Beautiful recordings of favorite short pieces by the Chinese pianist Lang Lang. The audio quality is of high quality and the artist is one of the greatest and most flamboyant pianist of the modern age. A great recording!
First and foremost, this release is yet another brilliant marketing ploy on the part of Lang Lang and his seemingly infallible promoters. Every piece in this rather pricey set (if you're going for the "Piano Album" complete with the scores) is a five-finger exercise for a pianist of his caliber. Lang Lang can play these pieces blindfolded, and not miss a single note. For amateur pianists who can play Beethoven's "Fur Elise", the point of Lang Lang's version is: This is how a world-class virtuoso would play it ---and you can't. Ever. I can attest to this personally because I do still play the piece for my personal pleasure, and know fully well that I will never play it as effortlessly, and indeed beautifully, as Lang Lang does. Lang Lang throws in a few contemporary surprises for good measure, as it were, but again, the level of virtuosity required of HIM is rudimentary and minimal at best. Otherwise, most of the pieces here are unsurprising and well-known to aspiring pianists, and EVERY serious Classical music fan/listener, or should be. It is enjoyable enough, but by no means challenging for everyone concerned: Lang Lang, piano students, and music lovers. NO other great contemporary and popular pianist could have gotten away with this repertoire and sell the CD's, with expensive scores to boot. Not Kissin, not Trifonov, not even Yuja Wang. This is borderline Liberace territory. This is Lang Lang "slumming", pure and simple, marketed brilliantly by his handlers, as usual. I listen to him (and other great pianists) not for the "difficulty" of the pieces, which is a relative matter, but for his virtuosity, which is not.
One of Gore Vidal’s characters tells us that “(Organic pellets) has its own integrity.” This is true. Whether or not it imparts absolution to the likes of Liberace, Richard Clayderman or André Rieu is not for me to say. In any event, it’s good to see that Lang Lang is edging closer to the same paradigm as the Master of the Candelabra. His apparel on the cover bespeaks convergence. Add glitter and we have ignition.
Tell me: can one envisage a Beethoven or Schubert cycle from this latter-day Son of Heaven? In theory yes, but the bean-counters at Deutsche Grammophon are judicious if nothing else. Better to poop out this “palatial kitsch” than risk their Asset on the precipices of the Hammerklavier or the summit of D 960 where one is exposed to the world. Perhaps a joint recital with Mariah Carey is next on the cards where a transcription of the Butterfly Lover’s Concerto will mollify the ever-observant apparatchiks from the Chinese Ministry for Culture and Tourism.
Given that people are no longer taught to think, the sheer mindlessness of this survey should have appeal. For those cafes with a middle-brow clientele, this potpourri can play harmlessly away in the background. As there is little or no stylistic calibration in evidence, these bleeding chunks could be from the one composer where deftness of execution trumps interpretative insight; you decide if this is a good thing or not. Are these glorified sight-reads by Mister Prestidigitation? Me wonders. My favourite here - so to speak - is Lang Lang’s "Ah vous dirai-je, Maman" where a little old lady who looked like a witch and died at a railway station provides context, parenthesis and judgement.