Sicklist: Lang Lang cancels Elbphilharmonie

Sicklist: Lang Lang cancels Elbphilharmonie


norman lebrecht

March 23, 2017

It’s the first time any artist has cancelled on Hamburg’s new concert hall since the opening night.

But they have found a luxury replacement for flu-stricken Lang Lang this Saturday.

Igor Levit steps in.


  • Ungeheuer says:

    Funny. They should have booked Levit long before, over and above LL. No question on who is the greater artist/pianist.

  • Alaric Balth says:

    Lang Lang – the male Buniatishvili.

  • Brian says:

    My my, whoever apparently paid 10,000 euro on eBay for first-row seats (postage included) will be disappointed!

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      Whoever pays 10,000 euro on eBay for first-row seats in a LL recital is surely out of his or her mind. Anyway, this person will have the opportunity to see and listen to “the future of piano and the player of the century” instead.

      • Peter says:

        Actually not, since the Levit concert is for judicial reasons (Lang Lang demanded that no artist could jump in if he canceled) another concert. Just in the same place at the same time. But the tickets are not valid anymore. You have to buy new tickets.

        • Minutewaltz says:

          Presumably if Lang Lang reschedules his concert then the owner of the €10,000 tickets will be able to go to that.

  • Frankie says:

    Most of us would say that the audience got a much better deal, but I suspect that most of the punters would rather they had booked David Helfgott instead of Levitt!

  • Minutewaltz says:

    Wow – what about some sympathy for Lang Lang who is obviously quite poorly as his first cancelled show was March 11th.

  • Christopher Czaja Sager says:

    The hall opened only awhile ago..what’s the fuss over ‘first time’??

    Jealousy does too often incite negative biased.Your anti LL callousness: sickness is grounds for cancellation !

    If an honest replacement in the repertoire and allure of LL was made, I would think Yuva Wang, A Volodos or D Trifonov would have been worthy choices: each is a ‘star’ with the ‘right CD ‘ contracts and ‘audience attraction’.

    LL’s cancellation won’t be the last time a booking is cancelled for illness .What a disappointment for his public !

    • Nick says:

      Completely agree. There is no comparison between LL Levit. The first is an Artist with capital A, the second is a modest pianist of which there are dozens, whose sudden popularity is purely political. An effort by FAZ and SONY.
      Levit is a product of MSM, nothing more.
      It is regrettable to watch how the public on this blog is easily persuaded by MSM, rather than opening their ears and listening. True, Yuja Wang would have been a worthy replacement, but not this overexposed student of piano.

      • Pianofortissimo says:

        Unfortunately I have never been in a concert or recital with Igor Levit, but his Beethoven recordings are very impressive (his Bach less so). I have never read any negative review about him in the English- or German-language press, only very positive ones. And I am curious to know why do you call his popularity ”purely political.”

        • Pianofortissimo says:

          However, there’s a very negative aspect – all that talk about IL being “the future of piano and the player of the century” etc, that I presume his management is to blame for.

      • Bo says:

        Haha, oh man, is this real world? x-)
        Levit, PR, management?!? What about LANG LANG, the most cheesy and overexposed hack since Yanni?
        Levit, student, LL artist?!? Have yourself a little comparison between all Levit reviews you can find and all LL reviews you can find!

        • M2N2K says:

          Says a lot about narrow-mindedness of reviewers (see for example Lexicon of Musical Invective by Nicolas Slonimsky).

  • Egon Schulz says:

    Sorry, Mr. Lebrecht, a better research seems to be necessary here – and not only here, I’m afraid to say! You should think about the Opening Night of the Elbphilharmonie, to start with…

  • Brucknerliebhaber says:

    LUCKY audience!

  • esfir ross says:

    I agree with Nick account of Igor Levitt. All his performance disappointing-cheap showman. Last LL recital was revelation-finest artist. Why Levitt chosen-no match for LL.

    • Bo says:

      You’ve got it all backwards mate, can you seriously claim that LL is a calm deliberate man all about the music whilst Levit is flailing all about or is it perhaps the other way around?
      And who was it that played with Metallica again, the showman or the artist?
      I’ll just leave you this nugget:

      • M2N2K says:

        In several of LL’s solo recitals and orchestral appearances that I have experienced during last few years, I have never seen Metallica there. All I saw and heard was outstanding piano playing: tremendous musical imagination, gorgeous tone, magnetism of interpretation. It is rarely perfect or definitive and sometimes exaggerated in his choice of tempos, but it is never boring and often mesmerisingly interesting.

  • Peter says:

    To all these silly armchair pianist comparers: There is room for a Lang Lang *and* an Igor Levit in this world, and for a lot more pianists as well. It’s so easy to not buy tickets or not buy recordings of someone you don’t like. What is the problem?

  • Ursula Rehn Wolfman, Ph.D. says:

    There is absolutely no comparison between Lang Lang and Igor Levit – I have heard both in concert over many years. Lang Lang is technically sound, but sorely missing in interpretation and musical sensitivity. All of his playing is only about Lang Lang himself — just watch his ridiculous movements at the piano. Igor Levit is an extraordinary pianist – not only as to his technique, but also in his true understanding and sensitivity of the music he plays
    . An absolute genius!

    • Bo says:

      At least someone has some sense around here…

      • M2N2K says:

        …just like all those reviewers who listen with their eyes more than with their ears and routinely dismiss anything that is, heavens forbid, a little more popular than they consider “decent” for classical musicians.