Lang Lang’s current encore? It’s Mary Poppins

Lang Lang’s current encore? It’s Mary Poppins


norman lebrecht

October 27, 2022

From a Philadelphia magazine interview with Yannick Nézet-Séguin:

I have to ask: Did you know that Lang Lang was going to come back out after he obliterated Saint-Saëns’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor and encore with a solo from Mary Poppins, of all things?
No, I did not. It was a surprise to everybody. I was onstage when he came back out. And he said something to the audience, but I couldn’t hear what he said. None of us could. And then he starts playing. And somebody in the woodwinds whispers to me, “I think he’s playing Mary Poppins!” It was a special moment, for sure. So beautiful.

You’ve been warned.




  • drummerman says:

    Which song did he play?

    • RW2013 says:

      supercalifragilisticexpialidocious in double thirds.

    • John says:

      Feed the Birds. And is “obliterated” a good thing?

    • soavemusica says:

      Youtube offers yet another example of piano arrangements killing the melody of a simple song, which could work.

      Liszt, for example, likes to slaughter Schubert Lieder into empty virtuosity.

      I would expect A Disney sponsored show to include a ballet of bearded ladies.

  • lamed says:

    Just as athletes must wear the logo of their sponsors, so classical musicians must play the music of theirs. Good thing Lang Lang is sponsored by Disney and not Coca Cola.

  • J Barcelo says:

    So what? Good music is good music, and the old teams at Disney (in this case the Sherman brothers) wrote some great tunes that are better than anything the more serious composers of the era wrote. I just want to know what NL means my “obliterated”; did LL ruin the Saint-Saens or do a knockout performance?

  • Natalia says:

    Clutching pearls…..
    Didn’t know he still performed classical music.

  • Ludwig's Van says:

    What is that boy smoking???

  • NoFan says:

    Anyone watched the live Youtube stream of his disney “piano” show at Roayl Albert Hall couple of days ago? It featured 6 other artists plus the orchestra in 1 and half hour.

    The highlight of the concert is of course when Gina song “When you wish upon a start”. Absolutely special. I’d say her singing skill matched with Lang lang’s piano play perfectly. This couple has incomparable courage to conquer any crowd.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      I hear Andre Rieu has an opening for Lang Lang in his troop “…..around the streets of lit-tle It-a-ly”!!

  • Mary says:

    he “obliterated” it, you know, he “killed” it, he “annihilated” it, he “crushed” it, it was the “bomb”, he was “bad”

    just kidding, in every language there are words that mean simultaneously its opposite, in English, the classic example is “to sanction”, meaning “to punish” and “to approve”

    It’s obvious the interviewer used “obliterate” here positively

  • Mr Marlow says:

    Careful now! Some people might actually enjoy it!

  • TNVol says:

    How DARE that classically trained musician please an audience under the age of 95, and middle aged grandmothers!! What next? Mirrored Rolls Royces and ermine capes? Music should bring us together. Lighten up people.

  • Anonymous Bosch says:

    Yes, that’s all well and good but what I really want to know is:

    How long has Yannick been a bottle blond?

  • Ned Keane says:

    The snobbery on this website is in a league of its own. If any of you had heard Stephen Hough’s superb arrangements of e.g. These Are a Few of My Favourite Things you might think again. Lang Lang plays Hough’s arrangements. But I don’t hear you all moan about Stephen…

    • Freddily says:

      Hough is an artist. Lang Lang is … not.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      There is a bit of snobbery, yes, but there are also people who know quite a bit about that of which they write.

      I could never play as well as Lang Lang if I lived to be as old as Methusela. But I don’t have to; there are thousands of pianists who play as well as he these days and they are all ensuring, each in his or her own way, the the promulgation of the art form in perpetuity. In short, they’ve spent years of practice and dedication so that they DON’T actually have to play popular music.

      As President Kennedy once said, “we do it not because it’s easy but because it’s hard”.

      • NoFan says:

        Some classic music lovers naively praised Lang Lang that he promoted piano to the world especially in China. Unfortunately through the years, the true face of Lang lang and his family become obvious: “we do it not for music but for money”.

        Admit or not, Lang lang’s approach to piano badly influenced the development of classic music in China. He promoted VIP tutoring, a billion dollar business going bankrupt that cheated thousands of teachers and parents. He also sponsored “The One”digital piano and low quality “Lang Lang” brand piano. Incident was reported early this year that “Lang Lang” piano keys were so sharp that one pianist was hurt with his fingers bleeding in the concert.

        Not to mention his family has exploited their fame and do commercials of all kind in order to make money (Any thing you can think of: refrigerator, kitchen over, baby formula’s, nutrition supplement, etc).