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  • Lang Lang: Live at Seiji Ozawa Hall, Tanglewood
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Lang Lang: Live at Seiji Ozawa Hall, Tanglewood

18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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This CD, apparently a recording debut, presents a Chinese pianist in his teens in live performance (at Ozawa Hall, Tanglewood). It has many successful elements. The first one is the pianist's selection of Haydn to begin his program, since few pianists these days bother to investigate the riches of Haydn's prodigious piano output. Lang proves thoroughly sympathetic to Haydn's idiom, in a delightful, witty performance. It's a huge distance from Haydn to Rachmaninoff, but Lang has complete command of Rachmaninoff's extravagant virtuosity, and he makes this bombastic piece--not one of the composer's best--sound like convincing music. The most impressive performance on the disc is the Brahms set, on which the playing is poised and mature. The way Lang builds the crescendo in the central section of the final Intermezzo is the work of a mature artist, whatever his age. The uncommon Tchaikovsky pieces are also excellent. Only in the final Balakirev, where Lang sounds just a trifle cautious, can one have even slight reservations about his abilities; perhaps he was just tiring at the end of the concert. Unlike many CDs issued today, this one makes a very satisfying listening program, just like the recital it reproduces (with excellent sound quality). --Leslie Gerber

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Product Details

  • Composer: Franz Joseph Haydn, Sergey Rachmaninov, Johannes Brahms, Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Mily Balakirev
  • Audio CD (July 9, 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B000059SYO
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #326,759 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mireille Wastwater on December 4, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Having read so many conflicting reviews of this CD I could not resist buying it and listening to it myself. BBC Magazine called him 'a talent in a million' whilst Gramophone were less enthusiastic. So which do I agree with? One thing I'll mention straight away is that the sound is far too dry. Some of the 'floating' pianistic effects that Lang Lang uses, such as in the Rachmaninov 2nd movement and the 2nd of the Op.118 by Brahms, relies on a warmer recording to capture its essence. No doubt the live audience would have been delighted, but on this record the effect is lost. I have heard Lang Lang in concert and he is indeed a talent in a million, as BBC Magazine enthuses. But to label him as such on the basis of this CD would be wrong as it does not show him at his best. Indeed, I would not give a top recommendation for any of the performances on this CD - It is only interesting/worth buying in that it is the debut CD of a rising star. His next recording is of the Rachmaninov 3rd concerto, which I listened to live. You will understand what I mean by the 'floating' effect when you hear his opening phrase (as long as they haven't recorded it as drily as this CD).
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By "rainbowcrow" on May 2, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Since hearing Lang Lang perform in Seattle a few months ago, I've been eager to get ahold of this CD, his first recording. I was very curious to see whether his personality and uniquely emotive style of playing would come through on CD. I finally found a copy of the recording, I certainly was not disappointed! The record faithfully reproduces his spirit of his performance.
It is a joy to hear, as well. The pieces are well chosen (with the possible exception of the Rachmaninoff, in my opinion), and the recording quality is superb. I do not share the editorial reviewer's concern about the final piece, myself, and I find the Tchaikovsky Dumka to be practically worth the price of admission on its own.
If haven't heard about Lang Lang, this might be a good time to see what the buzz is about; if you have heard him play, I suspect you'll be delighted by this recording. I certainly was, and this one will definitely spend a lot of time in my CD player.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By alan on January 2, 2003
Format: Audio CD
After seeing Lang Lang play twice in one week I can give an honest review. He has some of the best showman qualities that great performers possess but is lacking in substantial overall pianistic ability and maturity. He concentrates too much on his look and celebrates, in my opinion, his ego. Horowitz was proclaimed as "the greatest pianist alive or dead" but his music had little showmanship. The music went from the heart and then directly too the fingertips.
But Lang Lang has a maturity beyond average pianistic ability. I have scarcely heard anyone play Brahms as well as Lang Lang, which is a great and well-deserved compliment. But his maturity does lack in pieces like Islamey and Rachmaninoff's Second Sonata. These are heavy virtuoso compositions that are recieved with reservations and little power from Lang Lang. He plays in a perfectly crisp tone and does not confuse the listner. He rarely uses the damper pedal which can be a blessing when playing Hayden and a curse with Rachmaninoff. I give this cd 4 stars based on content. Hayden, Brahms, a beautiful Dumka by Tchiakovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Balakirev. It has pieces for everyone and seems to be a promising start for just a 19 year-old pianist.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K. Swanson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 15, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I'd heard almost nothing by this much-hyped pianist when I found this at the library (hey, I still haven't heard everything by Horowitz, Ashkenazy or Eschenbach, so the waitlist is long). I figured starting with his first cd made sense, and I think it's very fine for a player his age at the time, if nowhere near the depth of the true masters.

I enjoyed the Brahms very much, though it seemed a trifle emotionally reserved. But at 18 one hasn't lived much, so that's to be expected. The Rach was decent enough and not as showy as I'd expected, odd for a very showy composition. The Haydn is solid but not especially moving, as with most of the pieces here, but I can't neglect the fact that this is all done by a teenager. That makes it quite impressive, and Lang gets points for tackling a program that would challenge any pianist of any age. Balakirev's piece is a true test, and Lang handles it well. It's hardly world-shaking, but is very impressive for a player of his age.

This would be a fine cd to give to a young piano student, as both impetus and to document what intense dedication can accomplish.

I look forward to enjoying his latest recordings to hear how he's matured.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 25, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Judged fairly, this recital, recorded in excellent, realistic sound, is exactly what it presents itself as, the debut of "a Chinese pianist" who was barely known twelve years ago. The eighteen-year-old Lang Lang displays the pluses that would remain part of his pianism - assured technique at a world-class level, a gift for quiet lyricism, and good taste - along with one minus: lack of personal style. It's arguable that the last decade hasn't entirely erased this minus.

The problem is most noticeable in the six short works that comprise Brahms's Op. 188, inward, reflective, often melancholy works that demand stylistic maturity. Lang Lang doesn't play them like a beginner, and nothing sounds "wrong," but a certain blandness and caution hang over his readings. The main attraction is a quiet sense of poetry. Yet I'm not surprised that he hasn't returned to Brahms.

He should return to Haydn. This reading of the E minor sonata is precise and clear, without stiffness or exaggerated classicism. Other Haydn pianists are more forceful - think of Richter's ability to make Haydn's keyboard music blister - but Lang Lang held my attention. He doesn't toss the sonata off as simply a prelude to the fireworks to come. As in much of this early recital, the emphasis is on the softer side of the pianist's emerging gifts.

Probably the greatest musical challenge is offered by the Rachmaninov Second Sonata, a work it is impossible to hear without echoes of Horowitz in one's ears. Lang Lang makes a middling impression. All the notes are under is fingers, the balances are good, the textures clear without becoming congested.
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