Bartók, Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, M. Perahia, G. Solti, E. Glennie (DVD)
Carnegie Hall Concert, E. Kissin, J. Levine
Music for a pair of pianists to play is often among the best in a composer's oeuvre, perhaps because it was often intended for the composer to play with a student or friend. It is music that is generally known best by pianists who play it and is often best appreciated in the playing. Only the first piece on this excellent program, Mozart's sonata in D major (K. 448) was actually composed for two pianos, an arrangement that is much less intimate than four hands and requires considerably more coordination to make sure you are in synch with your partner. Lang Lang showed himself a sensitive secondo in this work, in a very spirited and fast first movement in which some of the filigreed details were not quite clear. Although the careful use of the full dynamic range of the two modern instruments was refreshing, the second movement was perhaps a crystal tear too precious in its delicacy.
The remaining pieces on the program were originally composed for piano, four hands, beginning with Mozart's extraordinary F major sonata (K. 497). As Kissin and Levine did, to expand music for performance in a large hall, Eschenbach and Lang Lang played these pieces on two pianos. The first two movements of this sonata -- a murky Adagio introducing an Allegro with some poignant harmonic sequences and lots of flirtation with minor keys, followed by a tender Andante with many call and answer effects -- were rendered with beautiful attention to detail. The jolly third movement, all heavy off-beat accents, was a little disjointed but still fun.
Anne Midgette, Coming to appreciate Lang Lang (Washington Post, November 9)
---, Lang Lang’s unique style, good and bad, offers originality (Washington Post, November 6)
Katherine Boyle, Lang Lang eager to hitch young pianists to his stardom (Washington Post, November 3)
Joshua Kosman, S.F. Symphony review: Lang! Crash! Boom! (San Francisco Chronicle, November 2)
David Patrick Stearns, Lang Lang displays growth in 'The Chopin Album' (Philadelphia Inquirer, October 30)
Jefferson Graham, Talking Your Tech: How pianist Lang Lang uses tech (USA Today, October 23)
Lang Lang's residency at the Kennedy Center continues with three appearances as soloists with the National Symphony Orchestra. In addition to performances of Strauss's Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche and Dvořák's seventh symphony all three nights, Lang Lang will play a different Beethoven piano concerto each night — nos. 2 (tonight), 3 (November 9), and 5 (November 10).