Lang Lang gets hammered in London

The reviews for the Chinese pianist’s performances with the Philharmonia Orchestra this week have been uniformly… epic.

John Allison in the Telegraph:

So can he play Mozart? Not really, but he does manage some exquisite Mozartian effects. Lang Lang’s problem seems to be a flighty attention span, which leaves him bored the moment anything is going well. Too immature to channel his huge talent, he took the biggest liberties in his staccato exaggerations that found him pecking at the notes aggressively — the antithesis of what the Philharmonia was doing under Esa-Pekka Salonen. The slow movement supplied some balm, but he romped noisily though the finale. Nothing added up.

And can he play Chopin? Not on the evidence of his encore, the Waltz in E flat, Op. 18. Touting a cheap imitation, Lang Lang played with a vulgarity seldom, if ever, heard on the London concert platform. For crimes against its national composer, Poland really ought to lock him up and toss the key into the Vistula.

 

 

lang lang doctor

Geoff Brown in The Times:

In Mozart’s Concerto No 24, out came his old trick of raising an idle hand high in the air, throbbing with excess feeling, while other hand works the keys. This clearly impressed some in the packed house, but it did nothing for the sense of continuity in the wonderful music he was playing.

What I heard mirrored what I saw: a string of effects, chiselled notes here, abrupt dynamic shifts there, each phrase leading a separate life from its colleagues ahead and behind.

Richard Fairman in the Financial Times:

Lang Lang is not a performer who can be upstaged easily and his wildly exaggerated playing in Grieg’s Piano Concerto was nothing if not meant to be noticed. The melodies were milked for every last drop of emotion. The faster music was hammered out at top speed regardless of sense or clarity (and not with the precision there should have been). Everything was reduced to showing off in a way that cheapened the music.

Michael Church in the Independent:

There never was any problem with his technique, and there isn’t now, but the implicit message of his playing in the first movement was ‘look at me’. The lovely Rondo which followed was efficient, but neither soloist nor orchestra seemed alive to its beauty; the concluding variations were brilliantly executed, but cold.

Then it was encore time: Chopin’s Grande valse brillante, distorted with relish, and turned into a vehicle for Lang Lang’s superabundant vanity. While Salonen looked impotently on, he accepted his plaudits with practised finesse, and a look in his eyes which seemed to say ‘No, really, you are too, too kind!’

lang lang carcassonne

 

Tim Ashley in the Guardian:

You can’t fault his often formidable dexterity, but this [Grieg] was a wayward interpretation that proceeded by fits and starts. The best of it was perversely exciting, but lurching tempo changes threatened to pull the first movement out of shape, and dynamics were extreme to the point of exaggeration in the adagio. There were plenty of characteristic grand gestures and ecstatic glances towards the audience in moments of rapt contemplation. Playing a passage for the right hand alone, at one point, he placed his left hand over his heart and gazed heavenwards. Salonen just about kept things under control.

Andrew Clements in the Guardian (CD review):

The four Chopin Scherzos are often monstrously aggressive, with their hammered chords and machine-gun figuration – what should be filigree seems more like shrapnel – and little space is given to the moments of repose that allow these wonderful pieces to breathe.

 

 

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  • Michael Endres says:

    He used to play some truly exquisite Mozart like here in Munich in 2011 with members of the Symphonieorchester des Bayrischen Rundfunks, who seem to enjoy themselves very much. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMWmvIT9ktw
    And I still do like his KV 333 , from Royal Albert Hall. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c6EOtnrsFY .
    May God have mercy upon me for saying that.

  • Charles G. Clark-Maxwell says:

    ==Playing a passage for the right hand alone, at one point, he placed his left hand over his heart and gazed heavenwards.

    This is painful to read !

  • young says:

    Antithesis (Chopin Scherzo no.2)

    1. Lang Lang: https://youtu.be/_ImETzD5g9Y

    2. Seong-Jin Cho(2015 Chopin Competition winner): https://youtu.be/8Q5vnCs5Yxg?t=2h3m46s

    • Will Duffay says:

      Fascinating! Good comparison. LL’s lack of feeling, and all that saccharine emoting, are in contrast to the more genuine musician.

    • Lisa says:

      Every artists got his/her own audience. I just head that on a short radio interview Lang Lang played a segment of this piece and made the presenter cry. 🙂
      Here is the link:
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03b3bbk

      The whole program:
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p037xxhj
      Lang Lang’s interview starts around 10 minutes.

      • Sejoon says:

        Sorry but Lang Lang does not deserve an audience seeing how poorly he presents works such as Chopin. It is very clear that if Chopin saw his playing, he would be very dissapointed in Lang Lang as I and a lot of other people do. Seong Jin Cho on the other hand produces exceptional Chopin music and addresses what Chopin himself would’ve wanted it to sound like, and maybe even better. I assure you if great pianists were still alive today, they will automatically choose Seong Jin Cho as the more genuine musician and pianist.

  • Doug says:

    Here is a question worth serious consideration: Why does any orchestra even hire him? He should be forgotten like the flash in a pan of bacon he is.

    • Daniel F. says:

      Alas he is hired because the market forces of music demand it: LL puts people in the seats and, for the most part, they are wildly enthusiastic and will attend the next time he is, as you say, “hired”. Even in better times (when the virtuoso in question was certainly more musically sophisticated than Lang Lang), Schnabel never commanded Horowitz’s fees, nor did Szigeti’s equal those of Heifetz. It’s the damnable side of the music “business”.

      • Adrian says:

        Haha, nice comparison, but you are comparing between greatest musicians back in the day from the golden age! I could only dream of being able to compare the live concerts of these musical giants! I would have paid anything to see any of those you mentioned. And they are beyond any criticism.

    • John says:

      I’m guessing he’s boffo box office. After a point in his career when Van Cliburn could no longer play, he still sold out houses wherever he went.

  • Ivan says:

    If you think that’s bad, take a meeting with his manager.

    • Mike says:

      duh. While it is fair question to aks how come Lang still has a career, another question to ask is: how come his manager hasn’t yet been arrested?

  • Lisa says:

    Here is a recent (Sept 24, 2015) record of Lang Lang’s Grieg Piano Concerto on PBS site:
    http://video.pbs.org/video/2365574168
    Here is Lang Lang’s Mozart Piano Concerto on Youtube (recorded many year back):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2ACIcthECk
    Judge yourself.

    Also here is a star rating review from Guardian for Lang Lang’s Beethoven Piano Concerto 1 & 4
    http://www.theguardian.com/music/2012/mar/21/philharmonia-salonen-lang-lang-review
    Here are Lang Lang’s Live performance of Beethoven Piano Concerto 1 and 4 on Youtube:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQpEZ0ODNDw
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTO9ms_eIEY
    Again judge yourself.

    The question is: How much do those reviews tell us about Lang Lang? How much those reviews tell us about those reviewers themselves?

  • Francisco Burgos says:

    I think he is a great pianist. He does know how to get the media and public to pay attention to what he does though and that in itself is a plus. As for the music critics…….. do we really care or need them? I think I can make my own opinion about a performance without somebody telling me how good or bad it was.

    • Mike says:

      Reading your post, I am convinced more than ever than we in fact do need honest and knowledgeable music critics. In the age when money and a bit market can buy you notoriety such as Lang’s, and blinded tone-deaf audiences run to his concerts to admire his pseudo virtuosity and post ignorant comments ( such as yours) there is a need for the voice that says ‘the emperor is naked’.

      • Francisco Burgos says:

        I get your point Mike but I totally disagree with you. We can argue about Lang’s performance till the end of time (which I am not planning to do). I do think that I am entitled to my opinion as much as you are. When you say “and blinded tone-deaf audiences run to his concerts to admire his pseudo virtuosity and post ignorant comments ( such as yours) ” I a see you as a person that can not be taken seriously. Here is a link to my website where you can get information about why I am entitled to say what I say: http://www.burgosguitar.com

    • Will Duffay says:

      Of course you can form your own opinion. But when every critic is saying pretty much the same thing, it suggest some sort of objective truth.

      • Alvaro says:

        Or uniform envy….

        • Will Duffay says:

          Much more likely to be technically brilliant but unmusical playing which the critics can see through.

          Why on earth would the critics be envious? They go to concerts at which the world’s greatest and most popular classical musicians are playing and singing. Why on earth would Lang Lang be singled out for criticism?

          • Tom says:

            Youtube enables you easily to compare Richter, Gilels, Ashkenazy and Lang Lang playing Rachmaninov’s (very taxing) B flat prelude, Op. 23/2.

            What is very striking is that, while the first three (in their different ways) articulate what the score says, in detail and with great discipline (and indeed no lack of excitement), Lang Lang plays the piece splashily, aiming for sheer speed above all else. Articulation, character and shading (both dynamic and harmonic) go by the board, and a fair bit of accuracy too. You only need to listen to one of the others to see how far removed from Rachmaninov’s idiom Lang Lang’s assault on this piece is. It’s quite instructive to observe the different audience reactions too; full Albert Hall or not, Lang Lang’s crowd sound distinctly underwhelmed.

            It’s such a shame, because Lang Lang really does have the technique to do anything. I just wish he’d get a grip and realise that he has the chops to be a truly great musician, if only he’d dump the ridiculous showboating. Just occasionally (as in his recordings of Rachmaninov’s 3rd and Prokofiev’s 2nd concerti), he plays properly – and the results are great. More please.

  • Minutewaltz says:

    We went to two of the concerts – the Grieg and the Mozart. Both were received with prolonged and enthusiastic applause.
    As for the Chopin waltz – it was not played as a recording for a cd, but as as a bit of fun as an encore – and judging by the applause, the audience loved it.

    I’m not sure why these critics need to be so spiteful. Could it be that they don’t like the fact that he’s got a good head for business and has a following among young people as a ‘pin up’ – as well as being a virtuoso pianist.

    It would be a shame if these unkind reviews put him off performing in UK as there are plenty of us who love his performances.

    • Will Duffay says:

      “I’m not sure why these critics need to be so spiteful. Could it be that they don’t like the fact that he’s got a good head for business and has a following among young people as a ‘pin up’ – as well as being a virtuoso pianist.”

      I don’t understand this assumption that universally poor reviews are because of the spite and jealousy of critics. There is actually a much much simpler and more obvious reason: they don’t like the lack of refined musicality in his playing. It really is about the playing, and nothing else.

  • Mark Henriksen says:

    Lang Lang has a dose of Liberace in him. So what?

  • John Borstlap says:

    No doubt the pianist wept all the way to the bank.

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    Don’t be fooled. Liberace, Victor Borge, Roger Williams all played with utmost class and style. They played rare classical morsels but very respectfully. Borge was a classically trained pianist and played with a golden sound.

  • Alvaro says:

    Classical musicians are forged in the tradition of envy, prejudice, misanthropy and backstabbing:

    – I didnt know u were also auditioning
    – How come you got that concert? (Nobody ever tells)
    – etc.

    In that light, its obvious that anything that LL does will dismay the people above.

    So where exactly SHOULD he be playing? Your “objectivity” turns into plane Hate when even posing this question: should he play piano at all? Should he pay reparations to Poland for “defenestrating” Chopin? At which point will you be satisfied if his career starts to decline? Abject poverty? Would you be happy if he has to play in the streets? Or even then you would pass him and throw a coin with the same gaze of the murderers and despots that financed the classical music thst you now consider “culture”

    What is ENOUGH? Death?

    More than fans of the art, some of the people above are restrain racists, classists, and despots with only one valid musical viewpoint: theirs. Sounds a lot like extreme islam.

    Meanwhile, in the real world, LL still makes more money per concert than everybody makes here in a year, and has reached out to more people than all of the sad knstitutions that his critics manage.

    I personally dont gove a crap about how he played, he’s much more important to the music world than his playing.

    The guy could choose to play Frozen, or to become a cheap clown like Igudesman & Joo (who have 1/1000th of the talent of LL) yet in this blog I&J are heroes and everything about Lang Lang is trashed: if its something good its minimized or put into question, if its negative, its celebrated by you like a group of blood thirsty vultures.

    Disgusting.

    • Francisco Burgos says:

      I agree 100% with your comment

    • Will Duffay says:

      Watch – and listen to – the two examples of Chopin playing that Young has posted above. Then you should hopefully understand. And if you don’t – well, you enjoy LL’s playing so that’s great for you, but please understand that others see through the superficial exterior.

      Having said that, the critics do sometimes like his playing. The reviews of his Bartok and Prokofiev disc with Rattle were much better. I suspect all that’s happened this week is he’s played the wrong repertoire for him. The brasher, more percussive pieces of the 20th century appear suit his playing much better than romantic or classical works.

    • Bo says:

      He should try to let the music speak for itself.

    • John says:

      Where should he be playing? We have a Holiday Inn here in town where he could do gigs during happy hour.

    • Adrian says:

      ahhh, that is beside the point, in general, critics and sophisticated audience are really talking about his musicianship, musically speaking, not showmanship. which is what he is good at. How much money he makes is not really important and is of no concern when it comes to him as pianist.

  • Robert Moir says:

    Doug asks: “Here is a question worth serious consideration: Why does any orchestra even hire him?” Here is a considered answer.

    Top severn reason orchestras (and presenters) hire him despite the savage reviews of some (not all) critics?

    7. Questions of style and taste aside, the guy can play the piano.
    6. The war between high art and pop culture was won long ago by pop culture. He has a pop culture appeal and following. His pop culture fans probably don’t go to hear (and see) great artists like Andras Schiff or Emanuel Ax, but when they buy tickets to Lang Lang they feel they are purchasing high art being delivered by a pop star.
    5. The reviews quoted here are selected for their tone. Lang Lang also gets good reviews from serious critics as in London in April (http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/apr/21/lang-lang-review) and LA in March (http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-lang-lang-review-20150323-story.html) to pick just two.
    4. Lang Lang’s pop culture fans don’t read classical music reviews and don’t read Slipped Disc. His “serious” fans might read them, but probably don’t decide what to attend based on one person’s review, no matter how experienced a listener the writer might be.
    3. Orchestra administrators know he will get both good and bad reviews, and that the bad ones can be counted on to achieve extremes of hyperbole that will attract much attention to the review, but deter few from actually attending.
    2. The biggest deterrent to an orchestra (or presenter) booking Lang Lang is his very high fee. Yet the orchestra (or presenter) knows that Lang Lang is one of a tiny number of artists on whom they are guaranteed not to lose money. Which leads to the number one reason why orchestras and presenters continue to book Lang Lang.
    1. He sells tickets.

    • Lisa says:

      Add another point to 3: Orchestra administrators also know that Lang lang has relative large repertoires. (Expanding repertoires is not a trivial thing). They also know that he has very good work ethics and professional attitudes, never show up un-prepared and seldom cancel. In other words, he is reliable.

      Taste is very individual thing. A music/movie/play could be corny/cliche for some, but inspiring for others, could be also boring/pretentious for some, but thought provoking for others.
      A person with “good taste” does not imply that he/she is more intelligent or has better value system, and so is the vice versa.

  • Li Li says:

    To Alvaro (and other LL fans):
    I simply can not share your taste (and also your agressivity). There is nothing to do with racisme, being myself Chinese. Among REAL classical music lovers and connaisseurs in China, LL is very much disliked (yes, that exists, Chinese people who have taste…). As everybody knows, a bestseller book doesn’t need to be a litterary masterwork, very often the mediocrity is more popular and accessible in the field of art. It’s rather ridiculous that you mentioned the fact that LL makes more money than anybody else (it seems to be your criteria), this obviously explains that you don’t care about how he plays (honest of you at least).

  • Scott says:

    So here’s a fact on Lang Lang’s ability to play Mozart – he’s won this year’s Echo Klassik award for his Mozart album, as instrumentalist of the year.

    It is not an artist’s responsibility to please every listener, mind you Glen Gould played Brahms No. 1 in such an absurd manner that the conductor had to explain to the audience at Carnegie Hall why he is obliged to conceive Gould’s interpretation, even though it is distinctly different to anything he’s heard before or dreamed of.

    • Adrian says:

      His Mozart concerto recording with Harnoncort (wrong spelling) surprisingly was quite good, for once he did make some music. But then he has one of the greatest conductor who probably just made him behave well, keep his attention and play properly

  • Tim Walton says:

    This is why LL is popularly known at ‘Klang, Klang’ or ‘Bang, Bang’

    If this is what people want and are stupid enough to pay silly amounts of money to hear him murder these great pieces of music, then more fool them, but that is their right.

    No true musician would be seen dead going to his concerts. Don’t forget, Critics don’t pay for their seats. But they do deserve all our sympathies for having to put up this this silly pianist who should grow up. He’s not a child any more

    • Mark says:

      Well, put it this way. He found a large classical music audience. Lets assume that what you say is true. Then, sophisticated ears like yours are in the minority and he would be a poor man indeed to cultivate you as a typical audience member. If you don’t recognize that he can do whatever he wants on a technical level then you are kidding yourself. So, basically he chooses to perform in a manner that resonates with a large part of the classical music audience. That is a smart and talented musician.

      • Jenny B says:

        I paid £20 for a 4th row seat in the stalls, about 9 feet from the piano. The concert was worth it for the Peer Gynt alone. I agree with the critics though. He has an amazing talent but this was wildly exaggerated to please a not very discriminating audience.

      • Adrian says:

        I truly hope his playing is not resonating with the majority of classical music listeners but just a few ignorant ones. But regardless, his popularity with the masses is great in the sense that he really helps promote the popularity of classical music. It is the same with Pop music, where the most famous singers often cannot sing at all (e.g Spears, T. Swift etc) . At least he brings good revenue to the concert hall with great ticket sales (as pointed out by others here) in such times when classical music business is often on the brink of collapse. On the hand, there are many not so well known pianists around who may be the best of the best?! Has anyone heard of Lisa De La Salle ? A truly beautiful musical genius! And I have not made this conclusion based on her looks because I first heard her from the radio and thought she was a much older more mature pianist, Her playing is just exquisite, completely to want LL and YuJa Wang do. Butt maybe it is a blessing she remains not so famous to avoid the curse of being a star as suffered by few of these star pianists these days, I do feel stardom often inhibit musicians from achieving their best. Even Yo Yo Ma suffers from this often….

        http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003FONYO2?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=od_aui_detailpages00

  • Mark Henriksen says:

    People Magazine states than Lang Lang made 75 Million dollars in the past year. All the “advice” being given to him is silly beyond belief. He has done something few classical musicians have been able to do (and certainly no one criticizing him here); play music that a lot of people actually want to hear!

  • Ross says:

    He sells every seat in the house and the audience goes wild afterwards.
    That’s why he gets hired and that’s why he has a major career.

  • young says:

    I like Lang Lang as an entertainer or clown. I really enjoy his playing.

    But LL’s performances should be appropriately criticized if we want to respect the composers and their music.

    As an entertainer or clown, LL’s doing very well. But don’t insist LL is a serious musician.

  • Music lover says:

    I find it interesting that the critics across the Atlantic gave very similar comments about his lack of performance in October at Carnegie Hall. He played Chopin’s four Scherzos, Tchaikovsky’s twelve seasons, and a Bach concerto. His concert was not quite sold out, and neither was the one in Seattle where he performed both the Grieg Concerto and the Mozart Concerto. His management group is very adept at giving the impression that his concerts are always sold out and he is the most sought after pianist in the world.

    He is a great entertainer in the classical piano world, and therefore attracts a certain type of audience. Traditional serious musicians would not find his performance a bit entertaining. However, he will continue to be in great demand as long as he has his fan base.

  • CDH says:

    I was at a fundraising gala a few years ago where he was the featured artist. The house was heavily papered, and still not sold out — probably a first in the history of the galas in question. I thought perhaps his star had peaked, and by that point had read quite a few reviews that were withdrawing from the early enthusiasm for LL and all his doings. Ironically, this was one of the occasions where he presented a subdued performance, Mozart and Chopin as I recall, and played very well indeed with fewer of the affectations than I had seen before and heard of. The audience that was there seemed pretty impressed — it was not a crowd of cheering, screaming groupies, it was people supporting a particular orchestra and a group of bemused first-timers. But they got a real performance. So he can do it — perhaps if he were less encouraged in the side-shows, he would settle to his natural talents and deliver performances like this.

  • anon says:

    But this is an old story: critics slamming a virtuoso who’s too flashy/superficial/immature. Audiences go wild.
    The scary thing is when the critics write positive reviews of equally immature artists (Lisiecki, for example), because….. why? the kid is blond? Because he’s not Lang Lang and it’s well accepted to give Lang Lang bad reviews?

    Many of the London critics proved themselves untrustworthy last year during Taragate.

    • young says:

      I agree with your point on Lisiecki.
      But it does not mean LL deserves good reviews from the critics.

      • anon says:

        It wasn’t my point either. My point was that somehow it has become “OK” to trash LL where otherwise politeness rules the day.
        If these critics aren’t going to be consistent, you can’t trust them.

  • Alvaro says:

    Theres something very simple here. 99% of the negative comments here come from Losers that cant get minimum wage playing and have to rely on other sources of income to make ends meet.

    Lang Lang makes 75 Million playing what exactly? Frozen? Star wars? Hip hop? NO! He’s done so playing Beethoven, Mozart, and Chopin. He could do even more money if he went crossover, but what is admirable is that he manages to have this success with otherwise very traditional and very restrictive repertoire for 99.999999999999% of the humans that inhabit the earth.

    So, if 20, 30, or 1000 frustrated musicians complain, so what. The guy plays very well when compared to most professionals out there, and does so on a very tight schedule that none of you could bear: international travel, projects, TV appearances, etc, with very very little time to practice.

    Its far easy to reduce everything to black and white regarding someone’s playing. But the way I see it is. Lang Lang wins, you lose, and your bile wont go pass this sad blog and its readers.

    • Li Li says:

      Again, Alvaro, is it MONEY your ONLY preoccupation??? That is quite disgusting. Real artists don’t complain or envy as you presumed with such petty minds. It is simply a question of taste and choice. It is ok if you have different ideas or tastes, but if you consider people who don’t agree with you are all losers, than you have a real problem.

  • SC says:

    Thank you Norman. Probably the worst evening of a lifetime’s concert-going was a LL solo show in the Albert Hall (last year? I’ve blocked it.) So I was surprised to read a positive review of this concert yesterday, in a normally respectable British Sunday newspaper. You have reassured me that not all critics have gone deaf, glamour blind or whatever.

  • Feurich says:

    The critics have a role to play. LL is not a good pianist and I object to the notion that “he can do whatever he wants at the piano.” No he can’t. Playing all the notes quickly is not enough; you need to play with meaning, that is a true virtuoso. The London critics also destroyed Ivo Pogorelich last year. Having once been a huge fan of his, I have to say they were right. He is a shadow of his former self; other critics were giving him a pass, too kind or the result of poor understanding. It is important that there are some people willing to tell the truth to deluded musicians or to clueless audiences.

    • Adrian says:

      Agreed, it is actually much more difficult at times to play slower but with better articulations instead of rushing all the notes and banging the piano is not a good skill either, Softer sound and long legato notes that appear non-challenging (at least to non-musician lay people) can be extremely difficult. Most younger pianists fail in the softer expressive passages. Almost all young budding pianists inevitably do not do as well in these passages, when compared with the showy mechanically challenging faster passages with many notes. But almost any great professional pianists can play through them anyway, but are they played with meaning, that is more important!

  • Frederick West says:

    LL = J Lo?!
    A clown and a circus entertainer but he gets the dollars. The Donald Trump of the concert platform. Shallow, flashy but ultimately the product of the superficial. Takes all sorts….

  • Alan A Thorpe says:

    Lang Lang takes us back to the age of great personality performers. He loves to perform in public, he adores his audiences and they in return love him. With Lang Lang a recital or concerto isn’t a funeral as it appears to be with some pianists who look heavenward for inspiration while the rest of us fall asleep. As for the old guard critics well many of them wouldn’t be able to get on the Royal Albert Hall stage and play a Chopin Mazurka let alone Bartok 3, Rachmaninoff 3 or all the Beethoven concertos. Lang Lang has brought back to the concert platform a breath of fresh air. His ideas are original and as Shura Cherkassky once said about young pianists, ‘They all play very well nowadays – but you know what they are going to do – I like surprises.’ I’m sure Lang Lang would have surprised him.

  • Alan Thorpe says:

    Lang Lang’s performance of the Grieg concerto on Youtube is one of the most fascinating and original accounts of this old war horse I’ve heard in a long time. I never thought there was anything new to say about this work but as always Lang Lang is full of individual, spontaneous thoughts and insights. One of the most gifted and popular classical pianists before the public today. Many negative comments come from those with fixed views on how a certain piece should be played. Forget tradition and be creative.

  • Piano Man says:

    The man is a business man, but clearly not a pianist. A pianist goes to try and find the inner most beauty in music, in every passage and note… while Lang Lang beats the crap out of the piano.

    Sure he may have charisma and charm, like Andre Rieu, but that doesn’t mean he is a serious musician. He plays music for attention and does nothing to express the potential that music has to touch our minds.

    • Alan Thorpe says:

      In his Prom’s encore of part of Liszt’s second Hungarian Rhapsody he did bang away and it wasn’t very musical. However, he has improved in recent years and his Rachmaninoff second concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic on Youtube shows much sensitivity and musicality. His Chopin second piano concerto has moments of poetry too but many gifted pianists do not have any stage presence and whether we like it or not, personality does count in maintaining a successful career.

  • Mike Karren says:

    God Damn critics! They damn near destroyed how many of the greatest musical talents the world has known? And I have to wonder how truely great music have been snuffed out thanks to these hellish SOBs! For fact I point to the biographies of Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Korngold, and on and on and on. So, in my humble opinion, it’s this God Damn critic that should be either shot or put in jail for life! He’s obviously a sexually frustrated lonely old shell of a SOB who needs to dry up and blow away on the wind. Lang Lang WILL be remembered for all the things opposite of this SOB’s OPINION long after he is dead and gone! Maybe he and Lang Lang’s “angry teacher” should go to bed together and make little angry people? Who knows, 2 negatives might make a positive? And then they might even have one single happy thought in their miserable pathetic frustrated lives! I’m sure old ass hole Norman Lebrecht will never read this, but it sure felt great getting it off my chest! Lang Lang, thanks for the beauty and passion and you go right on girl and do it your way, and flip the bird to these bastards!

  • Jack Sparrow says:

    I would like to note that I am familiar with the name Lang Lang. However, I am not familiar with the name of anyone who has commented on this article.

  • Joseph Mark Ippolito says:

    Still brilliant for all his intellectually reviled faults and glory and that’s it really…

  • Leo says:

    Agreed….lang lang should be called bang bang…I don’t like it…Horowitz was the same…ease up dude, I know you are there…just play the piece and forget making noise.

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