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Every week, on the air and online, you'll hear music from new releases and favorite albums that have been carefully selected for your listening pleasure. Check out our posts for commentary from our hosts and video highlights for each Classical Album of the Week.

Classical Album of the Week: Pianist Ching-Yun Hu plays Rachmaninoff

May 14, 2018.  A name familiar to many of our listeners is the subject of this week’s Classical Album of the Week.  In Rachmaninoff, artist Ching-Yun Hu draws deeply from her passion for Rachmaninoff, and packages it into a wonderful album. 

The recording takes us on a journey through the Russian composer’s Études-Tableaux, Op. 39, and Piano Sonata No. 2.  Among the tracks, there’s his transcription of a work by Bach, one he played in recital during his heyday as a performer.

Ching-Yun recorded the album in the WRTI Performance Studio, and for those here it was fascinating to  witness the energy she brought to the sessions.

The Études-Tableaux (“Study Pictures”), Op. 39 is Rachmaninoff’s second set of works bearing the title, pieces he wrote between 1911 and 1914.  While his intent was to compose “picture pieces,” he never disclosed what pictures he had in mind. 

But, thankfully, Rachmaninoff  did share his ideas with Ottorino Respighi when the Italian composer orchestrated them; hence the most famous of the set, No. 2, is known as The Sea and The Gulls.

Ching-Yun is a very busy artist who performs internationally in recitals and orchestral concerts, and teaches at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance. Adding to her full schedule,  she’ll run her 6th annual Philadelphia Young Pianists' Academy this summer.