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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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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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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:39 pm 
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hyenal wrote:
What are the two ladies doing? pantomime or theatre?

Yeah, it makes you wonder doesn't it. I hope Andreas and me didn't look like this when playing our 4-hand Mozart :lol:
Even though they're not exactly unattractive, this puts me off more than the silly faces of LL. At least he is sort of funny and spontaneous, and probably genuine, whereas this is just looks like corny acting. It's probably very good Mozart playing, though I am not an expert in that.

hyenal wrote:
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.

I can't help liking the guy. He may have a little bit of a star attitude but I believe also he is modest and probably good fun. The real arrogant stars that make me want to puke are the rap stars with their LA mansions and Ferraris, who get the millions hosed towards them for producing sh*t noise of no value whatsoever, and who behave like they earn every respect in the world and have a right to grab every female they fancy.

Whoa, I guess that went a bit OT :shock: But I feel better now :D

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:25 pm 
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I'll give you this re LL: I loved his Bartok Sonata; but I'll just listen to it with my eyes closed. 8) Unfortunately, with Gould I have to close my ears, but that makes hearing the music pretty difficult. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:39 pm 
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I have played with LL twice with the Phoenix Symphony. The first time was when he first was making the rounds as a soloist. We all thought he was a tremendously gifted pianist and sensitive interpreter. The second time was last year. Just by counting the number of people in his entourage, I'd say he had definitely reached the superstar level. He performed a Chopin concerto, and though he could have performed it unconscious, backward, in a straight jacket, his interpretation had definitely reached the "affected" stage - stopping just short of the "Liberace" level. His facial mannerisms did not bother me as much as his musical ones. Though he was indeed cordial and respectful, his tempos were unpredictably flighty to the point of being nearly impossible to follow. I am a pianist and knew the concerto, but it was easy to get hung out to dry nonetheless. When she was younger, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg used to be like this too. We used to say she wasn't a soloist so much as a "concerto stylist". LL is not quite that, and is sometimes stunningly good, but at other times he certainly pushes the limits of good taste pretty far.


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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:12 am 
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Yes absolutely, he can be pretty exasperating. A mixed bag indeed. But when he's good, he is very good.

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:22 pm 
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I just watched a series of videos from a masterclass conducted by LangLang in which he has risen quite a bit in my eyes. The entire masterclass is on youtube, check it out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcB1grpP ... re=related

I was quite surprised.

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:25 am 
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I've just watched some of the series (beginning from the part 4 which you linked here) and am very impressed! At least the part 4-5 is very instructive (also to me) and LL is a serious musician and good teacher there. BTW I was very sorry about that poor girl with the Waldstein sonata. She seems to have chosen/played a too difficult piece for her.

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:52 am 
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Very good master class.

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:27 am 
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My former teacher (no mean artist herself) told me about attending a LL masterclass, and being very impressed by his musicality and sincerity. I guess that has always colored my appreciation of him a bit.

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:52 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:28 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:41 pm 
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Marik wrote:
musical-md wrote:


Unfortunately, with Gould I have to close my ears, but that makes hearing the music pretty difficult. :wink:


Even if Gould was alive I highly doubt he would be bothered by that fact, or... would just politely advise you to check your ears (and frankly, if it was me, I would be the happiest person if somebody of Gould stature paid attention, or said even one word to me, no matter what it was).

It is so fashionable to put down people like Gould, Horowitz, or even Richter, or Gilels. The greater the artist, the more controversy to find, but I wish people would become little more humble and just be thankful to the fact itself those great people ever existed. I wish people were little less arrogant and self-indulgent (ironically, something they usually accuse Gould) and judge those great artists by their highest achievements, or try to find something positive, or... just shut up if there is nothing good to say.

Best, M

No need to get nasty :evil: . Given that music is an art of sound, and people (and soloists) at a recital are disturbed by sneezing, coughing, OMG talking, squeeky chairs, noisy air systems, crashing doors, passing sirens, overflying aircraft, etc. in short, anything but absolute silence, what can one do when it is the ARTIST that provides the noise? The arrogance is amply demonstrated in that if Gould performed IN PUBLIC and members of the audience were to hum along, HE would never have tolerated the very behavior he practiced (sort of like Keith Jarrett). Now who in their right mind would criticize Richter or Gilels? :D

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:21 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:06 am 
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Well it is obvious that you and I will never agree on this but that's OK. I feel that you are so enamored with the messenger that you miss the sender. It isn't about Landowska, Gould, Richter, Tureck or even Felstman or Perahia, its about Bach. Performers are to convey the composer interpretively, and I think that Gould did a fine job of doing that, except that he marred everything by interpolating not just his spirit, but his noise too. No man or woman has the right or priviledge to do that. Everyone does have the right and priviledge to pursue the beauty of a composer's work to the best of their ability for themselves. For some, the quality that they achieve is also suitable for others to enjoy. For a few, it is of such high standard that it is for all (the world) to experience, but it does not mean necessarily that it will be liked by all. Given Gould's own expressed opinion of other people (the rest of humanity besides himself), it is apparent that he was little more than a Bach monastic, who enjoyed his own private charismatic or mystical worship and had no interest in the leading of community worship of Bach. So be it. I say the following with all seriousness as a physician: Gould was not normal, in the sense that people who go around talking to themselves are not normal (let alone his microphobia, and I don't mean microphones). Say he wasn't a pianist, but a harpist or violinist, or better yet a flautist or an oboist. Would you still think he was Zeus himself descended from Parnasus to reveal the great Bach through performances with humming and all? Please. You should note, that my crazy hypothetical just now removes the pianist entirely for the sake of the composer! That's where the importance is to be. But alas, others will think otherwise. And so the world turns.

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:09 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:09 pm 
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What a great discussion my post about LL has sparked ! One that could go on for ever and ever, as both contestants hurl massive iron-clad arguments into each other without yielding so much as one inch.

Personally I do not understand GG worshipping any more than I understand LL bashing. For all his undeniable genius, I find GG at times totally perverse, dissecting the music like a pathologist, and producing performances close to parody of the music. Obviously being such a genius he's allowed all that, plus hum through it all, while LL is denied the right to pull a face or shape a performance the way he wants it (this is then dubbed a massacre). It seems a bit unfair to me. While LL does not have GG's massive intellect and contrapuntal skill, I do find him the more versatile musician of the two. Where GG is a man on a mission, LL is a guy enjoying himself. Al least you have the possibility to ignore his funny faces, while you can't well shut out GG's obtrusive vocals.

Nice speculation whether or not Bach would have tolerated GG's humming, or even have approved of his playing. It's possible, just as IMHO it's possible that Bartok would have approved of LL's rendition of his Sonata. As is rightly said, we do not know the composer's "will" never mind how many directions they wrote in their scores.

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:34 pm 
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Marik,
I'm not sure if you have missed a point of mine. I do accept Gould as an inovative and important interpreter of Bach, SANS THE VOCALIZING! I can't appreciate any kind of genius at the piano with someone humming in my ear. That's all. If the humming were coming from an audience member they would be quickly removed from the premesis. What am I to do if it's the artist? Determine never to go to his concerts, or buy his recordings (this despite the fact that I own LPs of him performing the Inventions, Sinfonias, Partitas, and the entire WTK).

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:22 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:52 am 
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Marik wrote:
Well, while I can ignore LL's mimics and faces, it would be quite hard to ignore actual listening to something like 'this':

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMfz1G7Btyo

Yep, that's some seriously ugly bashing. When LL is good he's great, when he's bad he's awful.

Marik wrote:
On the other hand, I am sure this discussion itself will fall to the bottom of the cyber space, following the fate of many other more or less serious discussions

It probably will. But that won't be your fault Marik :P

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:04 pm 
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:D


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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:12 pm 
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Marik wrote:
musical-md wrote:
Marik,
I'm not sure if you have missed a point of mine. I do accept Gould as an inovative and important interpreter of Bach, SANS THE VOCALIZING! I can't appreciate any kind of genius at the piano with someone humming in my ear. That's all. If the humming were coming from an audience member they would be quickly removed from the premesis. What am I to do if it's the artist? Determine never to go to his concerts, or buy his recordings (this despite the fact that I own LPs of him performing the Inventions, Sinfonias, Partitas, and the entire WTK).


Thank you for clarifying and finally going from the line "Unfortunately, with Gould I have to close my ears" to letting us know that beyond seing Gould as somebody doing a "fine job" you actually accept him as "an inovative and important interpreter of Bach".

I guess, the whole confusion has started when all of the sudden in the midst of talking about Lang Lang you mentioned Gould's name, which by itself just does not sound right.

In any case, while I still do not understand your position about Gould's humming (thinking that besides his importance in entire history of pianism, there are some other rather important qualities of his playing, which BTW, left quite a deep impact on the performing art of entire generation, which by itself might overshadow his I'd say rather minor natural mannerisms), I can totally respect you decision of not going to his concerts, which anyway would be hard, since he is not alive anymore, or for that matter did not give concerts since 1963, when you were still quite young (and BTW, myself was not quite born yet, for another 2 years).

As for buying his recordings I don't think he will lose much on that one, either, as since 1982 he already did not care about royalties from sales anymore, besides the obvious fact, if one does not want to benefit from touching an important historical figure, or just a darn fine pianist on his own merrits, there is no need to force it.

Best, M


Marik, judging by what you chose to make issue with ... I think you need to see a proctologist for possible removal of a foreign body. This has now descended below the level of a discourse on ideas. I leave you to pick someone else to argue with.

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"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:28 pm 
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musical-md wrote:
Marik, judging by what you chose to make issue with ... I think you need to see a proctologist for possible removal of a foreign body. This has now descended below the level of a discourse on ideas. I leave you to pick someone else to argue with.

Gee Eddy, I had not expected you to throw in the towel so soon.
But you do so in great style, I say. A masterly final flourish ! Roll on the proctologist jokes :lol:

Who else will take up the challenge now, I wonder ? I so love to follow a good heated argument :P

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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:07 pm 
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techneut wrote:
musical-md wrote:
Marik, judging by what you chose to make issue with ... I think you need to see a proctologist for possible removal of a foreign body. This has now descended below the level of a discourse on ideas. I leave you to pick someone else to argue with.

Gee Eddy, I had not expected you to throw in the towel so soon.
But you do so in great style, I say. A masterly final flourish ! Roll on the proctologist jokes :lol:

Who else will take up the challenge now, I wonder ? I so love to follow a good heated argument :P

Why thank you Chris. I actually thought I would be excommunicated. :shock:

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"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:38 pm 
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techneut wrote:
I so love to follow a good heated argument :P


Something missing on this board quite a bit :D :D :D

musical-md wrote:
Marik, judging by what you chose to make issue with ... I think you need to see a proctologist for possible removal of a foreign body. This has now descended below the level of a discourse on ideas. I leave you to pick someone else to argue with.


Hello Muscal-MD,

Thank you for your professional opinion! Before following your advice seeing a proctologist I better remove another foreign body first, i.e. my messages, so hope everybody is happy and the issue is closed.

Thanks everybody for your attention.

Best, M


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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:37 am 
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Lang Lang is his own style of pianist. I am one who appreciates his style. Especially on Chopin's Heroique Polonaise. He may seem extreme, but he brings his own style of emotion to piano.


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 Post subject: Re: Lang Lang
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:27 am 
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Quote:
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 [link]


I think part of the reason pianists look to the stage ceiling when they perform is to prove that they have the music so well memorized, there's no question that they can play without looking at the keys.. it's like the whole "look mommy I'm riding my bike without holding the handlebars" accomplishment. I think it is kind of silly. I don't really mind Lang Lang's theatrics.

This reminds me-- I remember seeing a video on youtube and someone put this in the comments section of Barenboim playing Sonata Pathetique by Beethoven:

1st subject after introduction (1:51) according to:

Glenn Gould: Play it unnecessarily fast.

Willhelm Kempff: Play it like the score says.

Sviatoslav Richter: Play it like I want to play it.

Arthur Rubinstein: Make it sing... kind of like Chopin.

Lang Lang: Shake maniacally while you play it.

Barenboim: Play it, such that it sounds good.

I don't think Lang Lang thinks, "gee I should shake maniacally when I play something." After watching his performance of Bartok's Piano Sonata I think it was clear that his movement while playing shows he is connected to the music. Now I don't know why he looked at the sheet music while he was bouncing on the piano bench--if that was me the idea of using the sheet music at help would be worthless. I'm sure he memorized the music, the sheet music was there just in case.

I also saw a really funny video featuring LL and Tom and Jerry :lol: enjoy:

Quote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1ZdbcEOiNc

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