Lang Lang is vulgar – there, I’ve said it. Irredeemably vulgar to the point where Liberace is Hofmann in comparison. Anointed Son of Heaven by the mandarins of Beijing and their Sony vassals, he’s not going anywhere soon. That means that every so often, these low-brow, comedic compilations will be foisted upon us. Perhaps he represents punishment of our sins.
Recall, if you care, Glenn Gould’s mutilation of Alla Turca. Here, the Canadian is trumped by LL’s fingers of steels in the latter’s attempt to surpass the land-speed record. It’s so crass – and so sayeth a voice from Down-Under who’s no stranger to debasement. Even K 33b is played cloyingly. His Chopin is more aromatic than Chanel No. 5. Showy Liszt, the most unsubtle account of Holst’s Jupiter in existence and saccharine Bach – one and all, they’re grist to the mill and upstate the likes of Richard Clayderman in their plasticity. I draw consolation from LL’s appointment as the United Nations Messenger of Peace where his shuttle diplomacy and ability to speak to the heart – if not the lower intestines – promises peace in our time. Go tell it on the mountains!
Let’s close with Juvenal: The people that once bestowed commands, consulships, legions and all else, now concerns itself no more (with such matters) and longs eagerly for just two things: bread and circuses, accompanied by a ditty or two.