Tchaikovsky – The Seasons, Op. 37b
Bach – Italian Concert, BWV 971
Chopin – Four Scherzi
Lang Lang, the inevitable pianistic wonder child wowed audiences at the Sydney Opera House on 8 June with a recital embracing flamboyance and flight together with serenity and sonority.
The opening half of the recital began with Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Seasons’ Op. 37b, a collection of 12 short pieces each depicting the seasons over the course of a year. Lang Lang treated each miniature as an entity within itself and yet managed to thread the 12 movements together into a cohesive whole. His economical pedaling resulted in some crisp rhythmic invention that juxtaposed neatly into serene and flowing melodic lines.
This romantic expose was contrasted nicely with Bach’s Italian Concerto, a single movement work in the concertante style. Lang Lang shifts his focus to the textual context of this work, displaying a mastery of contrapuntal playing which yielded pleasant results.
The second half of the program was devoted entirely to the four Scherzi of Chopin. These are among Chopin’s finest works with the level of virtuosity and pianistic control required far out weighing many of his other solo piano works. Together, these are a marathon for the piano and once again, Lang Lang fuses the individuality of each work into a cohesive whole. The 2nd and 3rd Scherzi were the highlight of the evening and received the appropriate applause from a rapturous, if at times inconsiderate audience.
He concluded with 3 short encores with a new record set for the playing time of Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca. He was having fun, with the task at hand completed.
Lang Lang is a performer who is in complete control of each and every one of his pianistic moves at the keyboard. He is virtually an extension of the instrument and is thoroughly consumed by the music. He is quite extraordinary to watch. He respects the composer’s intentions whilst stamping his own authority on his chosen repertoire.
He is well worth the price of admission.
– Frank Shostakovich