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Classical - Released October 19, 2012 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
The Chopin Album is Lang Lang's first recording for Sony devoted entirely to the solo piano music of the Romantic master, focused on the Études, Op. 25, with three of the most popular Nocturnes and a handful of other pieces included for good measure. While Lang Lang's phenomenal popularity guarantees this CD's success, and his ability to play the technically demanding Études will impress his fans, devotees of Chopin's music may be skeptical of the pianist's interpretations, which at their best are flashy and extroverted. While it's not necessary to play Chopin close to the vest, with the expressive reticence of a wallflower, Lang Lang is no introvert, and it shows in the pieces where sensitivity and poetic refinement are desirable. He plays with his customary bravado in the loudest Études, the Grande Valse Brillante, the Grande Polonaise, and even in the inaccurately nicknamed "Minute" Waltz, but his expression at softer levels seems affectless, uninvolved, and rather uninteresting. While connoisseurs may balk at this fairly showy album, it is sure to appeal to a wide audience, perhaps most especially because of the inclusion of Lang Lang's duet with Danish singer Oh Land, "Tristesse," which is based on Chopin's Étude in E major, Op. 10/3, and taken from the soundtrack for the film The Flying Machine. Sony's sound is generally good, though Lang Lang's dynamic range is wide enough to make setting the volume a little tricky.
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Classical - Released August 22, 2011 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Franz Liszt's birth, virtuoso pianist Lang Lang has selected some of the composer's most characteristic pieces for his 2011 Sony release, Liszt: My Piano Hero. Prominent on this album is the Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, which features Lang Lang in a high-energy performance with Valery Gergiev and the Vienna Philharmonic. Without a doubt, most of Lang Lang's fans will savor this Romantic showpiece, and for technical brilliance and drama, the performance doesn't disappoint. He is especially lively and vivid in this work, and his interactions with the orchestra seem spontaneous and playful, as one might well imagine Liszt would have been. But Lang Lang seems more introspective and personally involved with the solo keyboard pieces that make up the greater part of the album. Here also is the flashy side of Liszt, but there is a greater emphasis on the poetic and rhapsodic, so Lang Lang indulges in reflective pieces as much as the flashy encores. Highlights include La Campanella, the Grand Galop chromatique, Liebestraum No. 3, the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6, and the arrangement of Schubert's Ave Maria.
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Classical - Released March 29, 2019 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released September 28, 2018 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet
"Lang Lang – Piano Magic" is a compilation of a wide variety of recordings made between 2010 and 2014; the album brings together short pieces, and also some of the most popular isolated movements in piano music – which are often played as encores. In a few minutes, each of these morsels conjures up its own miniature universe, as if by magic... Hence the title. While the majority of pieces are brilliantly virtuoso, our pianist doesn't forget to include a few rather less complex moments, which put the emphasis more on softness and solemnity. The magnificent Entertainer by Scott Joplin which closes the album, is played with an offbeat wit and a very personalised idea of rhythm with a few melodic turns which Lang Lang puts a jazzy spin on, as if re-improvising the whole thing on the spot. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 13, 2017 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released March 14, 2005 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet
How bad is it? Right from the colossal chords that open Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2, it's bad. Lang Lang starts slow and gets slower until he nearly stops the music, destroying the rhythmic intensity and the harmonic tension. When Valery Gergiev brings in the Orchestra of the Marinsky Theatre, the tempo snaps into place for the first theme and Gergiev holds the music at tempo until the second theme. Then, once again, Lang starts slow and gets slower until he's nearly stopped the music, destroying the lyrical line and the momentum. When Gergiev brings the Orchestra back in, the tempo snaps back into place for the development and Gergiev keeps the music at tempo until the cadenza. Then, once again, Lang starts slow and gets slower until he's nearly stopped the music, destroying the formal drama and the structural integrity. And so it goes for the rest of the Concerto, with Gergiev holding to the tempo and Lang slowing to a stop until the music is ultimately tattered and torn between them. It's not that Lang lacks the technique. The billions of notes of Rachmaninov's Paganini Rhapsody are in place. It's not that Lang lacks the tone. The depth of sound of the Andante Cantabile Variation is enormous. It's that Lang lacks the taste and temperament. His playing is self-amused and self-indulgent. He's so enraptured by his own playing that he starts slow to show off and he gets slower to admire his own performance. It's narcissism as an interpretive strategy. Deutsche Grammophon is dark and hooded.
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Classical - Released November 4, 2016 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet
On November 7, 2003, Lang Lang gave his debut recital at Carnegie Hall to great public excitement, but also to mixed critical reception. Some reviewers criticized Lang for his distracting mannerisms and his grandstanding. But this double-disc is unsatisfying on purely musical grounds, for Lang's interpretations are uneven, callow, and often heavy-handed. Either Lang was out of sorts that evening, or else he deliberately distorted his playing to favor bombast over genuine expression and refinement. On the positive side, Haydn's Sonata and Tan Dun's Eight Memories in Watercolor are most engaging, and feature the subtlest playing on the album. But Lang's performances of Schumann's Abegg Variations and Chopin's Nocturne are perfunctory and uncompelling, as if Lang's heart was not in them. Worse still, his renditions of Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy and Liszt's Reminiscences of Don Giovanni are ham-fisted and noisy affairs -- the former due to insensitivity and the latter out of unabashed vulgarity. For light encores of little consequence, Lang played Schumann's Träumerei; the Competition of the Two Horses, with his father, Guo-ren Lang, performing on the voice-like erhu; and Liszt's hackneyed Liebesträume. Considering Lang's erratic performance and the recording's fluctuating volume levels, this album will be a serious disappointment for all but Lang's most devoted fans.
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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2006 | Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Hamburg

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Classical - Released August 20, 2010 | Sony Classical

Booklet
This Lang Lang disc presents a live performance, a recital at the very citadel of musical conservatism, the Musikvereinsaal in Vienna. The pianist must have taken it as a special challenge, for he altered his usual repertoire somewhat and toned down his crowd-pleasing flamboyant ways. Not that they disappear entirely; the booklet is adorned with pictures of Lang lifting his arms above the keyboard, gazing skyward, and so on. But half the program is devoted to Beethoven, not Lang's usual style, and the two sonatas heard here, one of them the Piano Sonata No. 23 in F sharp minor, Op. 57, "Appassionata," are his first Beethoven sonata recordings. The pieces from Book One of Albéniz's Iberia are given rather restrained treatment, and only with the Chopin Polonaise, Op. 53, "Heroic," and Grande Valse brillante No. 2, Op. 34/1, does he really cut loose. Nothing about the Beethoven is going to shake either Lang's supporters or his detractors loose from their positions, but it must be said that he in no way overdoes the "Appassionata," and that the performance of the Piano Sonata No. 3 in C major, Op. 2/3, is fresh and quite distinctive; Lang uses his technical facility to breeze through the piece's spiky passagework and gives it a confident, breezy quality -- that, as it happens, is also the most attractive quality of Lang's playing in general. Lang's fans can feel confident that they'll enjoy his effort to conquer the stately old city of Vienna. Notes by James Jolly, in English only, consist largely of spoken commentary by Lang Lang himself.
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Classical - Released March 29, 2019 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released January 15, 2016 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released July 22, 2016 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released January 1, 2003 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

This is the major-label maiden voyage for young Chinese pianist Lang Lang, who at the tender age of 20 has been barnstorming the concert circuit and gaining a lot of attention in the press. The works combined here, the "first" piano concerti of Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn, respectively, are certainly "safe" repertory choices for Lang, as these are the concertos he performs most often in public concerts. Their inclusion on the same disc is designed to show "both sides" of what Lang can do. Lang is joined here by Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Lang's youth is accentuated in this package, and there is a collection of several glossy color photos of Lang in the booklet in "glamour puss" mode: seated at his piano, staring directly into the camera, getting a shoulder rub from conductor Barenboim, and other poses, some of which will strike some as frankly ridiculous. The performances are well recorded and the C.S.O. provides a solid accompaniment under Barenboim without letting anything resembling excitement creep in to disturb these rather sober and uniform performances. Lang certainly has extraordinary technical command at his disposal, but these concertos are strangely cold -- his playing in the Tchaikovsky is clangorous at the opening but overly cautious elsewhere. The Mendelssohn concerto is painstakingly precious and a little underpowered. If you have seen Lang in concert, or plan to, and want to have a souvenir exemplar of his playing, then this disc is good for either purpose. But this Deutsche Grammophon release is far from being the first choice for these works; both are so commonly recorded that suggesting a single alternative within the context of this review would be pointless.
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Classical - Released October 9, 2015 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released March 15, 2019 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released January 1, 2010 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released February 17, 2017 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released February 8, 2019 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released September 16, 2016 | Sony Classical

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This Sony Classical release presents superstar pianist Lang Lang in a new role: that of pop accompanist. The album consists of a set of songs about New York (thankfully, "New York, New York" is omitted), featuring not only likely pop suspects like Madeleine Peyroux, but such novelties as alt-country songwriter Jason Isbell in a creditable reading of "New York Morning." Perhaps the most unlikely item is Lou Reed's "Dirty Blvd.," mashed with "Somewhere" (from West Side Story) and sung by Jeffrey Wright and Lisa Fischer, respectively. It may all make you ask exactly why this needed to be done, and the answer would be that the whole thing is suited to the kind of high-ticket concert evening where the money is in classical music these days. The producer is none other than Larry Klein, ex-husband of Joni Mitchell, and he and arranger Vince Mendoza craft textures that weave everything together reasonably well. Better still is the main attraction, which makes this worth the price of admission: the Gershwin two-piano version of Rhapsody in Blue here actually manages to add something to the voluminous recorded literature of that work. The second piano is played by Herbie Hancock, 76 years old when the album appeared in 2016, and still in fine form. He adds some jazz to his part, in a way that Gershwin would have enjoyed (it's not too far from what Gershwin does in his own Songbook version), and in this selection, the two players come alive in the interplay. If the stars here attract you, by all means proceed, and aficionados of Rhapsody in Blue will find something fresh here as well. ~ James Manheim
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Classical - Released March 29, 2019 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Lang Lang in the magazine
  • The Qobuz Minute #23
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