LANG LANG Dragon Songs 4776229

Lang Lang: So good, they named him twice . . . Lang Lang's precocious talent has lived up to his name.

. . . intricately delivered . . .

He's already introduced many masterpieces from the Western classical tradition to audiences in China. With "Dragon Songs," Lang Lang's cultural exchange comes full circle as he steps up his efforts to share Chinese traditional music with the Western world.

Lang displays surprising delicacy in the solo selections, which often look back to the filigreed embroidery of Chopin or Debussy.

. . . a mixture of fresh arrangements, of traditional songs and Western-style works written before the 1949 revolution . . . Lang tackles them all with fiery exuberance . . .

While his previous CDs have been characterized by formidable technique propelled by remarkable energy and a palpable passion for music-making, "Dragon Songs" reveals the sensitivity for musical line that truly foretells a lifelong career.

. . . the pianist spins off a series of impressionistic solo portraits. Some, like He Luting's wry "The Cowherd's Flute" or Lü Wencheng's Debussy-inflected "Autumn Moon on a Calm Lake," run to gentle, flowing lyricism. Others ż Du Mingxin's "Straw Hat Dance" and Zhu Jianer's "Happy Times" ż have a whirring flair that seems almost Castilian.

The 24-year-old pianist combines almost limitless talent with rare charisma.

The first all-Chinese classical release by a big star on a major label is a resounding success. Lang Lang tears into the flashy "Yellow River Concerto" with gusto . . . he imbues with the deepest musicality. It is obvious from the poetry of his playing that Lang Lang feels these pieces deeply and they could not find a more ardent champion.
Lang Lang has a knack for building interesting programmes, none more personal, perhaps, than his latest release. It encompasses a fascinating variety of traditional Chinese songs from several generations arranged by Chinese composers . . . Each of these is an extended piece featuring energetic, dance-like interplay between the instruments. Not only do they marvellously showcase Fan Wei's pipa (Chinese lute), Zhang Jiali's guanzi (double-reed pipe) and Ji Wei's guzheng (Chinese lute), they also reveal Lang Lang as an inspiring and musicianly collaborator. He's not afraid to enliven the rhythms with emphatic accents and dynamic surges, yet he appropriately pulls back while his partner has the ball in court, so to speak . . . the crystalline nuances he brings to simple, evocative fare like "The Cowherd's Flute" confirms my long-held notion that Lang Lang ought to explore Debussy . . . [Yellow River Concerto]: he gives a thrilling, colourful, fervently committed account of the solo part.

. . . the Yellow River Piano Concerto, "composed", if that is the right word, by a committee of four in 1969 at the behest of Madame Mao and based on a patriotic cantata from 1939 by Xian Xinghai: folk melodies meet Liszt and Rachmaninov in the epitome of the warhorse concerto. It is an ideal vehicle for Lang Lang's showmanship, and he is given solid support by the China Philharmonic. The rest of the disc is given over to arrangements of folk melodies by various hands, as well as original piano pieces, some of them incorporating traditional Chinese instruments. Here Lang Lang is able to reveal a more subtle, mercurial side to his playing . . . his commitment allows what there is to shine forth.

Two things stand out clearly . . . : Lang's technical prowess and the beauty of the folk melodies from which these 20th-century pieces were derived . . . their delicate essence is retained, with ancient traditions evoked by the sound of indigenous instruments on three tracks.

. . . finely played throughout . . .

Heżs passionate about his music and equally so about China, and it shows in his playing . . . The DVD culminates with a performance of of the "Yellow River" which is a brilliant fusion of east and west.

I am glad that the Chinese piano sensation Lang Lang and Deutsche Grammophon have given it the deluxe treatment . . . What makes this CD more worthwhile for me . . . is Lang Lang's selection of solo piano works . . . they are wholly satisfying. Where Lang Lang is joined by other Chinese musicians, it's a double treat . . . "Dragon Songs" is clearly a good match of musician and music. Perhaps the repertoire lets Lang Lang be himself . . . There is a DVD counterpart to this release . . . it looks interesting, particularly the selections in which Lang Lang plays with other Chinese musicians. In interviews and in "real life", Lang Lang comes across as a charming, sincere young man, and I am sure that his many fans will not need to be invited twice to purchase the DVD as well. I wish him and "Dragon Songs" the best.

Lang Lang is a name like Madonna or Sting . . . the whole production is as fine as a Chinese vase.

Lang Lang wandelt leichtfüßig auf den Grenzen der Kulturen . . . ein spannender »Clash of cultures« zwischen Fernost und Europa.

. . . ein heiteres, leicht genießbares Bild chinesischer Musik . . . ein unverkrampfter Hörspaß.

Lang Lang ist der moderne Piano-Star schlechthin. Er wandelt auf den Pfaden von Horowitz, ohne dessen virtuose Kopie zu werden.

Quatre mouvements ardemment défendus par un Lang Lang parfaitement dans son élément . . .