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Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 4
Lang Lang, Pascal Moragues - Christoph Eschenbach
Genre: Classical | Lossles: APE+CUE | 1h:14min | 208 Mb
SPARS Code: DDD | Label: Deutsche Grammophon | Catalog No.: 477 6719 | ASIN: B000OYC3FM | May 8, 2022
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“Lang Lang has nothing to prove to the public, who have embraced him worldwide as a megastar. But critics are another matter. HIs meteoric rise came too fast for them, and they doubt his maturity, taste, even his sincerity. I for one am a fan, despite hearing one disappointing live recital in Boston, so I was eager to hear great things in this pairing of Beethoven's Piano Concertos 1 and 4. To begin with, we get excellent sound from DG for both piano and orchestra, and Eschenbach leads the Orchestre de Paris in clean striaghtforward accompaniments. From the first entry of the piano, however, the spotlight is on Lang Lang. He shows a happy affinity for the First Concerto, keeping the rhythms light and springy; he punctuates a bit sharply at times but overall conveys buoyant cheer. The long, lovely melodic line in the Largo sounds as edelicate and refined as Mozart in Lang Lang's hands. The finale could show more brio but is fine. Is this a reading for the ages? No. One can think of several others, from Fleisher, ARgerich, Michelangeli, and Richter in particular, that scale the heights, while Lang Lang remains in the middle distance.
His real challenge comes in the great Fourth Concerto, a much deeper work and one suited to Lang Lang's sensitive touch. Despite his reputation for keyboard wizardry, this pianist tends toward poise and luricism. Here he gets a chance to shine, which he does – within limits. The recorded history of the Fourth contains great readings from Gieseking, Edwin Fischer, Rudolf Serkin, Fleisher, and Kempff, just to mention a few favorites. Lang Lang plays very well, and he is never less than fine, but I don't hear enough individual personality. Marvelous as his technique and phrasing can be, he needs a decade more maturity. Overall, the musicality of these performances should quiet the critics if they are willing to listen honestly and not through preconceived notions. The fingerwork in the first movement dazzles, the hushed bridge between the slow movement and the finale brings a shiver, and the finale itself, if not up to Serkin's blazing standard, shows many nice touches. (I only wish Lang Lang had let himself go; the rhythms are a little cautious and foursquare.) Four stars are well deserved.” – Customer Review on Amazon.com