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 Post subject: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:05 pm 
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I though we had a topic about him, but I could not find it somehow.
After watching his performance of the Bartok sonata on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJ7A846nIjs
he's gone up several notches in my esteem again. Known as a virtuoso in the romantic tradition,
given to showing off and note-spinning, I'd never have associated him with Bartok, that least romantic and
most uncompromising of composers. But his technical and musical command of this tough-as-nails sonata
is just awesome. It may be a little on the fast side, but with such absolute clarity, scrupulous
phrasing, razor-sharp touch, and dynamics, and irresistible drive, it does not feel too fast. I can
imagine Bartok being played differently, but not better. Like Hamelin, this dude knows no limits.
He's visibly enjoying the ride too, no apparent effort involved. Sheesh, to be able to play like that....

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:18 pm 
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I listened to five minutes of this and turned it off. Talk about hideously ugly colorless pounding...Having heard Bartok's own playing on recording, I'd daresay he'd be horribly embarrassed by this.

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:00 am 
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jlr43 wrote:
I listened to five minutes of this and turned it off.


Wow! I can only applaud your patience! I turned off that massacre exactly at 1:32". His vulgar approach to music is truly unbearable! Indeed, one needs to listen to Bartok himself to understand how pathetic this clown is.

Best, M


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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:09 am 
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
Chris, I couldn't agree with you more. A bit too fast, but superlative! This is quintissential Bartok. This first movement shares the spirit and the angular motives and parrallel 9ths found in the Out-of-Doors Suite, 1st and 5th sections. For those that don't know, this sonata is rarely performed because its 2nd movement can only be played on a Bosendorfer with extended lower range. It requires FFF and GGG# (below the AAA). Some will play it on other pianos by inverting the intervals. There is one low note not used in the piece (DD#/EEb) that some use for scordatura (re-tuning) to get in one of the needed notes. In my opinion, it's just better to play the Out of Doors suite because it has more variety. Thanks for the link.

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:19 am 
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Nice to see some more good old-fashioned Lang-Lang bashing :lol: I guess I could have expected that.
If you hate Lang Lang already (which there can be good reasons to, I admit) he probably can't do anything good for you.
However I do insist this is truly superlative playing. Yes it emphasizes the motoric aspect of Bartok's writing, but it does so spendidly. Rather than being colorless, this for me sparks in many shades of steely gray.

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:49 am 
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No, has nothing to do with fashion of bashing him. In fact, I do not even hate him, but trying to accept his each individual performance on its own merits. For example, his Don Juan is superlative and... IMO, just phenomenal. There were quite a bit of other pieces, which I was able to enjoy quite a bit. But this particular so called "performance" reminds me a cowboy, who thinks that he is way cool, and gets into a finest French cuisine restaurant on a horse and in a vulgar way, burping and cursing, asks for a can of Budlight.

To circumcise all harmonic, melodic, musical, coloristic, intellectual, and contextual richness and complexity of Bartok's Piano Sonata to a mere rhythmic drive is a bit... how should I put it... unthoughtful, but then... what would I know?

Best, M


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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 11:17 am 
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Marik wrote:
But this particular so called "performance" reminds me a cowboy, who thinks that he is way cool, and gets into a finest French cuisine restaurant on a horse and in a vulgar way, burping and cursing, asks for a can of Budlight.

Very amusing description indeed. The performance did not strike me as such. But what do I know :D

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:37 pm 
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I can understand Lang Lang bashing sometimes, but I have heard a performance or two by him that I really enjoyed. Monica and I had a discussion some time back about his Chopin 27/2, which is a fine example of his best playing IMO. The only real complaint I had about that performance (on YouTube somewhere) was that his melody was often a little understated. It was far better than the other recordings I found on YouTube though.

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:05 pm 
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You mean the performance from his Carnegie Hall debut, Terez? It's a fine performance of a great intimacy to the music.
I generally don't like Lang Lang, but I think it's resulted mostly from the fact that I mostly heard him on the TV. His mimic and so on is too distracting. If I listened to him just on the audio, I would have given him more credit.
But on an occasion I thought that he is really good. It was his performance with Eschenbach of Beethoven's Choral Fantasy, in which the freshness of his playing (at that time he was count to the new faces in the classic world and his approach to music was felt all the more fresh) suited to the spirit of that relatively young Beethoven very well.

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:21 pm 
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Clang Clang! :P

Statistically, out of several hundred recordings, a famous pianist is due to make a fine recording or two. This is by far the most musically convincing performance I've seen from him. A titanic piece indeed!

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:47 pm 
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Really, quite excellent. Thanks for sharing this, Chris! I usually listen to Lang Lang with my eyes shut or by sound only, as I do find his antics less than professional. I must admit that the faces have seemed to get less in some recent videos I saw. They'll probably never be gone, however. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:49 am 
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Lang Lang is a nice guy with technique to burn. My problems with him have to do with the excesses that he goes to in far too many performances. The first time he appeared with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra he played the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini - had I not been watching the performance in person, it would have been fine. The body movements and the facial expressions - what was he looking for up there? His encore performance of a Chinese folk melody (I think his own arrangement) was actually quite good. I have the impression that he started his career before he was ready - a case of too much, too soon. It would not surprise me if he becomes much more acceptable to other pianists as he grows older.

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:01 am 
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There is only one word for how Lang Lang is on stage and how Glenn Gould was in the studio: self-indulgent (OK that might be two words). Where were their teachers when they were in training? I'll tell you where, right beside them telling them not to ruin the art and smacking them on the back of the head and telling them to shut up or get out. You know they HAD to be able to control themselves sometime for somebody bigger than they are. Then they accomplish something and are on their own and decide to do what ever they please. It is nothing more than lack of self-discipline. ... imo ... (and I can't stand that kind of arrogance and pride). I wouldn't go to a Lang Lang concert if someone gave me a left front row seat ticket. On the other hand, I would pay money, and good money at that, and walk two miles and sit in the back to see Hamelin. There is an artist extraordinaire. ...imo...

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:19 am 
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As usual Lang Lang provokes strong emotions. But I wish people would shut up about the facial expressions. There are many more pianists who gaze towards the heavens for no good reason and look just as ridiculous if not more. I just stumbled upon this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhnsXc5T ... re=related

which I think is awful. At least LL gives the genuine expression of having a whale of a time.

I'm not saying everything he does is great or even tasteful, but I do maintain this is a Bartok sonata of the highest standard, whether you agree with the single-mindedly percussive style or not. It's a choice, because LL can be exceptionally lyrical and fluid, too. Lastly, comparing any pianist to MAH is Not Fair .........

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:53 pm 
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Chris wrote:
There are many more pianists who gaze towards the heavens for no good reason and look just as ridiculous if not more. I just stumbled upon this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhnsXc5T ... re=related

which I think is awful.

What are the two ladies doing? pantomime or theatre?

BTW I don't think LL is arrogant. Every artist is allowed to have the pride of him/herself, if he shows such a pride. Apart from it I saw him many times behaving very modestly (which is considered as an important virtue in the East Asia), especially toward the conductor and the orchestra with whom he is playing.

Anyway he is certainly one of those artists, whose existence continuously evokes polemics. You know, the German critics have been so cruel to him for a long time, that a journalist has written an article analysing the reason (he was rather in favor of LL in that article).

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