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Author Topic: is lang lang good or not?  (Read 36498 times)
lmpianist
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« Reply #250 on: June 04, 2015, 05:07:20 AM »

Does anyone feel strongly that there is a composer whose works LL is particularly well suited for interpreting?  I have yet to hear a LL recording that is my "go-to" recording for a particular work. 

What got me thinking about this was that earlier today I landed on one of his youtube videos of a Debussy prelude, Les Collines d'Anacapri, and I was thinking to myself that it was such a disaster.  I immediately went to Gieseking on the same piece to flush out my ears, and then realized that so many of the pianists whose interpretations I view as the "gold standards" are dead and gone.  And then I look at Lang Lang and wonder whether this sort of "artistry" is the future of pianism, given how popular he is, maybe even the most "popular" pianist these days if you were to survey the general public.  I don't mean to bash him for the hell of it, but I guess I don't get it.  Maybe I'm just spoiled by years of listening to early/mid 20th century recordings of pianists from a bygone era.  To take one example, if someone like Jorge Bolet were to climb up in the ranks today, would he be as successful?  Have audiences changed and are they looking for different things now?  I sometimes wonder the same things about other forms of art, e.g. operatic stagings, which are getting more and more bizarre lately too it seems.  I feel like Beckmesser.  With Sachs over there, his arm joyously around Lang Lang's shoulder, about to burst merrily into song.  lol.  Now that's a scary thought.
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chopinlover01
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« Reply #251 on: June 05, 2015, 02:47:30 AM »

Does anyone feel strongly that there is a composer whose works LL is particularly well suited for interpreting?  I have yet to hear a LL recording that is my "go-to" recording for a particular work. 

What got me thinking about this was that earlier today I landed on one of his youtube videos of a Debussy prelude, Les Collines d'Anacapri, and I was thinking to myself that it was such a disaster.  I immediately went to Gieseking on the same piece to flush out my ears, and then realized that so many of the pianists whose interpretations I view as the "gold standards" are dead and gone.  And then I look at Lang Lang and wonder whether this sort of "artistry" is the future of pianism, given how popular he is, maybe even the most "popular" pianist these days if you were to survey the general public.  I don't mean to bash him for the hell of it, but I guess I don't get it.  Maybe I'm just spoiled by years of listening to early/mid 20th century recordings of pianists from a bygone era.  To take one example, if someone like Jorge Bolet were to climb up in the ranks today, would he be as successful?  Have audiences changed and are they looking for different things now?  I sometimes wonder the same things about other forms of art, e.g. operatic stagings, which are getting more and more bizarre lately too it seems.  I feel like Beckmesser.  With Sachs over there, his arm joyously around Lang Lang's shoulder, about to burst merrily into song.  lol.  Now that's a scary thought.
While there certainly is a lot to be said on the future of pianism heading in that direction, we still have some decent artists. Daniil Trifonov, Yundi Li (for many works he's great; won the Chopin Warsaw Competition for a reason!), Yuja Wang is alright, and there are plenty of artists I've seen (one just came to my school and gave me and a couple of other students a masterclass, then played some of her impressionistic competition rep, including Scarbo from Gaspard) that play very musically, and we may well see them in concert halls a few years from now. Hard to know what the future will be like, honestly.
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blackonwhite
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« Reply #252 on: June 08, 2015, 11:44:14 PM »

I don't see why people hate BangBang he isn't bad maybe a bit exaggerated but he is not terrible
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pencilart3
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« Reply #253 on: July 29, 2015, 04:13:42 AM »

Lang Lang is a clown. Clowns make their living by making absurd faces to entertain onlookers...
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birba
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« Reply #254 on: August 03, 2015, 10:37:58 AM »

I don't know.  He IS sort of a clown, but at the same time, extremely gifted.  I just saw this Lang Lang dance project from Houston, texas, I think it was.  It was very very theatrical, him looking at the dancers as they performed - and some of those looks were, well, non-musical?- well, anyhoo, he demonstrates this uncanny ability to color his sound with pp-ff while playing at top speed.  Something Argerich is master at.  And it's spontaneous.  Done at the moment.  In other words, he's at complete complete control of the instrument at all times.  But where Luja Wang really moves you with this gift, he just sort of impresses you.  But, of course, one tires of this in the end.
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alpacinator1
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« Reply #255 on: September 24, 2015, 07:46:15 PM »

I don't like any contemporary pianists. They all bore me. None of the classic era pianists (Horowitz et. al.) would make it today. They wouldn't win competitions and maybe wouldn't even get accepted to conservatories. Today, the focus is purely on technical accuracy and interpreting everything in the same way that everyone else does. Having your own, memorable interpretation of a piece is frowned upon.
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« Reply #256 on: September 29, 2015, 03:48:47 AM »

To answer the OP's question, of course he's GOOD. I mean, if you can do this, you are pretty good. Lol imagine if somebody posted this in the audition room. Is he my favorite? Of course not. Is he in my top 20? No. But yes, he is good. The stupid audience claps at a stupid trill. Wow.

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schumaniac
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« Reply #257 on: October 10, 2015, 03:04:48 AM »

LOL but those are Chinese audiences for you... I think that was also in one of the more provincial cities
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sonicbass
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« Reply #258 on: March 02, 2016, 10:41:23 PM »

Here's noted classical critic Anne Midgette (Washington Post) on the question in October 2015:

"Lang Lang has been labeled overhyped and shallow by some, a whiz-bang entertainer. I’ve subscribed to that view in the past, but I didn’t think so when I heard him make his Carnegie Hall debut in this concerto with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in 2001, and — in part through having had such frequent opportunities to hear him in Washington — I don’t think so now. At 33, the pianist still has some of the physical mannerisms that have drawn criticism in the past — call it an overemphatic visualization of the drama of the music — but he’s toned it down. Or perhaps I’ve just started seeing past it. In any case, what I got from his playing was a welcome excitement, entertainment in the good sense and some beautiful communicative moments. More than his effortless runs, his whip-crack-perfect fingers, what struck me were his pianissimos, consistently delicate and perfect, nestled at the upper edge of the keyboard like a robin’s egg. As an encore, he offered a Cuban Dance by Ernesto Lecuona."

And another thoughtful review in March, 2015:

"It’s fashionable, in certain circles, to complain that we live in a world that takes intelligence as a sign of elitism and scorns it accordingly. Yet many classical music lovers propagate this same divide by looking down their noses at anything that smacks of populism — including some of the most popular artists in the field.

Exhibit A: the pianist Lang Lang, who gave a recital — presented by the National Symphony Orchestra — at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on Saturday afternoon.

There is no doubt that Lang Lang is fiendishly gifted. But the way in which he displays his talents has brought him under fire from many aficionados — including me. He’s been criticized for overemoting at the piano, for virtuosity at the expense of art: Some refer to him as “Bang Bang,” with lip decorously curled.

I had a chance to reexamine this kind of judgment, and find it facile, when the NSO brought Lang Lang to town for a residency in 2012. Saturday’s concert reaffirmed that it’s long past time to retire the Lang Lang stereotypes. You can like his style or not, but it’s hardly fair to brand someone a populist sellout when he offers a program consisting of Bach’s Italian Concerto, Tchaikovsky’s “The Seasons” and the four Chopin Scherzos — in other words, a generous helping of serious music.

Lang Lang remains an odd paradox: a brilliant musician who is underappreciated despite being one of the most popular classical artists on the planet. In this case, the general public — the people who flock to his concerts and buy his recordings and watch him playing with Pharrell Williams at this year’s Grammys — has it more right than the aficionados who affect to disdain him. One of the confusions about his work, I think, is that one can mistake his brilliant communicative abilities for a kind of dumbing-down.

On Saturday, he seemed to have reined himself in, particularly in the first half. In place of grand gestures, for the most part, he kept glancing out at the audience, like a storyteller who wants to make sure his points are landing: Got that? See what I mean? You with me here? As always in his performances, it was nearly impossible not to follow.

Mercifully absent was the kind of exaggeration that I used to feel pervaded his work. If Lang Lang’s Bach was not, strictly speaking, baroque, it was very much in the spirit of the music, played with light clarity and clear delineations between the upbeat first movement, the flowing second one and the madcap finale.

“The Seasons” is a challenge — not because it’s hard, but because it’s hard to keep it from being maudlin. The recital was presented as part of the NSO’s Tchaikovsky focus this season, hence the piece’s inclusion, but the work is a collection of 12 pieces written to be published in a piano magazine, one per month, and the pieces smack of the drawing room, their themes repeated over and over in the interests of clarity.

Watching Lang Lang mine them for expression without subverting their essential nature was an instructive lesson in interpretation — and an illustration of this artist’s fundamental sensitivity and musicality. He got a lot more out of them than many people might — the flurry of notes like frost crystals at the end of “January,” the attenuated line of single notes that concluded “October” — but, despite making some large claims for the scale of the hunting-tinged “September,” he didn’t force them to be more than they are.

The Scherzos in the second half of the program represented a qualitative and artistic contrast: Here, we got a more familiar version of Lang Lang, bringing out the dynamic extremes and the large emotional gestures and the dazzle of virtuosity. That’s because these pieces, with their quasi-operatic melody and drama and technical challenges, can take it. In the first Scherzo, in B Minor, the pianist yanked the line from one extreme to another, from wire-like highs to a thunder of lows, singing line to manic intensity, so that your body almost followed suit, like a passenger in a speeding train. But for all the excitement, he was never out of control; even in the most hell-for-leather passages, he could pull back to complete decorum at the touch of a finger.

Lang Lang offered two encores: a Chinese piece called “Seaweed Dance,” gentle and generically pretty, and Mozart’s Rondo alla Turca, with little ornaments thrown off like afterthoughts, so that the audience at one moment began to laugh — not at, but with him. In all of this field’s censure of populism, we’ve risked breeding the smile right out of our music; Lang Lang, though, has still got it."

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pianolover1979
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« Reply #259 on: March 02, 2016, 11:40:30 PM »

I've heard Lang Lang play 3 different recital programs and another 2-3 concerto programs. All have been technically extraordinary, and in most cases, emotionally/spiritually astounding, as well. I occasionally have disagreed with his artistic choices and find his physical gestures and facial expressions sometimes over-the-top (though, he is used to an arena-sized audience in China - so, the bigger the space, the more it works), but I find it ridiculous that anyone here really needs to debate whether he is "good or not."

Bottom line, Lang Lang is an incredibly gifted pianist - one of the finest in the last 100 years - particularly when he is playing repertoire that suits him (Prokofiev, Liszt, Chopin), but I've also heard him play composers/works outside of his "typical" fare - Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven - beautifully, as well.

Furthermore, Lang Lang as a musical ambassador, is doing more for piano, classical music, and music education than anyone else I can think of.

Is Lang Lang good? Of course he is. He may even be one of the greats.
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chopinlover01
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« Reply #260 on: March 08, 2016, 04:02:53 AM »

I've heard Lang Lang before. He strikes me as someone who has extreme technical control, but makes up dynamics as he goes along..
That said, his Traumerei was beautiful last I heard it.
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