Lang Lang Revisits the Music of his Childhood in "Piano Book"
Pianist Lang Lang’s new recording is a labor of love, meant to inspire in budding pianists the same focused and imaginative practice that lit up his own life with the joy of music – and it’s WCRB’s CD of the Week.
Superstar pianist Lang Lang has spent his life with the piano. Born in China in 1982, he became the first Chinese pianist to be engaged by the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the New York Philharmonic. Television appearances for global leaders and at the Beijing Olympics have made him a household name, and his emotional approach to the instrument is instantly recognizable.
The journey for Lang Lang has been intense, and, somehow, while crisscrossing the globe with grueling concert schedules, Lang Lang has managed to sprout a second career, bringing music into the lives of children around the world. Even at the young age of 36, he has become an ambassador of the keyboard, spearheading education projects (forty U.S. schools use his high-tech-focused “Keys of Inspiration” method), and charitable activities through his own Lang Lang International Music Foundation.
Lang Lang’s new recording brings both careers into focus. He’s come up with a 2-CD set of music that inspired him as a boy. These are the masterpieces that spark many young players: Debussy’s Clair de lune (which Lang Lang savors with a spacious tempo); Chopin’s “Raindrop” prelude; Für Elise by Beethoven; and Schumann’s Wild Horseman. Along with these and many more, Lang Lang includes folk-inspired music from Sweden, China, and Korea. The recording’s liner notes tell some touching stories about Lang Lang’s personal history with many of these works.
But the CD “Piano Book” is only half of the story. Along with the recording, pianists and students can buy the printed book – elaborately published and including Lang Lang’s own interpretative suggestions, along with pages of photos. “I hope to inspire as well as motivate every piano student to remain focused during daily practice, and to play and understand these essential pieces for what they really are: true masterpieces!”
In an interview, Lang Lang tells WCRB’s Laura Carlo, “Now, the piano has really become a truly global instrument.” It’s safe to say that he has been a major force behind that phenomenon. Listen to the interview here:
Watch a trailer for the album:
For more information and to purchase this album, visit ArkivMusic.