You’re going to love this one. Now I have to confess, I’m not normally a fan of the virtuoso violin school--heck, of any violin school. Sarasate has a big advantage, though: he’s working with great tunes. Who doesn’t love Carmen? Or the bel canto sexiness of Romeo and Juliet? Canciones rusas contains the theme that became famous as the “Wet Nurses’ Dance” in Stravinsky’s Petrushka (Balakirev also used it). La chasse is remarkably atmospheric and poetic, the Jota de Pablo a celebration of the composer’s Spanish heritage. Okay, El canto del ruiseñor (The Song of the Nightingale) is one of those chirpy bird things that makes you want to throw the little critter down some oxygen-depleted Chilean mine shaft, but there are worse ways to go than death by chronic cuteness.
Tianwa Yang is a sensationally talented young violinist. She has technique to burn. Her harmonics (and there are a lot of them) dazzle with their precision and lack of “hissiness”; her left-hand pizzicatos, special bowing effects, runs, and arpeggios fit naturally within a phrase rather than sticking out like the gaudy banners on a parade float. Best of all, she has a beautiful tone in cantabile phrases (check out the Romeo and Juliet fantasy) and a really seductive way with rubato that conveys emotion without distorting the rhythm.
Splendidly accompanied by Ernest Izquierdo and his Navarra players, this is a youthful, vibrant collection that just may change your mind about the virtuoso violin repertoire. -- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com, December 2010