You'll thrill early on, when Wang's massive piano cadenza capitulates into one of the composer's most searing cris de coeur.

Deutsche Grammophon might overpour the cocktail of pink and black on the artwork for Yuja Wang's latest release but, on disc, the young pianist tackles Ravel's two concertos with her own blend of the elegant and primal.

Lionel Bringuier and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich more than hold their own in this heady affair, from the runaway G major movements of the first concerto to the willowy flute lacing its soulful Adagio.

Reeling at times from the sheer wildness of these performances, one could well imagine Ravel's fellow-Frenchman Milhaud smiling at the waves of jungle-drum ferocity in the disc's very first track.

Advertisement

Yet could anything be more exquisite than Wang's big "Gershwin" moment here, fading into delicate duet with ghostly harp?

The Concerto for the Left Hand explores a darker terrain, reflecting Ravel's Basque background.

You'll thrill early on, when Wang's massive piano cadenza capitulates into one of the composer's most searing cris de coeur.

Between the concertos, an early Faure Ballade proves a strange divider, with a Berlin studio recording having none of the ping and ambience that the Zurich concert hall gives Ravel.

You won't hear the adventurous side of Clare Hammond when she appears as a young Maggie Smith, playing the Proms, in the new Alan Bennett movie, The Lady in the Van.

You do, however, on Etudes, her second album for BIS, offering 67 minutes of dazzling virtuosity, proving that Etudes or Studies need not be aesthetically hampered by pedagogical intentions. Three Transcendental Etudes by the Russian Sergei Lyapunov (1859-1924) pursue a Lisztian lead while Nikolai Kapustin (b. 1937) gleefully riffs it up, proving that a ragtime rhythm, in minor seconds, can still get toes tapping.

Hammond hypnotises in a 1916 collection of Studies by Szymanowski, 12 pithy and pungent miniatures, exploring the Polish composer's individual, post-Debussian twilight world.

More recently, six rather hip Etudes by the Korean Unsuk Chin, written between 1995 and 2003, show an impish humour. And Hammond catches it beautifully, from the opening In C, that sounds anything but, to a teasing Toccata that takes its time to whirl into action.

Verdict: Two pianists find jungle fury in Ravel and virtuoso ragtime on the Russian front

Yuja Wang: Ravel (Deutsche Grammophon)

Clare Hammond: Etude (BIS)