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Lang Lang Live at Carnegie Hall
Recorded Sound, Robert Schumann, Franz Joseph Haydn
Lang Lang Live at Carnegie Hall
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (22) - Disc #1

This is a dazzling recital, taped live at Carnegie Hall in November 2003--complete with applause. Lang Lang's virtuosity is almost frightening: the Liszt "Reminiscenses du Don Juan" is a showpiece when played "normally." H...  more »

     
   
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This is a dazzling recital, taped live at Carnegie Hall in November 2003--complete with applause. Lang Lang's virtuosity is almost frightening: the Liszt "Reminiscenses du Don Juan" is a showpiece when played "normally." Here, Lang plays it to its extremes, with soft passages amazingly soft and subtly delineated and the bigger moments heaven-thundering. And it is played so fast, and so accurately (a cascade of notes in mid-"La ci darem la mano" sounds like a waterfall), that it leaves the listener breathless--surely just what Liszt wanted. In a Haydn sonata, Lang's classical line is impeccable, but he's not afraid to shine through the music and embellish occasionally. The Schumann "Traumerei" is suitably dreamy and hushed; Schubert's "Wanderer" Fantasy, a real crowd-pleaser, is just that--beautifully played, familiar yet fresh sounding. And an encore, with Lang's father playing a two-string fiddle called the erhu, is a fascinating look into Eastern music. There's more (this is a 2-CD set), and it's stunning--and highly recommended for all admirers of great piano playing. --Robert Levine

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CD Reviews

Subtle brilliance
Willem A. Labuschagne | New Zealand | 09/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"For some reason, perhaps because the publicity surrounding Lang Lang verges on hype, his Carnegie Hall recital has not been accorded universal approval. And yet, if one ignores the publicity and listens to the music, it is a remarkable display, not merely of technical brilliance but of subtle musicianship. His Schumann is exciting, vibrant and never muddy. His rendering of the Haydn Sonata in C Major is restrained and makes it sound like early Beethoven, just as it ought. His Wanderer Fantasia is not as lyrical as Rubenstein's version but its delicate articulation brings out the family resemblance with Schubert's Impromptus and the Schumann Fantasie, a category of dreamy Romanticism rather than clangorous virtuosity. The Chopin nocturne is thoroughly balanced, the rubato never obtrusive; the Liszt is suitably inspiring, giving Lang Lang a chance to show that his technique really does bear comparison with the incredible Marc Andre Hamelin. But the real pinnacle is a set of 8 gems by Tan Dun. These Memories in Watercolor by the composer of the music in Crouching Tiger deserve to be better known, and Lang Lang's is the definitive recording, receiving praise from the composer himself."
Please Be Fair
OpenMind | Ann Arbor, MI United States | 03/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"First off, I concur with some of the negative reviews made on other Lang's CD's. I also feel there's much space for his maturity to burgeon. But for this, I disagree. It is almost flawless.

Isn't it ironic that some people think that classical piano-playing is different from pop music and it isn't the style that matters but they themselves have judged Lang Lang for that. If you think that his expressions are exaggerated, obviously you only cared about the style and judge a book by its cover. Also, arts isn't all about comparison. I don't see the point of comparing one pianist with another. It is not a race. You do not compare who runs faster.

Some people still repeatedly remind us of how great Horowitz and Rubinstein were ... no doubt, they're great masters who deserve ceaseless accolades. However, I could sense that some keep doing that because they still live in the past. It's time to live the present and see the world with an open eye."
Spellbinder, from delicate to thunderous
A piano teacher | Reading, PA United States | 03/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"People either love Lang Lang or hate him. I love his playing, and this is his best recording yet. The Liszt Don Juan Fantasy is his first 1000-percent blowout display on CD -- I've longed for it since seeing him live, and now here it is. The Schumann clears the air and settles the spirit. The Haydn sparkles and dances. The Wanderer Fantasy is a little reserved, but on repeated hearings I believe he has a gift not only for the gold buried in a piece, but also for the unfolding of a full evening of music. Everything sets the stage for what comes next.
Great technicians (from Barere to Horowitz to Volodos) are always accused by some of being superficial and egotistical. Hopefully Lang Lang will remain gracious and play from the heart, letting the chips fall where they may. And hopefully DGG will keep their hands off the editing console, as they thankfully seem to have done here."