Pianist Lang Lang is yet another artist who decided to wait until coming to the public with a recording of Beethoven’s piano concerti. After all, this music is a mile post for any artistic person, and for any performer. Our culture is very rich with pianists, now gone, who left us a long heritage of amazing Beethoven interpretations. Any young artist is wise to wait until s/he feels confident that s/he is ready and artistically mature to perform Beethoven’s masterpieces.
The wonderful aspect of Lang Lang’s playing is that when he plays his pianissimos, he sounds just as lyrical as when he plays louder. When the composer calls for Forte, Lang is able to make it sound equally natural and beautiful. Also, Lang Lang’s rhythmical control is outstanding and effective. As such, he is capable of delivering a rich palette of colors, shadings, dynamics, and articulations that make his interpretations consistently exciting!
He plays the first Beethoven Concerto with lightness and bounce in the outer movements, and he is lyrical and melodic in the second movement’s Largo. The Fourth Concerto represents the mature Beethoven, and Lang meets the challenge of the serious, dramatic aspects of this work by playing with poetry, clear rhythm and a fine lyrical tone.
Christoph Eschenbach, directing the Orchestre de Paris is a terrific collaborator for Lang Lang’s first Beethoven recording. The sound quality and the balance between orchestra and soloist are completely satisfying.
Here is a video recording of a rehearsal of the Concerto #4. Also included are comments by Lang Lang and by the conductor. Enjoy!