The classics: July 30

Play. Lixin Zhang (piano). Rattle CD. 

This disc went straight to the top of the RNZ Classical Charts in its first week of release, and it marks the debut recording of Lixin Zhang, who is a 16-year-old pupil in his fourth year at Burnside High School.

There he is in its "specialist music programme," where he plays both piano and violin.

Zhang began piano lessons at age 4, and has now passed his LRSM diploma with high distinction and attained a fellowship diploma certificate from the Trinity College of London.

He won the Wallace National Junior Piano Competition in 2016, and the following year the Wallace National Piano Competition.

In 2017 he was also invited to perform two solo piano concerts in Mallorca, Spain and attended a summer school programme in Switzerland, where he was invited to perform as guest artist this year.

Recorded in Wellington by Steve Garden, Zhang has chosen to perform a variety of 16 pieces that he loves and that express "true joy and happiness".

They range from three of Chopin's Op.10 Etudes and his Ballade No.4 to Four Concert Studies by the New Zealand composer Edwin Carr, the famous Liebestraum by Liszt, Rondo Brillante by Carl Maria von Weber, and Debussy's Feux d'Artifice.

We can also enjoy hearing Balakirev's arrangement of Glinka's The Lark, and the disc ends with two pieces by Ravel; Jeux d'eau and Alborada del Gracioso.

This is a fine programme that heralds the arrival on record of an exponent of new youthful talent that develops on New Zealand's musical scene - beautifully played.

Verdict: Serious play on keys by a young musician.

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