Posts Tagged ‘Lang Lang’

The Wiener Philharmoniker’s concert with Zubin Mehta at the Carnegie Hall on February 25th was a sort of bric-à-brac – you would never now what you would get next, but the bottom line was some sort of lightness. When the first bars of Wagner’s Rienzi Overture echoed in the hall, one could not repress a feeling of enchantment – the Philharmonic’s hallmark crystalline sound, homogeneous through all dynamic levels, perfectly balanced and clear in the fastest passagework is one of the wonders of the modern world. I have to confess that Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto seemed to be disappointing only because we would hear less from the orchestra – but I was curious to hear Chinese Wunderkind Lang Lang. 

Obviously, Lang is an immensely gifted pianist, but I was not convinced that Chopin is his best suit. Although he was capable of producing some beautiful playing in soft dynamics, the overall impression was of impatience and lack of subtlety, something that would be confirmed with one of the loudest and fastest accounts of the Heroic Polonaise no. 6 op. 53 – the only explanation for such formidably precise hammering on the keyboard would be a powerful sugar rush.

After the intermission, the audience was treated to a mini-new-year-gala of waltzes and polkas plus the Overture to Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss, Jr, a repertoire in which the orchestra’s charm, animation and Echtheit finds no competition. Zubin Mehta indulged the orchestra’s know-how here.

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