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Liszt - My Piano Hero / Lang Lang, Gergiev, Vienna Philharmonic


Release Date: 10/04/2011 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 789141   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lang Lang
Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  


Notes and Editorial Reviews

Also available: Deluxe Edition with bonus track and DVD

Sheer febrile excitement.

One modest piece of advice: Don’t read the liner notes. Whether the superstar pianist Lang Lang is explaining that his love of Liszt was sparked by a “Tom and Jerry” TV cartoon, or that Liszt was a rock star just like Elvis Presley, the resulting observations are unlikely to enhance the listener’s appreciation of this recording.

And yes, there is much to appreciate in this collection of solo Liszt pieces, plus the first of the composer’s two piano concertos. Although the classical purist’s lip may curl at the mere mention of Lang Lang, the playing
Read more here is admirable not only for its technical prowess - an aspect of performance for which this pianist is already legendary - but also its very considerable delicacy and clarity of line.

Lang Lang’s career has followed the usual three-part media trajectory of the young sensation in our times: (1) shock and awe over the spectacular early virtuosity, (2) subsequent incredible over-hype, and then (3) negative overreaction and prolonged sneering. We are now in Phase 3, but perhaps Phase 4 is on the horizon - a more balanced assessment of both virtues and shortcomings. While this disc is not Lang Lang’s finest hour - or, to be more precise, 73 minutes and 33 seconds - it is never less than respectable and is often astonishingly good … as in his impressive reading of “ La Campanella”.

This is a recording for which you will probably need to adjust volume controls constantly. The softer pieces, like the dreamily unfocused Consolation No. 3, are followed with the more glittery, hard-edged selections like the Grand Galop chromatique and the Hungarian Rhapsodies, as the disc alternates slow/soft with fast/loud solo works. The very lively studio recordings of the solo pieces sound almost strident next to the tamped-down ambience of the live Piano Concerto No. 1 recording in the Großer Musikvereinssaal. Valery Gergiev whips the Vienna Philharmonic into a fine frenzy in the concerto. Thankfully the ambient audience noises – and the applause – have been edited out.

Hearing this disc alongside the Liszt of such interpreters as Nelson Freire - still one of this reviewer’s all-time favorites - with his purity of line and his subtle inflections of each phrase, suggests that Lang Lang still lacks some of the interpretive depth that may come with maturity. But those looking for sheer febrile excitement will find it here.

-- Melinda Bargreen, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Romance for Piano in E minor, S 169 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lang Lang (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848; Weimar, Germany 
2.
Grandes Etudes (6) de Paganini, S 141: no 3, La Campanella by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lang Lang (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851 
3.
Consolations (6) for Piano, S 172: no 3 in D flat major, Lento placido by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lang Lang (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849-1850; Weimar, Germany 
4.
Grand galop chromatique for Piano, S 219 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lang Lang (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Switzerland 
5.
Liebesträume for Piano, S 541: no 3, O Lieb, so lang by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lang Lang (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1850; Weimar, Germany 
6.
Hungarian Rhapsodies (19) for Piano, S 244: no 6 in D flat major by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lang Lang (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1885; Weimar, Germany 
7.
Concert Etudes (3) for Piano, S 144: no 3 in D flat Major, Un sospiro by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lang Lang (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1848; Weimar, Germany 
8.
Hungarian Rhapsodies (19) for Piano, S 244: no 15 in a "Rákóczy March" by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lang Lang (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1886 
9.
Ellens Gesang (Schubert) "Ave Maria" for Piano, S 558 no 12 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lang Lang (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1838; France 
10.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in E flat major, S 124 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Lang Lang (Piano)
Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849/1856; Weimar, Germany 

Sound Samples

Romance "O pourquoi donc" in E Minor, S 169
La campanella in G-Sharp Minor from Grandes études de Paganini, S 141/3
Consolation No. 3 in D-Flat Major, S 172
Grand Galop chromatique in E-Flat Major, S 219
Liebestraum No. 3 in A-Flat Major, S 541/3
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 in D-Flat Major, S 244/6
Un sospiro in D-Flat Major from Trois études de Concert, S 144/3
Rakoczy March from Hungarian Rhapsody No. 15 in A Minor, S 244/15 (Horowitz version)
Ave Maria S 558
I. Allegro maestoso
II. Quasi adagio - Allegretto vivace - Allegro animato
III. Allegro marziale animato

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Super December 4, 2012 By M. Hereish (Chandler, QC) See All My Reviews "Lang lang at his best" Report Abuse
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