Lang Lang asks: Are you mad?

Lang Lang asks: Are you mad?


norman lebrecht

September 23, 2014

… about Mozart, apparently.

Can’t be sure.

Click here for video. Or not, if you’re sane.

lang lang smells


  • Nick says:

    Just a Lang Lang promo for his new Mozart CD! Best to read the Terms & Conditions first, though, because if you reside outside the UK it just so happens you are not eligible! Then should you happen to win, your prize includes just one night in a hotel – so be prepared for a fast tour around the Vienna.

    Oh, and nothing profane is permitted! Odd, given that Mozart was hardly averse to a bit of naughtiness. Clearly any variant on “Leck mire den Ar— recht schön” won’t be considered! But then it now seems the music may not have been composed by Mozart after all (although I believe no such claim is made for the words)!

  • Doug says:

    Want to know everything that is wrong with classical music today? Keep an eye on this creature. Thanks Norman for doing so.


    Could the video have been any cheaper? With all of the potential this “artist” had to lead a generation this is the quality that we are all subjected to from him and his label? Classical artists think they know technology and their record labels and publicists think they know social media. On the contrary, they are a laughing stock when it comes to this. Slippedisc is the closest thing classical music has to a real “disrupter” in this so-called industry. The music has gotten lost and we’re seeing it in the utter collapse of the system from the American orchestras to the Italian opera houses. The music isn’t dead. The system is. Long live Mozart!

  • Emil Archambault says:

    Now now, they’re not just jumping on the Cecilia Bartoli bandwagon, are they? Given the very recent “Become Cecilia’s Superfan” contest…

  • Milka says:

    How easy it is to blame this”creature”
    as if to say that if he were not around things would be better , how naive a
    thought. 100 violinists sawing away at
    the Sibelius another 100 pianists
    banging away at the concerto of the day endless repetition of the same
    old same old and doing lip service
    for the “new ” as long as it sounds like
    the old .That’s the mind numbing “wrong”, The living always
    in the past which was at one time surprise, surprise” contemporary”.
    Mr. Lang Lang is about fame and money and the good life on his terms
    the recent prize winning fiddlers are
    about gaining the same but with a
    serious demeanor , both use music
    as a stalking horse to fame etc. etc .
    only Lang Lang seems to be having a good time at it ,which irritates others .
    No I do not go to Lang lang’s concerts
    nor do I go to hear Kavakos I find
    them equally boring ,though I suspect
    Lang Lang would be good for a well
    meaning laugh which we could all
    do with .

  • sdReader says:

    Oh God, does anyone (with knowledge) care? This musician is so mediocre, and the publicity entirely over the top!

  • Andrew R. Barnard says:

    Of course the video is crummy, cheap, but I’m tired of people assuming it’s a comment on Lang Lang’s musicality. Is the cheap advertising really his fault? I winced watching the video too, but could people take a little more time, realize that his upcoming disc was recorded with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Vienna Phil? Of course that doesn’t guarantee it’s a success. I’ll have to wait to hear it once it’s released. But Andre Rieu’s and Andrea Bocelli’s don’t record with the Vienna Phil.

    Keep complaining about the crummy advertising. But in the meantime, keep in mind that Nikolaus Harnoncourt, as serious a conductor as they come, had this to say about working with Lang Lang: “‘Enormous flexibility; no problems of the body, but a very open spirit and unmoulded musicality so that one can talk like Adam and Eve, without everything being finished already. Straight away the interest and understanding were there, the sound was different, and every hour of work became inspiring for me.”

    • Nick says:

      “Nikolaus Harnoncourt, as serious a conductor as they come . . . ”

      Serious he may be, but some of his Mozart has been more than questionable for many. The tempi for his 2006 Figaro at Salzburg were sleep-inducing, sucking all the joy out of that glorious work. Given that Lang Lang has recorded with Barenboim, Gergiev, Rattle, Mehta and others, I can’t see that working with Harnoncourt is anything special. As for Harnoncourt’s comments, they can be read in a number of ways. They are certainly not an unqualified endorsement of Lang Lang’s Mozart playing.

      • Andrew R. Barnard says:

        Of course Harnoncourt’s comments aren’t unqualified endorsement. Lang Lang needs to be subjected to the same standards of criticism as all other musicians, and even the greatest musicians have their off days. The point isn’t that Lang Lang is worthy of unstinting praise, simply that as someone working with the caliber of artists you mention, he at least deserves a fair listen. The problem is that many people have decided that Lang Lang is a complete fraud, so they don’t give him a fair chance, to the point that after seeing a video like the crummy “Mad about Mozart” video featured here, they think they’re beyond needing to listen to the recording to evaluate merit.

        Again, why is the crummy advertising Lang Lang’s fault? There seems to be a little bit of philistine spirit towards the poor guy. If his PR image sucks, can’t we still keep that separate from his actual playing? Like try to listen to a recording without the visual element?

    • Vince says:

      Harnoncourt should also mention the fact that Lang Lang sells enormous amount of tickets.

    • Ruben says:

      These quotes of Harnoncourt are very polite, but the “no problems of the body” – what on earth does that mean? Like the missus would say to her friends “we have no problems in bed” – not exactly a compliment, eh?

      That being said, Harnoncourt is not the best conductor for Mozart. The Missa Brevis recordings are sloppy, dull and partly aggressive – the symphonies with Concertgebouw have their moments, but this has been done so much better by so many by now.

      People are right. The industry is in full collaps. Lang Lang does what he can to sell CD’s and this took him one minute. He has no integrity, so what can we expect.