill, he has got exquisitely tasteful rubato and line of flow. Furthermore, he is able to play the same piece differently at different times depending on the environment and atmosphere. For example, if you compare those Nocturnes played in his previous recording with the Nocturnes played here in this CD, you will prefer the Nocturnes played here when he played them with more enthusiasm in front of the audiences in Beijing. Besides playing these Nocturnes slightly faster here, he also played them with more tasteful rubato and more varied rhythm. Your attention may be drawn to 'Poco piu lento' in the middle section of Nocturne op.48 No.1 when he played it with exceedingly tasteful rubato.

Andante Spianato was played by Yundi in his debut album in 2001. It was played slightly slower, softer and cautiously with monotonous left hand then. Today, he plays with more confidence, greater contrast and more interesting left hand by bringing out his left hand more with crescendo. He had obviously found greater freedom in his expression when he sometimes played with varied rhythm. While Andante Spianato played here is more interesting, it is still serene and graceful. If you compared Rubinstein with Yundi, you may find Rubinstein not as graceful. Grande Polonaise Brillante was also played in 2001, but Yundi is more articulate and exciting here when he played it faster with breathtaking virtuosity.

For Mazurkas Op.33, you may find Fou Ts'ong and Yundi more impressive. Mazurkas often have varied rhythmic structure with frequent doted rhythm and irregular accents which usually fall on weak beats. Very often, some notes can be arbitrarily shortened or lengthened. Since Mazurkas can hardly be played according to the beats of a metronome, you may not want to attempt to play Mazurkas unless you are musical enough. How well is one able to play Mazurkas really depends on how articulate one is.

For Mazurkas Op.33 No.1, while Fou Ts'ong played it with an intense feeling of longing and nostalgia, Yundi, Rubinstein, Tatiana Shebanova and some others had played it lesser to that effect. Yundi had also played it sometimes with greater feeling of quickening and greater variation of rhythm. Fou Ts'ong was really very expressive for this Mazurkas and he had played it with very deep feeling.

For Mazurkas Op.33 No.2, Yundi had played it with nice rhythm by putting the accents more obviously than other pianists on the third beat of many measures. He also played it faster to make it sound more like an exciting dance. With adequate technique, Yundi was able to achieve all these effortlessly. Rubinstein had not played this Mazurkas well due to his weaker technique.

For Mazurkas Op.33 No.3, Rubinstein had also not played well as he was rather straightforward and flat with little variation of rhythm.

For Mazurkas Op.33 No.4, Fou Ts'ong and Yundi were quite articulate and expressive. In fact, Yundi excelled here as he was really very articulate throughout the whole piece. On the whole, you may not be that impressed by Rubinstein's Mazurkas Op.33.

For the popular piece Polonaises OP. 53 ("Heroic") that had been played by so many pianists, interpretations given by Rubinstein and Yundi are the most impressive. Rubinstein brought out the heroic feeling right from the beginning by playing it slightly slower with longer and deeper breath whereas Yundi played it more heroically later on from E major onward. Yundi's technique is of course more impressive. Horowitz had also played this piece but compared with Rubinstein, you may find Horowitz's interpretations less agreeable not just for this piece, but for quite a few of some other pieces as well.

Etude No.12 in C minor "Revolutionary" played here may be the fastest you can find - 2.07 to be exact. One can hardly play the left hand of this piece any faster and yet Yundi coordinated his left hand perfectly with his right hand - very brilliantly played. Even Sviatoslav Richter took 30 second longer to play this piece. It is rewarding for Yundi to play this piece faster as a faster playing does bring out the required revolutionary feeling more effectively.

Wang Yuja had also played the same Sonata in B flat minor before, but comparing the two, Yundi is so much more colorful and he gave not only a better interpretation, he also took care of the harmony better than Wang Yuja. It is breathtaking to listen to Yundi's first movement as he dropped those massive chords with that breathtaking speed - more than one minute faster than Wang Yuja had taken for this movement. Furthermore, unlike Wang Yuja, Yundi was able to play with a well defined rhythm at agitato soon after the first movement began. Second movement was just as impressive. Third movement "Funeral March" was played with greater volume contrast, softly and solemnly at the beginning but very much louder afterwards to give you the grandeur and majestic feeling - this is impressive! The lyrical part in between was also very expressively played. Yundi had also played the last movement `Finale Presto' very much faster than Wang Yuja. Again, one can hardly play this movement any faster. Rubinstien had once described this movement as "Evil Wind". How to create the "wind" effect? The best way is to play it as fast as you can like what Yundi had done. This is indeed a stunningly impressive recording.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yundi Lives!, 25 May 2011
This review is from: Live in Beijing (Audio CD)
what a splendid selection,and very well put together to make a great package.
He must be a popular performer in China.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars When all the reviews were being submitted by one single party, it is plain what's happening., 9 Jan 2014
This review is from: Live in Beijing (Audio CD)
I got these two discs, one CD and one DVD.
Frankly speaking, I will never listen to them again. The Li Yun Di that I knew in the early 2000's has since disappeared from the planet earth.
Now we have a film-star, a hyperbole fanned on by a host of Chinese fanatics, who would go to the extreme of posting the same viewpoints under different persona, in UK and USA Amazon alike (an presumably in China Amazon, too).
It would have been fine if this poster just fanned her own idol Yundi.
However, she is ALSO adamant in bashing other Chinese pianists, notably Lang Lang, then lately Yuja Wang. So much for that.
Back to this item. Li Yun Di did not treat Chopin as Chopin. His live performance in Beijing is simply to show off his huge ego as a keyboard technician, and his playing lacked 'soul' - there is no feeling, no nuances, lack alone 'poetry'.
In the DVD, you would see that it might have been a robot playing at the keyboard.
I don't know what happened to this young pianist, once displaying so much promise, and one that I kept on patronising in every possible live performance and discography.
If he does not step back onto the right track, am much afraid that his international pianistic career would soon go bust.
He would still be a celebrity in the PRC, for sure.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big fan., 4 July 2013
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This review is from: Live in Beijing (Audio CD)
Big fan of Chopin. Now big fan of Yundi. His technique second to none. Might not suitable for someone who prefer more traditional intake to Chopin. It is not exactly relaxing to listen but revitalising. More like progressive jazz kind of way,Highly recommended. Good album to introduce yourself a classical music .
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