Attending Lang Lang’s 30th birthday

June 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

The O2 World in Berlin is full. 10,000 people in the arena, Jahja Ling conducts the Schleswig-Holstein Festival orchestra and Lang Lang, unquestionably gifted and majestic, is on stage.Image

In front of one of the greatest classical music performers, no doubt, I am won over. The intelligence of Lang Lang’s piano playing is always striking me. I feel as if he read a story, understood it, felt it and he is now telling us this story. He’s not just a performer. Above his technique, it is the ease and grace he has in his playing that I admire. His interpretation is sensitive and always extremely right.

And the fantastic partner he chose to play Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue? Herbie Hancock. It tells something about Lang Lang’s eclectic passion for music, doesn’t it? The legendary jazz musician was luminous and the connivence between the two pianists was such a delight. A beautiful story told with four hands, the two musicians unfolding the decor together, both adding details to the scenery and revealing progressively the twist and turns of the story.

Probably the moment I liked the most: the two-piano improvisation. A piano conversation between the two men. Brilliance and spontaneity. Lang and Hancock offered a moment of intimacy. They kept a lively argument going. Hancock teases Lang, Lang, mischievous, answers. They surprised each other, they admired each other. It was about respect, it was about friendship. 

Sometimes of course I think I perceived a fabricated moment, a falsified emotion. After all, Lang Lang is a super star… But sometimes and fortunately enough music overcomes this human lapse. This is what I like the most: when we can catch this moment of truth, when music has full space to express its truth. 

It was a show, for sure, commensurate with Lang Lang’s bling, but it was brilliant and sincere.

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