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An Introduction to Lang Lang
Piano virtuoso and classical music superstar!
When Chinese pianist Lang Lang left the classical music label Deutsche Grammophon in early 2010 and signed a new record contract with Sony Music the Internet was buzzing with speculation about the millions of dollars involved in the transfer.
Lang Lang is a rare breed indeed - a classical music performer who is also a household name, guaranteed to pack concert halls and sell huge amounts of records. Indeed, he would seem to thrive on contact with the public and now tours the world endlessly, playing around 130 concerts a year and is a charismatic standard bearer for classical music in general.
Named as one of Time magazine's most influential people in The 2009 TIME 100, he is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations' Children's Fund (UNICEF) and is keen to promote the benefits of musical tuition to children. Indeed, in an interview with China Daily in February 2012 Lang Lang announced his intention to reduce the number of concerts he performs and instead devote more time to helping others achieve their music dreams through charity and education.
Whilst his fans love his virtuoso performances, he is sometimes criticised for what is seen in some quarters as overly flamboyant showmanship. I've been lucky enough to see Lang Lang perform several times in Rome, Italy, and for me his stage presence only serves to make him all the more exciting to watch!
This lens is an unabashedly biased look at the man's musical career through the eyes of a Lang Lang fan and includes reviews of all his major recordings. Enjoy the music and feel The Lang Lang Effect!
NEW! Focus on 'Prokofiev 3 Bartok 2' - "a spectacularly fine recording"
[...] a spectacularly fine recording [...] Prokofiev's concerto is full of dancing, in a distant reflection of something from a couple of centuries earlier, and Lang, Rattle and the Berliners serve it up with a breathtaking range of dynamics and colouring.
Here is a live, beating heart, inside the often icy-cold chest of 20th century music.
Prokofiev 3 Bartok 2 CD review by John Terauds
Musical Toronto - 17 October 2013
This Prokofiev 3 is exceptionally good - thunderous when it needs to be, and always rhythmically alert. And Simon Rattle is a supremely effective partner, bringing out the seductive, fairy-tale magic in the orchestral writing. [...] the concerto's close is astonishing. Trust me. It's splendid.
Bartok's Piano Concerto no 2 makes for an unexpected, rewarding coupling. [...] Lang Lang dazzles in the central Presto. [...]
Prokofiev 3 Bartok 2 CD review by Graham Rickson
The Arts Desk - 12 October 2013
Buy 'Prokofiev 3 Bartok 2' on CD Out NOW! - Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic
Prokofiev - Piano Concerto No.3
1. I. Andante - Allegro
2. II. Tema con variazioni
3. III. Allegro ma non troppo
4. I. Allegro
5. II. Adagio - Presto - Adagio
6. III. Allegro molto
Bartok - Piano Concerto No.2
1. I. Andante - Allegro (first movement of Prokofiev 3)
2. Behind-the-scenes of Prokofiev 3 & Bartok 2
Lang Lang - The Making of Prokofiev 3 & Bartok 2 - Behind the scenes with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic
Marquese 'Nonstop' Scott and Lang Lang perform together! - 'Ocean 12' (from 'The Chopin Album')
Hip-hop meets classical music in this video by Lang Lang and Marquese 'Nonstop' Scott to promote 'The Chopin Album'
Focus on 'The Chopin Album' - "a dazzling interpretation"
Lang's Chopin Album is a showcase for the very best of this remarkable artist.
The pianist's technique is phenomenal, but he deploys it here in the service of grace and elegance [...] this is Chopin that is fun, lively, rendered with emotion on shirtcuff but with a sense of proportion and poise. It should make even more converts to the Cult of Lang Lang
The Chopin Album CD review by John Terauds
Musical Toronto - 5 October 2012
There is subtlety and poetic beauty in his readings, and to each piece, even to the technically demanding etudes, he brings emotional depth and feeling. One immediately senses that Lang Lang takes pleasure in this music - and it is a pleasure hearing him play.
This CD is an absolute must have.
The Chopin Album CD review by Edward Reichel
Reichel Recommends - 9 October 2012
[...] a dazzling interpretation of some of the best piano works in the repertory, perfect as an introduction for beginners or a gem to add to any connoisseur's collection.
The Chopin Album CD review
Classic FM - 15 October 2012
Buy 'The Chopin Album' on CD - Out NOW!
Includes bonus DVD "My Life with Chopin"!
Disc: 1 - CD
1. No. 1 in A-flat Major
2. No. 2 in F Minor
3. No. 3 in F Major
4. No. 4 in A Minor
5. No. 5 in E Minor
6. No. 6 in G-sharp Minor
7. No. 7 in C-sharp Minor
8. No. 8 in D-flat Major
9. No. 9 in G-flat Major
10. No. 10 in B Minor
11. No. 11 in A Minor
12. No. 12 in C Minor
13. Nocturne op. 55, No. 2 in E-flat Major
14. Nocturne op. 15, No. 1 in F Major
15. Grande Valse Brillante op. 18, No. 1 in E-flat Major
16. Andante spianato
17. Grande Polonaise
18. Nocturne op. post, KK IVa, No. 16 (20a), in C-sharp Minor
19. Waltz op. 64, No. 1 in D-flat Major
Watch Lang Lang discussing 'The Chopin Album' - With wonderful footage of the young prodigy!
Focus on 'Liszt - My Piano Hero' - John Suchet's CD of the Week on Classic FM
Lang Lang's gifts get a fruitful showcase in Liszt's Piano Concerto No 1, performed with the Vienna Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev.
Liszt - My Piano Hero CD review
The Times - 3rd September, 2011
Quicksilver, impeccable musicianship is everywhere in Liszt: My Piano Hero [...] played with what sounds as if it comes from a deep, unaffected and longstanding love for the music, with lots of glitter and joy in the closing pages [...] hero worship of the best sort.
Liszt - My Piano Hero CD Review by Bob Clark
The Calgary Herald - 7 September, 2011
When I was two and a half I was watching a Tom and Jerry cartoon and Tom was playing Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 and that was my first impression of classical music and Liszt [...] Liszt is my piano hero [...] he is the real piano god! [...]
Lang Lang on his hero Liszt
Interviewed on Classic Fm - 19 August, 2011
Buy 'Liszt - My Piano Hero' on CD - Accompanied by the Vienna Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev
11. Romance O pourquoi donc in E minor, S 169
2. La campanella in G-sharp minor from Grandes etudes de Paganini, S 141/3
3. Consolation No. 3 in D-flat major, S 172
4. Grand Galop chromatique in E-flat major, S 219
5. Liebestraum No. 3 in A-flat major, S 541/3
6. Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 in D-flat major, S 244/6
7. Un sospiro in D-flat major from Trois etudes de Concert, S 144/3
8. Rakoczy March from Hungarian Rhapsody No. 15 in A minor, S 244/15 (Horowitz version)
9. Liszt/Schubert: Ave Maria, S 558
10. Liszt/Wagner: Isoldes Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, S 447 (Bonus track)
11. Piano concerto No 1, in E-flat major, S 124 I - Allegro maestoso
12. Piano concerto No 1, in E-flat major, S 124 II - Quasi adagio Allegretto vivace Allegro animato
13. Piano concerto No 1, in E-flat major, S 124 III - Allegro marziale animato
Watch Lang Lang recording 'Liszt - My Piano Hero' - A behind the scenes look at the making of the album
Live on Franz Liszt's 200th Birthday!
Focus on 'Gran Turismo 5: Original Game Soundtrack' - Lang Lang and the Gran Turismo 5 experience
Will Lang Lang and Gran Turismo 5 do what previous games have done for, say, Gregorian chant? Or put it another way - will Lang Lang and Prokofiev do for Gran Turismo 5 do what surely no other classical music has yet done for a game, namely, make it more popular? It would be rather cool (I use that word advisedly) if the tail wagged that particular dog.
Gran Turismo 5: Original Game Soundtrack review by James Inverne
Gramaphone, 3 December 2010
Gran Turismo is the most exciting racing game in the world and I have been a fan of it for many years. I feel honored to have this opportunity to connect with people who have never been in a concert hall before and show them that classical music is not just a part of history, but is actually very present and relevant today.
Lang Lang on recording Gran Turismo 5: Original Game Soundtrack
Buy 'Gran Turismo 5: Original Game Soundtrack' on CD
Lang Lang, Brand Ambassador for Sony Corporation, is known for his affinity for new technologies and his constant endeavors to bring classical music to the largest possible audience. His involvement in the official soundtrack for Gran Turismo�5 marks a new chapter in the artist s synergetic approach to combine classical music with new technology.
1. Franz Liszt: Liebestraum No.1 Hohe Liebe
2. FrÃ©dÃ©ric Chopin: Etude In E Major Op.10 No.3 arrangement
3. J. S. Bach: Air On The G String / from Orchestral Suite No. 3 - arrangement
4. Gustav Holst: The Planets Op. 32 Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity - arrangement
5. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker, No.14, Pas de deux Var.II, Danse de la FÃ©e-DragÃ©e - arrangement
6. FrÃ©dÃ©ric Chopin: Polonaise Op. 40 No. 1, Military Polonaise
7. Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.17 in D minor Op. 31/2, The Tempest Largo Allegro
8. Scott Joplin: The Entertainer * (featured in car setting scene)
9. FrÃ©dÃ©ric Chopin: Waltz in D Flat Major Op.64 No.1, Minute Waltz
10. Sergei Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No.7 in B Flat Major Op. 83, Precipitato * (opening sequence)
11. J. S. Bach: Jesus, Joy of Man s Desiring , Chorale from Cantata No.147 * (final sequence)
Watch Lang Lang performing for the opening sequence of Gran Turismo 5 - He plays Prokofiev's War Sonata in the first part of Gran Turismo 5's opening cinematic,
Focus on 'A Sony Christmas Carol' - Composed by Ilan Eshkeri
Recording the music for this advert was hugely enjoyable, Ilan's score perfectly complements each part of the storyline, and the uplifting ending is a great moment. So much is communicated in the two minutes that you almost feel as though you have watched an entire movie!
Lang Lang commenting on the recording of 'A Sony Christmas Carol' at Sony Music
Behind the Scenes with Lang Lang - The Music of 'A Sony Christmas Carol'
The score for the advert was specially created by leading young film composer Ilan Eshkeri, whose scores include Stardust, Kick-Ass and The Young Victoria, and features the piano playing of Lang Lang, one of the world's greatest pianists and most inspirational musicians. It was supported by a 35 piece orchestra and recorded at the legendary Abbey Road studios.
Lang Lang's busy touring schedule meant that his part had to be recorded in Paris, at the Fondation Singer-Polignac, where composers such as Ravel, Faure and Stravinsky lived and worked.
Opening Gala of the 2010 Asia Games - The Age of Light performed by Lang Lang and Zhang Ziyi
Focus on 'Lang Lang Live in Vienna' - "He is surely the Horowitz of our generation"
It's become rather fashionable to sniff at the achievements of Lang Lang, but he is the most communicative pianist of his generation, with a huge following in the east, and for any open-minded listener there is seriously good piano playing in this fine recital from Vienna. He is intense and focused in the "Appassionata", sharp and lively in Beethoven's early C major sonata. His AlbÃ©niz is thrillingly colourful, his Prokofiev vivid and pungent. Then he relaxes into his Chopin encores; perhaps he is indulgent, but the technical command is peerless and the emotional warmth envelops us. He is surely the Horowitz of our generation.
Lang Lang: Live in Vienna CD review by Nicholas Kenyon
The Observer, Sunday 12 September 2010
Lang Lang's debut release for Sony captures him in performance at Vienna's Musikverein Concert Hall, playing a varied programme which on one disc pairs Beethoven's dramatic Piano Sonata No 23 in F minor, the "Appassionata", with the more youthful and innocent Piano Sonata No 3 in C minor, while the second disc traverses diverse territory from AlbÃ©niz's impressionistic sketches of Spain in Book 1 of "Iberia", to the dark material of Prokofiev's innovative Piano Sonata No 7 in B flat major, before concluding with encores of a popular trio of Chopin pieces.
It's hard to imagine a programme to better display the pianist's prodigious range.
Lang Lang: Live in Vienna classical album review
The Independent, Friday, 20 August, 2010
Buy 'Lang Lang Live in Vienna' on CD and DVD - Limited edition!
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Piano Sonata No. 3 in C Major, Op. 2
Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata"
Issac Albeniz (1860-1909)
Iberia, Book 1
Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)
Piano Sonata No. 7 in B-Flat Major, Op. 83
"Live in Vienna" Encore - Chopin Polonaise No. 6 in A-Flat Major, Op. 53 'Heroic'
Lang Lang in support of the World Wildlife Fund - Be the Voice
Lang Lang and UNICEF - Benefit single for the 2010 Haiti earthquake - Chopin: Polonaise in A-flat major, Op. 53 "Heroic"
This marked the first time that a classical artist had ever released a single on iTunes for the purpose of raising funds and awareness for a charitable cause.
On Tuesday, March 16, 2010, iTunes released a new recording of internationally acclaimed pianist Lang Lang performing Chopins Polonaise in A-flat major, Op. 53, HÃ©roÃ¯que. All net proceeds from the sale of this track will be donated to the US Fund for UNICEF in their efforts to bring relief to the children surviving the devastating earthquake in Haiti.
All the men and women working for UNICEF are truly heroes, says Lang Lang, so the Heroic Polonaise allows me to pay tribute to them at the same time as raising even more money for this cause. Its an honor to serve UNICEF as a Goodwill Ambassador. Any small part I can play in the effort to bring hearts and minds to their incredible efforts is as humbling and inspiring as any of the great concert halls that I have played.
Let's show the world that we can change the world through music!
Lang Lang talks about HEROIC release on iTunes for UNICEF
Focus on 'Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov: Piano Trios' - Lang Lang, Vadim Repin and Mischa Maisky - "Lang Lang can not only do chamber music, but do it phenomenally w
What do you get when you cross a world famous solo pianist with a world famous solo violinist and a world famous solo cellist?
[...] especially when the pianist in question is Lang Lang, the young Chinese virtuoso better known for attention-grabbing performances coloured by larger-than-life gestures. However, here he is in his first chamber recording, a medium where pianist regularly becomes accompanist, joined by Vadim Repin and Mischa Maisky, two undisputed soloist giants.
Despite such a threesome having all the makings of a bitter battle for musical supremacy, the result is impressive beyond expectation. [...] all three play with such confidence, verve and - wait for it - deference, that they bounce off and meld with each other perfectly in a performance that brings out all the tension, tenderness and exuberance of these two works.
[...] The concrete fact proved by this disc is that Lang Lang can not only do chamber music, but do it phenomenally well.
BBC Review by Charlotte Gardner, 22 October, 2009
Youth plus experience equals passionate communal music-making
Here is passionate communal music-making, most exhilarating in Tchaikovsky's final section, when the older musicians become gloriously infused with Lang Lang's youth and sparkle. At other points, the kaleidoscope of personalities keeps turning. In the Rachmaninov Maisky's soulful, yearning cello carries most of the music's emotional weight, with Repin in sweet support. Lang Lang himself stays bright, agile, but modest, as he does in his nonchalant dispatch of the theme for Tchaikovsky's central variations. [...] it's the human spark in the performances overall that delights the ear, and gives new hope for Lang Lang's development. Keep on playing chamber music, my boy!
Review by Geoff Brown
The Times, 30 October, 2009
Buy 'Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov: Piano Trios' on CD
SERGEI RACHMANINOV (1873–1943)
Trio Ã©lÃ©giaque no. 1 in G minor
PETER TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893)
Piano Trio in A minor op. 50
Lang Lang on Tchaikovsky
'Journey of a Thousand Miles - My Story'
Lang Lang's autobiography, written with David Ritz
"Born in China in 1982, the pianist Lang Lang now travels the world, playing at the Kremlin and for the queen of England. His memoir, which recounts how he grew up to become an acclaimed musician, reads like a fairy tale - though more Brothers Grimm than Disney, complete with dark and horrific themes. Before Lang is 2, he is playing the piano. Like other children, he loves Transformers, Game Boy and "Tom and Jerry," but he is also a virtuoso; at 5, he masters a challenging variation by the Russian composer Dmitri Kabalevsky. Soon his father takes him to Beijing to enter competitions. They live for years in icy apartments overrun with mice, as they "scrounge for food." He aches for his mother, and throughout, his father berates him for not practicing enough: "Were it not for Mozart's father, Mozart would not have become famous," his father explains, adding, "Together, they achieved im mortality." When 9-year-old Lang comes home late from school, his father, driven to near madness, tries to force a suicide pact on him. After subsequently quitting the piano, the boy somehow rediscovers his love for both his father and Mozart and, four months later, resumes playing. "Journey of a Thousand Miles," written with the music writer David Ritz, raises tough questions about the connection between genius and madness (as well as the overinvolved parent). Lang tells the story of his childhood without self-pity or bitterness, making his success, and the book itself, all the more satisfying."
Reviewed by Tara McKelvey
New York Times - 26 September, 2008
Buy 'Journey of a Thousand Miles - My Story'
10 Questions for Lang Lang asked by Time Magazine
TIME interviewed Lang Lang at Steinway's flagship store in New York City where he answered reader questions (published in 2008).
Focus on 'Dragon Songs' - "Lang Lang as an inspiring and musicianly collaborator"
Lang Lang has a knack for building interesting programmes, none more personal, perhaps, than his latest release. It encompasses a fascinating variety of traditional Chinese songs from several generations arranged by Chinese composers. Seven are for piano solo, while three others add a different traditional Chinese instrument to the mix. Each of these is an extended piece featuring energetic, dance-like interplay between the instruments. Not only do they marvellously showcase Fan Wei's pipa (Chinese lute), Zhang Jiali's guanzi (double-reed pipe) and Ji Wei's guzheng (Chinese zither), they also reveal Lang Lang as an inspiring and musicianly collaborator. He's not afraid to enliven the rhythms with emphatic accents and dynamic surges, yet he appropriately pulls back while his partner has the ball in court, so to speak.
Review by Jed Distler
Gramaphone magazine - March 2007 (Page 87)
Buy 'Dragon Songs' on CD and DVD!
1. Yellow River Piano Concerto, based on the Yellow River Cantata by Xian Xinghai
2. LÃ WENCHENG: Autumn Moon on a Calm Lake
3. HE LUTING: The Cowherd's Flute
4. TRADITIONAL: Dialogue in Song
5. SUN YIQIANG: Dance of Spring
6. DU MINGXIN: Straw Hat Dance
7. DENG YUXIAN: Spring Wind
8. ZHU JIANER: Happy Times
9. TRADITIONAL: Spring flowers in the Moonlit Night on the River
10. ZHAO JIPING: Dance from Qiuci, 5th movement from the "Silk Road" Suite
11. WANG JIANMIN: At Night on the Lake Beneath the Maple Bridge
Promotional video for 'Dragon Songs'
Lang Lang at the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony Â© FMWRC Image Archive
Focus on 'Lang Lang Live at Carnegie Hall' - "...a big technique and a big heart..."
There is some really fine music making going on here, offering evidence of both a big technique and a big heart behind the flashing finger work [...] The range of repertoire here, from Haydn to Tan Dun, is as impressive as the technical ease with which Lang Lang plays it all, sounding as fresh by the evening's end as he does at its opening.
Review by David Hurwitz on ClassicsToday.com
Buy 'Lang Lang Live at Carnegie Hall' on CD and DVD
1. Applause Audience Applause
2. Abegg Variations, Op.1 Lang Lang
3. Piano Sonata in C, H.XVI No.50 - 1. Allegro
4. Piano Sonata in C, H.XVI No.50 - 2. Adagio
5. Piano Sonata in C, H.XVI No.50 - 3. Allegro molto Lang Lang
6. Fantasy in C Major "Wanderer" - 1. Allegro con fuoco ma non troppo
7. Fantasy in C Major "Wanderer" - 2. Adagio
8. Fantasy in C Major "Wanderer" - 3. Presto
9. Fantasy in C Major "Wanderer" - 4. Allegro
10. Eight Memories In Watercolour, Op.1 - 1. Missing Moon
11. Eight Memories In Watercolour, Op.1 - 2. Beans
12. Eight Memories In Watercolour, Op.1 - 3. Herdboy's Song
13. Eight Memories In Watercolour, Op.1 - 4. Blue Nun
14. Eight Memories In Watercolour, Op.1 - 7. Red Wilderness
15. Eight Memories In Watercolour, Op.1 - 5. Ancient Burial
16. Eight Memories In Watercolour, Op.1 - 6. Floating Clouds
17. Eight Memories In Watercolour, Op.1 - 8. Sunrain Lang Lang
18. Nocturne No.8 in D flat, Op.27 No.2
Watch a clip from 'Lang Lang - Live At Carnegie Hall' DVD
Meeting Lang Lang in Rome, Italy!
Focus on 'Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 4' - "...all-encompassing technical command and sense of both elegance and pathos."
There is some delightful playing in both works.
Lang Lang is at his best in the slow movements, where his range of colour and articulation illustrates his all-encompassing technical command and sense of both elegance and pathos. The dialogue of the Fourth Concerto's Andante is especially touching: Lang Lang's emotional poise is superbly judged while Eschenbach's Parisian orchestra give solid support. The outer movements have infectious energy.
Review by Tim Parry
BBC Music Magazine, 1 September, 2007
Buy 'Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 4' on CD
1. Piano Concerto No.1 in C major, Op.15 - 1. Allegro con brio
2. Piano Concerto No.1 in C major, Op.15 - 2. Largo
3. Piano Concerto No.1 in C major, Op.15 - 3. Rondo (Allegro scherzando)
4. Piano Concerto No.4 in G, Op.58 - 1. Allegro moderato
5. Piano Concerto No.4 in G, Op.58 - 2. Andante con moto
6. Piano Concerto No.4 in G, Op.58 - 3. Rondo (Vivace)
Watch the Lang Lang Recording Sessions of 'Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 4'
Lang Lang at the Whitehouse! - Playing in the East Room at the White House
Lang Lang and artists from all genres and backgrounds joined the President and the First Lady to honour Sir Paul McCartney, who received the Gershwin Prize for Popular song in the East Room of the White House.
Look out for Lang Lang on stage singing 'Hey Jude' alongside the likes of Stevie Wonder, the Jonas Brothers, Faith Hill, Emmylou Harris, Herbie Hancock, Elvis Costello, Jack White, Corinne Bailey Rae, David Grohl, Jerry Seinfeld... and President Barack Obama!
Focus on 'Chopin: The Piano Concertos' - "...real humour and a cheeky lilt."
The Finales [...] skip along with real brilliance. He has a spritely way with the opening idea of the F minor's Allegro vivace, for example, that really brings it to life, and he imbues the later mazurka episodes with real humour and a cheeky lilt.
Review by By Hugo Shirley
MusicalCriticism.com - 30 November, 2008
Limpid, graceful arches mark the Romance movement, a superb balance of Bellini's bel canto and Hummel's declamatory styles, eminently sympathetic. The last movement, the Rondo-Krakowiak, has both Lang Lang and Mehta full throttle, playing to the house and to the devoted cult for this exciting pianist for whom any inscription simply adds to the legend.
Classical CD review by Gary Lemco
Audiophile Audition - 2 January, 2009
Buy 'Chopin: The Piano Concertos' on CD
1. Piano Concerto No.2 in F minor, Op.21 - 1. Maestoso
2. Piano Concerto No.2 in F minor, Op.21 - 2. Larghetto
3. Piano Concerto No.2 in F minor, Op.21 - 3. Allegro vivace
4. Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor, Op.11 - 1. Allegro maestoso
5. Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor, Op.11 - 2. Romance (Larghetto)
6. Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor, Op.11 - 3. Rondo (Vivace)
Watch Lang Lang play Chopin's Piano Concert No.2 - Conducted by Zubin Mehta
Lang Lang brand Adidas trainers - Photo Â© adifansnet
Focus on 'Memory' - "...radiant displays of virtuosity."
Over the past few years, critics have hammered on Lang Lang for being all show with little substance, but I think this new solo recording proves them wrong. Lang Lang may be only 23 years old, but he's already looking back on how his art has developed, and the works that have informed his musical journey. This new CD, "Memory," connects Lang Lang to music that he strongly associates with his childhood. Some of these works he learned many years ago, and some he remembers first hearing as a child. Lang Lang takes us from thoughtful moments of quiet reflection to radiant displays of virtuosity.
Lang Lang is an amazing storyteller at the keyboard, and he relies on that ability when he plays Schumann's "Kinderszenen," or "Scenes from Childhood." He's been entranced by this piece since first seeing a video of Vladimir Horowitz playing it a long time ago. This is by no means a work for children to play; it requires wisdom and a sense of maturity, which Lang Lang is able to express even though he's just 23 years old.
Review by Julie Amacher
Minnesota Public Radio, 21 March, 2006
Buy 'Memory' on CD
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Sonata in C major, K.330
1. Allegro moderato
2. Andante cantabile
Frederic Chopin: Piano Sonata no. 3 in B minor, op. 58
4. Allegro maestoso
5. Scherzo. Molto vivace
7. Finale. Presto non tanto
Robert Schumann: Kinderszenen op. 15
8. Von fremden LÃ¤ndern und Menschen
9. Kuriose Geschichte
11. Bittendes Kind
12. GlÃ¼ckes genug
13. Wichtige Begebenheit
15. Am Kamin
16. Ritter vom Steckenpferd
17. Fast zu ernst
19. Kind im Einschlummern
Watch Lang Lang talking about the making of 'Memory'
Focus on 'Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2 and Paganini Rhapsody' - "...a finely calibrated account of this much-loved work..."
The gifted pianist gives a finely calibrated account of this much-loved work, playing with power and authority, as well as expressive lyricism. Lang Lang's fearless approach serves him well in the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, as he expertly negotiates the daunting technical demands of the 24 variations. The performances are enhanced immeasurably by the presence of Valery Gergiev on the podium. The dynamic conductor and the forces of the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra match Lang's bravura with fiery playing steeped in the old-school Russian tradition.
Review on ArkivMusic.com
Buy 'Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2; Paganini Rhapsody' on CD
1. Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor, Op.18 - 1. Moderato
2. Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor, Op.18 - 2. Adagio sostenuto
3. Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor, Op.18 - 3. Allegro scherzando
4. Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, Op.43 - Introduction
5. Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, Op.43 - Variation 1
6. Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, Op.43 - Theme
7. Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, Op.43 - Variation 2
8. Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, Op.43 - Variation 3
9. Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, Op.43 - Variation 4
Watch Lang Lang perform Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 - 1st Movement
Focus on 'Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn: First Piano Concertos' - "...youthful brilliance and sensitivity."
This young virtuoso impresses in big-scale readings of rarely coupled showpieces.
Recorded in Chicago's DIM Orchestra Hall in February this year, Lang Lang's performances of the Tchaikovsky and the Mendelssohn concertos bear out glowing reports of his youthful brilliance and sensitivity. [...] The opening of the Tchaikovsky establishes this as a big-scale performance, strongly rhythmic and sharply accented, with high dynamic contrasts.
Lang Lang learnt the Tchaikovsky concerto at nine, and played it in public, in Beijing with the China Youth Orchestra, just three years later. He was even younger when he tackled the Mendelssohn, a favourite of his, playing it first at only seven. Though the dynamics are less extreme than in the Tchaikovsky, the close balance of the piano again establishes this as a big-scale performance.[...] with such sparkling playing - Lang Lang erupting into a winningly joyful account of the finale - this makes a rare and attractive coupling for the distinctive account of the Tchaikovsky.
Review by Edward Greenfield
Gramaphone Magazine, September, 2003
Buy 'Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn: First Piano Concertos' on CD
1. Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, Op.23 - 1. Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso - Allegro con spirito
2. Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, Op.23 - 2. Andantino semplice - Prestissimo - Tempo I
3. Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, Op.23 - 3. Allegro con fuoco
4. Piano Concerto No.1 in G minor, Op.25 - 1. Molto allegro con fuoco
5. Piano Concerto No.1 in G minor, Op.25 - 2. Andante
6. Piano Concerto No.1 in G minor, Op.25 - 3. Presto
Watch Lang Lang perform Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No.1 - At the National Memorial Day Concert
Film soundtracks and movies featuring Lang Lang - 'The Painted Veil' and 'The Banquet'
'The Painted Veil', composed by Alexandre Desplat.
Winner of the Golden Globe for Best Score of 2006.
25-year old Chinese virtuoso pianist Lang Lang plays a prominent part in the score. His effortlessly refined performances feature strongly in the formal, yet elegant "River Waltz" and its solo recapitulation in the second half of the album, before coming to a dramatic peak during the emotionally draining, musically powerful "Cholera". He even performs the re-recording of Erik Satie's classical work "Gnossiene No.1", a beautifully understated piece which actually sits in very well with the overall tone and style of the rest of the score. Probably the best cue on the album is the recklessly flamboyant "The Water Wheel", in which Lang Lang dances on his piano, fluttering up and down scales, while the orchestra around him injects all manner of wonderfully playful rhythmic devices and moments of thematic splendour.
CD review by Jonathan Broxton
Movie Music UK, 2007
Tan Dun’s score for The Banquet is a completely lovely score [...] It serves the movie magnificently while also providing on CD one of the best scores of the year.
CD review by Randall Larson
Music from the Movies, 1 July, 2007
Watch Lang Lang and Tan Dun recording 'The Banquet'
Live reviews of Lang Lang in concert
- A Meeting of Unconventional Minds With Vienna Philharmonic
By ANTHONY TOMMASINI Published: September 30, 2010 in the New York Times The Vienna Philharmonic opened Carnegie Hall's season with an interesting pairing: the intellectual conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the virtuoso superstar Lang Lang.
- Lang Lang impresses with keyboard mastery - San Antonio Express-News
Simply astonishing. Superstar pianist Lang Lang delivered on his global fame and more in his performance Wednesday night at the Majestic Theatre.
- Lang Lang/Repin/Maisky - review | Music | The Guardian
Despite the occasional slip in standards, Lang Lang touched on greatness as both a soloist and trio player, writes Tim Ashley
- Living in Rome: A dazzling start to Rome's Lang Lang Fest 2012