This is truly the ‘Summer of Lang Lang’! The hottest Classical artist on the classical music planet, as described by The New York Times, is back with his second recording for Sony Classical, which is devoted to his very own piano hero - Franz Liszt.
On this album, together with the Vienna Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev, Lang Lang plays Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 as well as a selection of some of the most commercial, famous, virtuosic and beautiful solo pieces by Franz Liszt such as La Campanella, Liebestraum and Hungarian Rhapsody Nr 6, Consolation etc.
His 200th anniversary being this October 22, Franz Liszt is commonly regarded as the first pop star in music history. A touring piano virtuoso himself, Franz Liszt composed some of the most famous and virtuosic pieces ever written for the instrument.
Liszt: Romance “O pourquoi donc” in E Minor, S. 169
Liszt: La campanella in G-Sharp Minor from Grandes études de Paganini, S 141/3
Liszt: Consolation No. 3 in D-Flat Major, S. 172
Liszt: Grand Galop chromatique in E-Flat Major, S. 219
Liszt: Liebestraum No. 3 in A-Flat Major, S. 541/3
Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 in D-Flat Major, S. 244/6
Liszt: Un sospiro in D-Flat Major from Trois études de concert, S. 144/3
Liszt: Rakoczy March from Hungarian Rhapsody No. 15 in A Minor, S. 244/15
Liszt: Ave Maria, S. 558
Liszt: Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, S. 447
Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-Flat Major, S. 124: I. Allegro maestoso
Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-Flat Major, S. 124: II. Quasi adagio – Allegretto vivace – Allegro animato
Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-Flat Major, S. 124: III. Allegro marziale animato
3rd September 2011
“Lang Lang’s gifts get a fruitful showcase in Liszt’s Piano Concerto No 1, performed with the Vienna Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev. None of the parties proves too bombastic...In the slow pieces we can take some comfort in our star pianist’s delicacy, however, when Liszt is being the showman, Lang Lang’s extreme virtuosity keeps removing the music’s soul”
8th September 2011
“His talents are most generously indulged, however, in the Paganini study "La Campanella", a showcase of effusive flurries, sudden shifts of mood and rippling trills sweeping the entire length of the keyboard, all delivered with a restrained but dashing brio.”
“His approach to the piano is predominantly affectionate and respectful. While capable of producing massive sounds, he very seldom loses tonal control; indeed, his tone is frequently seductive.”
Awards Issue 2011
“Lang Lang's glittering career now moves from dubious beginnings...to an increasing range and maturity...His stealthy tempo for "La campanella" allows for a super-glitter and articulacy that even the most seasoned pianist might envy, while in "Un sospiro" his relaxed poetry and technique are masterly at every level. His Schubert-Liszt "Ave Maria" has all the communicative ardour that has endeared him to millions.”
“There is some quite exquisite playing here (Consolation No. 3, 'Un sospiro' and the rarely-heard Romance 'O pourquoi donc' that opens the programme) and bursts of electrifying dexterity (Grand galop chromatique and Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6). The First Concerto is exciting and hard driven though not without a real sense of repose where required.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.