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#1977025 - 10/22/12 09:30 AM Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists'
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5017
....as selected by Peter Donohoe, former Tchaikovsky Competition winner, on BBC Radio 3's Piano Season which is currently running (www.bbc.co.uk/radio3). Lang Lang is by far the youngest pianist in his selection so far, and Donohoe tweeted (?twitted) immediately after the broadcast on 'Breakfast Show' (Saturday 20th October, around 15 minutes in at 0715) that he was putting on his tin hat in anticipation of the flak that would be coming his way... grin.

He praised Lang Lang's 'extreme intelligence' as well as his 'almost superhuman' technique. In my experience, virtuoso concert pianists like Donohoe tend to see past Lang Lang's stage mannerisms and listen to his piano playing per se much more so than armchair critics (and many amateur pianists... grin) who have a more conservative view of classical music and musicians. Donohoe has also included two jazz pianists (Art Tatum and Oscar Petersen) in his selection so far.

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#1977032 - 10/22/12 10:12 AM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: bennevis]
Old Man Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 777
Loc: Michigan, USA
I think you'd better get ready, bennevis, for the flak that is coming your way for starting this thread. laugh LL is not one of PW's favorite sons.

Personally, I like Lang Lang. Yes, his mannerisms are over the top, and yes, he's a shameless self-promoter. But he's also promoting classical music, and enticing many young people to have a listen, possibly for the very first time. And he is, after all, only 30. I believe he has a formidable technique, genuinely loves music, and like a young wine, should be allowed to age a bit. Let's see what a 50-year old Lang Lang sounds (and looks) like. He could well end up surprising even his harshest critics by becoming one of the world's finest pianists.

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#1977033 - 10/22/12 10:16 AM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: Old Man]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5017
Originally Posted By: Old Man
I think you'd better get ready, bennevis, for the flak that is coming your way for starting this thread. laugh LL is not one of PW's favorite sons.



Don't worry, I've got my flak jacket on in addition to my tin hat cool. And I've got a skin with the thickness of a rhino's hide... grin

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#1977040 - 10/22/12 10:45 AM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: bennevis]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19271
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: bennevis
In my experience, virtuoso concert pianists like Donohoe tend to see past Lang Lang's stage mannerisms and listen to his piano playing per se much more so than armchair critics (and many amateur pianists... grin) who have a more conservative view of classical music and musicians.
In other words you're saying that "virtuoso concert pianists", who are presumably more knowledgeable than amateur armchair critics and whom you apparently agree with, have the correct view and the amateur reviewers are wrong. Very arrogant.

I have read nothing to agree with your view of how concert pianists tend to see past LL's mannerisms or are less conservative in their views more than amateurs. I have read some good and some poor reviews of LL's playing from both amateur and professional pianists and from all levels of professional critics.

You also ignore that LL's mannerisms are by far not the biggest reason for his bad reviews. It's his musical choices that get panned the most. There's only so much one can say about his mannerisms....certainly not enough to make a review. And his mannerisms are not mentioned at all in the reviews of his recordings.



Edited by pianoloverus (10/22/12 10:59 AM)

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#1977055 - 10/22/12 11:23 AM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: pianoloverus]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5017
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
In other words you're saying that "virtuoso concert pianists", who are presumably more knowledgeable than amateur armchair critics and whom you apparently agree with, have the correct view and the amateur reviewers are wrong. Very arrogant.

I have read nothing to agree with your view of how concert pianists tend to see past LL's mannerisms or are less conservative in their views more than amateurs. I have read some good and some poor reviews of LL's playing from both amateur and professional pianists and from all levels of professional critics.

You also ignore that LL's mannerisms are by far not the biggest reason for his bad reviews. It's his musical choices that get panned the most. There's only so much one can say about his mannerisms....certainly not enough to make a review. And his mannerisms are not mentioned at all in the reviews of his recordings.



I know I'm arrogant (I'm told I was born that way grin), but what you may not know is that I've chatted to quite a few concert pianists as well as heard/read many others' interviews, when the subject of Lang Lang often crops up. And you won't know that Dame Fanny Waterman, who founded the Leeds Piano Competition fifty years ago and is still, in her nineties, the driving force behind it (and chairs the jury), asked Lang Lang (who she described as a 'great pianist') to be the global ambassador for the competition which recently took place. They clearly respected each other, and Lang Lang played Mozart on her piano while she listened with great pleasure - this was recently shown on BBC 4, where the concerto finals are being broadcast weekly. Her favorite pianists are Murray Perahia and Radu Lupu, both past winners of the Leeds, and she is a greatly respected teacher and has frequently explained what she looked for in a great pianist: the combination of great musicianship, technique, and imagination of phrasing and color in the playing, among much else.

And BTW, reviews of his CDs (not just DVDs) frequently mention his stage mannerisms, even though it's totally irrelevant to the piano playing....

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#1977064 - 10/22/12 11:39 AM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: bennevis]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
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Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
In other words you're saying that "virtuoso concert pianists", who are presumably more knowledgeable than amateur armchair critics and whom you apparently agree with, have the correct view and the amateur reviewers are wrong. Very arrogant.

I have read nothing to agree with your view of how concert pianists tend to see past LL's mannerisms or are less conservative in their views more than amateurs. I have read some good and some poor reviews of LL's playing from both amateur and professional pianists and from all levels of professional critics.

You also ignore that LL's mannerisms are by far not the biggest reason for his bad reviews. It's his musical choices that get panned the most. There's only so much one can say about his mannerisms....certainly not enough to make a review. And his mannerisms are not mentioned at all in the reviews of his recordings.



I know I'm arrogant (I'm told I was born that way grin), but what you may not know is that I've chatted to quite a few concert pianists as well as heard/read many others' interviews, when the subject of Lang Lang often crops up. And you won't know that Dame Fanny Waterman, who founded the Leeds Piano Competition and is still, in her nineties, the driving force behind it (and chairs the jury), asked Lang Lang (who she described as a 'great pianist') to be the global ambassador for the competition which recently took place. They clearly respected each other, and Lang Lang played Mozart on her piano while she listened with great pleasure - this was recently shown on BBC 4, where the concerto finals are being broadcast weekly. Her favorite pianists are Murray Perahia and Radu Lupu, both past winners of the Leeds, and she is a greatly respected teacher and has frequently explained what she looked for in a great pianist: the combination of great musicianship, technique, and imagination of phrasing and color in the playing, among much else.

And BTW, reviews of his CDs (not just DVDs) frequently mention his stage mannerisms, even though it's totally irrelevant to the piano playing....
I'm sure you can find respected pianists who like LL's playing, but I'm equally sure you can find many who dislike his playing.

To say that you agree with those who like his playing(who you feel are obviously more knowledgeable)and use that to put down amateur critics is arrogant.

It's possible that some CD reviews mention his mannerisms but that could be at most a small part of the review. Even the reviews of his concerts don't spend most of the time on his mannerisms. Most of the negative comments have been about far more than his mannerisms.

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#1977067 - 10/22/12 11:55 AM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: pianoloverus]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5296
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: bennevis
In my experience, virtuoso concert pianists like Donohoe tend to see past Lang Lang's stage mannerisms and listen to his piano playing per se much more so than armchair critics (and many amateur pianists... grin) who have a more conservative view of classical music and musicians.
In other words you're saying that "virtuoso concert pianists", who are presumably more knowledgeable than amateur armchair critics and whom you apparently agree with, have the correct view and the amateur reviewers are wrong. Very arrogant.

I think, then, that one of us has misinterpreted bennevis' quote. I think what he is saying is that such experienced and expert musicians tend to hear the music more so than to allow unsavory physical movements to detract from that sound. But what I do not see in his statement there, is any interpretation whatsoever about either group's decision on LL's playing. It seems merely an observation of what particular aspect of the performance the different groups tend to focus on. (Whether you would agree with the conclusion drawn is certainly up for debate, but I would not necessarily leap all the way to 'arrogant' based on a disagreement about a conclusion. That, to me, seems premature.) wink

For LL, I will say this: he is a great pianist. You cannot reach and stay at the level he is performing if you absolutely suck. Personally, I have both enjoyed and not enjoyed his concerts (having been to several).

I think one of the biggest detractors about his physical movements is that he seems to be trying to tell the audience what to listen to and what to feel. In any endeavor, but particularly the arts, this typically will be met negatively.. people will feel what they feel, and you have to just let them feel it. Most people experience art to discover feelings for themselves, not to be told what to feel by the artist.

Physical movements aside, I do appreciate LL's playing. Do I like everything he interprets? No. But then, there isn't a pianist out there for whom I have enjoyed every interpretation of every piece they've ever performed. However, to put him in the top 50 all-time would require a definition of the criteria by which we were associating the top 50 pianists. By playing alone, I would be willing to wager LL isn't in the top 50, and that at least half the list should be filled by people none of us have probably ever heard of (from the invention of the piano century forward). However, if we include other aspects of performance, and typically, for art, popularity is one of the most important factors (it is one measure of determining influence), then LL probably belongs in that group. At 30, his influence is worldwide. And that is saying something.
_________________________
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#1977082 - 10/22/12 12:27 PM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: pianoloverus]
Old Man Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 777
Loc: Michigan, USA
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I'm sure you can find respected pianists who like LL's playing, but I'm equally sure you can find many who dislike his playing.

I think the same can be said of any pianist, living or dead.

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
To say that you agree with those who like his playing(who you feel are obviously more knowledgeable)and use that to put down amateur critics is arrogant.

I didn't sense that bennevis was "putting down" amateur critics, but was simply observing that amateurs tend to be harder on LL than many professional pianists. And based on the posts I've read here in PW, and in other forums, I think there is much to support that.

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
It's possible that some CD reviews mention his mannerisms but that could be at most a small part of the review. Even the reviews of his concerts don't spend most of the time on his mannerisms. Most of the negative comments have been about far more than his mannerisms.

I agree that most criticism of LL centers around his musical choices. But the very fact that his mannerisms are mentioned at all certainly raises the suspicion that some of this so-called "musical" criticism may be tainted by the critics' visual recollection of Lang Lang's demeanor at the piano.

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#1977088 - 10/22/12 12:36 PM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: Old Man]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6114
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: Old Man

I didn't sense that bennevis was "putting down" amateur critics, but was simply observing that amateurs tend to be harder on LL than many professional pianists. And based on the posts I've read here in PW, and in other forums, I think there is much to support that.


Most "critics" who are professional pianists, refrain from saying negative things about their peers. It's not good business.
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#1977100 - 10/22/12 12:52 PM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: bennevis]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4763
Loc: USA
Lang Lang doesn't deserve the crap he gets.

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#1977121 - 10/22/12 01:37 PM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: bennevis]
jdw Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 961
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
I would be curious about who the other 49 are--but I don't see anything about this on the BBC link?
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#1977122 - 10/22/12 01:43 PM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: bennevis]
Thrill Science Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 513
Loc: California
Let's all get practicing so we can displace him!

I don't see anything wrong with Lang Lang. Of people currently recording and selling classical piano music, he's certainly done more to get young people interested in the piano than most others.

In fact, I just bought his new Chopin CD.
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#1977138 - 10/22/12 02:32 PM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: bennevis]
slipperykeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/12
Posts: 370
Loc: Dorset, England
Watch this until about 3mins 10 secs. Appalling!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBqRdINvH0g

But it is impossible and unfair to judge any musician on one performance. I am a huge fan of Valentina Lisitsa but did not particularly enjoy her Albert Hall concert, although I still bought the DVD.

I am not a Lang Lang fan ( I do admire those high wrists though!) but that won't stop me downloading and enjoying this performance..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkD4rIH4uUM&feature=related

I'll save it for Thursday night and enjoy it with half a bottle of red wine.

While there are some pianists I do not like there is not one pianist I would not listen to or watch.

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#1977230 - 10/22/12 06:27 PM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: bennevis]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6114
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: bennevis

He praised Lang Lang's 'supreme intelligence' as well as his astounding technique. In my experience, virtuoso concert pianists like Donohoe tend to see past Lang Lang's stage mannerisms and listen to his piano playing per se much more so than armchair critics (and many amateur pianists... grin) who have a more conservative view of classical music and musicians.


He's okay, but he's no HK Lim. When I close my eyes, Lang Lang is the classical conservative.
_________________________
It's been scientifically proven that Horowitz sucks.

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#1977262 - 10/22/12 08:08 PM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: bennevis]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6070
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
I DON'T THINK LANG LANG IS ONE OF THE 50 GREATEST PIANISTS. OF COURSE, THAT IS JUST MY OPINION. I DON'T REALLY LIKE HIS PLAYING OVERALL.

OFF TOPIC, HAPPY INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY! smile

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#1977291 - 10/22/12 09:33 PM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: Orange Soda King]
Plowboy Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2307
Loc: SoCal
Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King
I DON'T THINK LANG LANG IS ONE OF THE 50 GREATEST PIANISTS.


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#1977296 - 10/22/12 09:47 PM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: bennevis]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7793
Originally Posted By: bennevis
....as selected by Peter Donohoe, former Tchaikovsky Competition winner, on BBC Radio 3's Piano Season which is currently running (www.bbc.co.uk/radio3). Lang Lang is by far the youngest pianist in his selection so far, and Donohoe tweeted (?twitted) immediately after the broadcast on 'Breakfast Show' (Saturday 20th October, around 15 minutes in at 0715) that he was putting on his tin hat in anticipation of the flak that would be coming his way... grin.



Which at the least demonstrates that the LL controversy is not just something that some anon folks minus cred here at PW dreamed up.

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#1977299 - 10/22/12 09:59 PM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: wr]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19271
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: wr
Which at the least demonstrates that the LL controversy is not just something that some anon folks minus cred here at PW dreamed up.
But, of course, it's not something PW posters dreamed up.

LL has gotten plenty of negative reviews(and some positive ones) from numerous critics since he began performing. Why would anyone think it's an idea PW posters dreamed up?

It's also not true the anonymous PW posters are more lacking in credibility than posters who use their real name. Using your real name doesn't give someone credibility.

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#1977304 - 10/22/12 10:28 PM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: Plowboy]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6070
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Originally Posted By: Plowboy
Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King
I DON'T THINK LANG LANG IS ONE OF THE 50 GREATEST PIANISTS.




YOU'RE RIGHT OF COURSE, BUT I STATED THAT IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE PART YOU QUOTED. smile

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#1977371 - 10/23/12 12:56 AM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: bennevis]
Kuanpiano Offline
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Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2139
Loc: Canada
Not a fan...but he's done some good for the classical music world. My biggest complaint is that more often than not he sounds boring, rather than bombastic.
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#1977422 - 10/23/12 04:58 AM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: jdw]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5017
Originally Posted By: jdw
I would be curious about who the other 49 are--but I don't see anything about this on the BBC link?


I don't know if there's a direct link to the list, but click on 'Programmes', then 'Breakfast' and you should be able to see the list so far: it's not yet reached 50 (there's another week to go yet - this morning, his choice is Evgeny Kissin). You can also hear his comments and selected performances and photos of the pianists he's selected via another link called 'Clips'.

This is what Donohoe said about Lang Lang: 'His stage act and theatrical way of playing has led to his being dismissed as a showman by so many....but what they choose to ignore is his almost superhuman technical abilities which include control of the instrumental sound as well as the quite unbelievable effortlessness with which he plays the most transcendentally difficult pieces, and his obvious genuine love of the music itself, and his extreme intelligence......Lang Lang is not at all narcissistic...'

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#1977424 - 10/23/12 05:07 AM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: bennevis]
babama Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/08
Posts: 800
Loc: Netherlands
Why is his technique particularly good? Who can give me some examples from youtube? I don't see how his technique is better than any other top level virtuoso.

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#1977436 - 10/23/12 06:14 AM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: bennevis]
Marco M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/28/12
Posts: 451
Loc: Europe
I am bored if I can´t see that a pianist enjoys what he´s doing. Maybe the music around is excellent. But the all over performance too often let me receive a whiff of death. And such feelings block the reception of the music, so that the quality of the music itself does not matter anymore to full extend.

I receive that Lang Lang is alive, when performing, soulful, and therefore enjoyable. Like I enjoy seeing a baby discovering that it´s alive. To see new life being aware of itself is a pleasure. Such feelings open my ears and only then I get the music fully. Only now I am in the position to start to wonder about the quality of the music.

So, I think he´s doing an excellent job - being one of the few real ambassadors for the piano and its music - and for life.
_________________________
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#1977445 - 10/23/12 07:04 AM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: Marco M]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7793
Originally Posted By: Marco M
I am bored if I can´t see that a pianist enjoys what he´s doing.


Too bad. Many great recordings are audio only. But you'll never know they are great, being bored and all.

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#1977462 - 10/23/12 07:34 AM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: bennevis]
jdw Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 961
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Originally Posted By: bennevis

I don't know if there's a direct link to the list, but click on 'Programmes', then 'Breakfast' and you should be able to see the list so far: it's not yet reached 50


Thanks! I like the fact that he calls it '50 great pianists' and not 'the 50 greatest.'
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#1977522 - 10/23/12 10:15 AM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: bennevis]
Cheeto717 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 697
Loc: Pennsylvania
I'm really glad Art Tatum made the list. He makes everyone look like amateurs in my opinion.
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#1977563 - 10/23/12 12:19 PM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: bennevis]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2311
Loc: San Jose, CA
Originally Posted By: bennevis
....as selected by Peter Donohoe, former Tchaikovsky Competition winner, on BBC Radio 3's Piano Season which is currently running (www.bbc.co.uk/radio3). Lang Lang is by far the youngest pianist in his selection so far, and Donohoe tweeted (?twitted) immediately after the broadcast on 'Breakfast Show' (Saturday 20th October, around 15 minutes in at 0715) that he was putting on his tin hat in anticipation of the flak that would be coming his way... grin.

He praised Lang Lang's 'extreme intelligence' as well as his 'almost superhuman' technique. In my experience, virtuoso concert pianists like Donohoe tend to see past Lang Lang's stage mannerisms and listen to his piano playing per se much more so than armchair critics (and many amateur pianists... grin) who have a more conservative view of classical music and musicians. Donohoe has also included two jazz pianists (Art Tatum and Oscar Petersen) in his selection so far.


There's nothing about Lang Lang's technique that is superhuman. Leave superlatives to that to pianists like Sokolov, Argerich, Hamelin, and Pollini who consistently program the biggest and most problematic pieces in the literature and legitimately astonish audiences. Lang Lang is a good pianist with a high profile; no more.

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#1977567 - 10/23/12 12:32 PM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: bennevis]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5245
Loc: Europe
Look,

I don't think that there are many people who were idiots, or ugly, or acting like jerks, or being too narcisists that were that high profile as Lang Lang is... There are reasons why Lang Lang is at the very top, and while most are probably not musical, this only makes him more clever I think.

Personally I despise his videos, but don't mind the audio itself! There...
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#1977578 - 10/23/12 01:06 PM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: Nikolas]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8851
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
There are reasons why Lang Lang is at the very top, and while most are probably not musical...

But he certainly probes the profound and mysterious depths of the Yellow River Concerto more astutely than any other recording I have heard. It should be on BBC's Desert Island Discs.
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#1977584 - 10/23/12 01:29 PM Re: Lang Lang is one of '50 Great Pianists' [Re: bennevis]
Ian_G Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/10
Posts: 168
Loc: Germany
I have to say, for me his sound is rather thin and gaunt, contrary to what one might think. I've never heard him live, though -- maybe it's how he's recorded.

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