Edinburgh International Festival music review: Lang Lang, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Ken Walton
Well, he finally made it. After illness forced the calling off last Wednesday of his concerto appearance with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Chinese phenomenon Lang Lang’s solo recital on Friday became, by default, his long-awaited EIF debut.
He didn’t disappoint. The lyrical sweetness of Tchaikovsky’s musical calendar The Seasons gave way to a very personalised interpretation of Bach’s Italian Concerto, before launching turbo-charged into Chopin’s four Scherzos and the inevitable encores.
For Lang Lang the piano is a natural extension of himself, his effortless composure enriched by natural and charismatic musicality that squeezed every ounce of lyrical juice from Tchaikovsky’s Schumannesque sketches. Here was a golden lesson in melodic projection, even if it took him a moment or two to rid his touch of its initial hard edge.
His Bach was crazy, the fierce left-handed body blows to the bass lines probably not what the composer intended, but so persuasively delivered you felt compelled to admire his stylistic bravado.
The Chopin Scherzos raised the roof.
Fearless bursts of tempi, a jaw-dropping technique, melodic phrasing to die for, and that genuine ability to mesmerise 2,000 people, made it a night to remember, if not always approve of.
Published in The Scotsman on 24 August 2015
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