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Lang Lang follow up #1604795
01/24/11 07:10 PM
01/24/11 07:10 PM
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Vught, The Netherlands
Dave Horne Offline OP
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Since the previously posted thread was locked ... and since the follow up is not political, I felt the need to post this ...

From .... http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2011/01/24/lang-lang-responds-to-critics-of-white-house-performance/

In a statement, Lang said “I selected this song because it has been a favorite of mine since I was a child. It was selected for no other reason but for the beauty of its melody.”

He also said “America and China are my two homes. I am most grateful to the United States for providing me with such wonderful opportunities, both in my musical studies and for furthering my career. I couldn’t be who I am today without those two countries.”

Lang said that he wants to “bridge cultures together through the beauty and inspiration of music.”



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Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: Dave Horne] #1604802
01/24/11 07:21 PM
01/24/11 07:21 PM
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God, what an arrogant jerk.






(is what people here will somehow conclude)

Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: Dave Horne] #1604808
01/24/11 07:29 PM
01/24/11 07:29 PM
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Looks intentional to me. He can say whatever he wants. Of ALL the repertoire in the world, he chooses that very song. Its only because that's his favorite tune, yea right! :P


Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)
Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: Dave Horne] #1604818
01/24/11 07:41 PM
01/24/11 07:41 PM
Joined: Jun 2006
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Maine
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I heard him interviewed on PBS. He basically said that he wants nothing to do with politics "I'm just a pianist". That he loves both China and the US and he had no knowledge of the deeper meaning of the piece he played only that it is a beautiful melody. As he put it (more or less) "In 1957 my mother was 2 years old. What do I know about what happened then". He sounded very sincere and I am willing to believe him. People should just let it go.


"One's real life is often the life that one does not lead."- Oscar Wilde
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Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: Dave Horne] #1604822
01/24/11 07:47 PM
01/24/11 07:47 PM
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If LL really knew that this song had a political message, why would have chosen to play it? What would this accomplish?

Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: Dave Horne] #1604825
01/24/11 07:48 PM
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I just want to say that I thought some of the comments that he's not a superb pianist and musician were hard to fathom. I don't see how those things could be doubted. I can well imagine that many people would disagree with (and perhaps be outraged by) aspects of what he does, including his gesticulations. But that's another story.

Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: pianoloverus] #1604826
01/24/11 07:48 PM
01/24/11 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
If LL really knew that this song had a political message, why would have chosen to play it? What would this accomplish?


Are you asking us why crazy people do crazy things? wink


Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)
Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: liszt85] #1604852
01/24/11 08:29 PM
01/24/11 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by liszt85
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
If LL really knew that this song had a political message, why would have chosen to play it? What would this accomplish?


Are you asking us why crazy people do crazy things? wink
No. If someone wants to make a political statement, I don't see how playing a piece that 99.9% have never even heard of would accomplish anything.

And what would lying about his motivations for playing this music after receiving complaints about it accomplish?

Last edited by pianoloverus; 01/24/11 08:32 PM.
Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: Mark_C] #1604862
01/24/11 08:39 PM
01/24/11 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
I just want to say that I thought some of the comments that he's not a superb pianist and musician were hard to fathom. I don't see how those things could be doubted. I can well imagine that many people would disagree with (and perhaps be outraged by) aspects of what he does, including his gesticulations. But that's another story.
Although LL has gotten some positive critical reviews, he has also gotten numerous negative reviews(and not just for his movements while playing). Dubal's The Art of the PIano gives him a lengthy but mostly negative review. There have been many negative reviews in the NY Times. There have been many negative reviews of his playing in magazines that review classical music. Many knowledgable people at PW have also given him negative reviews.

Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: pianoloverus] #1604866
01/24/11 08:42 PM
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....and in truth I haven't seen or heard much of him -- just several clips on YouTube. But the things I saw bore out what I said. If other performances of his don't, I would take that to mean he's inconsistent -- but it wouldn't negate the pianism and musicianship that he showed in what I saw.

Of course, since I'm talking about my own impression, it's subjective. But so was the prior post: I personally find it hard to fathom that people would doubt his superb pianism and musicianship.

Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: Dave Horne] #1604868
01/24/11 08:45 PM
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OT to PL (since we are talking about non-pianists): Have you read the recent Bobby Fisher biography? I saw a review in the NYT. Sounds very intriguing..

Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: Dave Horne] #1604869
01/24/11 08:46 PM
01/24/11 08:46 PM
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accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: Dave Horne] #1604873
01/24/11 08:48 PM
01/24/11 08:48 PM
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what do you like about him, apple?

Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: Mark_C] #1604877
01/24/11 08:56 PM
01/24/11 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
....and in truth I haven't seen or heard much of him -- just several clips on YouTube. But the things I saw bore out what I said. If other performances of his don't, I would take that to mean he's inconsistent -- but it wouldn't negate the pianism and musicianship that he showed in what I saw.

Of course, since I'm talking about my own impression, it's subjective. But so was the prior post: I personally find it hard to fathom that people would doubt his superb pianism and musicianship.

I've tried to make this point a few times here. (As I said then), I've seen him in concert; he played the late Schubert A major sonata, the Bartok sonata, and a few other things. Some of it I didn't like, but a lot of it, including the Schubert, was rather magical.

Some don't like him, and that's fine. But there's an element on PW of some pretty knowledgeable folks who reserve for LL a level of vitriol that no one else seems to bring out. It has something to do with his rock-star status, and the relative lack of sophistication of many of his starry-eyed fans. But for those of us who are "in the know" and still like him, some of the comments here are, as you say, hard to fathom. One suspects deeper issues are afoot.

-Jason



Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: Mark_C] #1604897
01/24/11 09:19 PM
01/24/11 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
....and in truth I haven't seen or heard much of him -- just several clips on YouTube. But the things I saw bore out what I said. If other performances of his don't, I would take that to mean he's inconsistent -- but it wouldn't negate the pianism and musicianship that he showed in what I saw.

Of course, since I'm talking about my own impression, it's subjective. But so was the prior post: I personally find it hard to fathom that people would doubt his superb pianism and musicianship.
Since you realize your opinion is subjective, why would you claim that you couldn't see how others would have a different opinion(Unles you just assume you know more than everone else)? If the opinion you objected was also subjective, why would that have anything to do with your saying you couldn't see how anyone else could think differently from you?

It's a fact that many others including important reviewers/critics and pianists have had the opposite opinion as yours. And those reviews haven't implied it was a question of inconsistency.


Last edited by pianoloverus; 01/24/11 09:28 PM.
Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: Andromaque] #1604900
01/24/11 09:22 PM
01/24/11 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Andromaque
OT to PL (since we are talking about non-pianists): Have you read the recent Bobby Fisher biography? I saw a review in the NYT. Sounds very intriguing..
The review seemed extremely positive and I ordered it from Barnes & Noble. They're selling it for 40% off online.

When I was about 18 I worked the wall boards at the US Chess Championships when Fischer was playing.

I tried to whisper a few suggestions to him but he didnlt seem to take my ideas seriously.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 01/24/11 09:24 PM.
Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: Dave Horne] #1604903
01/24/11 09:23 PM
01/24/11 09:23 PM
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Quote
No. If someone wants to make a political statement, I don't see how playing a piece that 99.9% have never even heard of would accomplish anything.


Well, that depends on who is the target audience.

I have no particular irons in this fire, but if LL truly was ignorant of the "deeper meaning," a meaning that many in China seemed to grasp immediately, then he is either a true political and social ingenue, or he is just plain ignorant. The alternative, of course, is that he quite fully grasped the meaning of his gesture.

Anyone recall the "Hawaiian good luck symbol" used by the captive sailors of the USS Pueblo?

Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: Dave Horne] #1604908
01/24/11 09:37 PM
01/24/11 09:37 PM
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I heard Lang Lang and Zimerman are collaborating on the Brahms Hungarian Dances for two pianos.

Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: pianoloverus] #1604918
01/24/11 09:55 PM
01/24/11 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by liszt85
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
If LL really knew that this song had a political message, why would have chosen to play it? What would this accomplish?


Are you asking us why crazy people do crazy things? wink
No. If someone wants to make a political statement, I don't see how playing a piece that 99.9% have never even heard of would accomplish anything.

And what would lying about his motivations for playing this music after receiving complaints about it accomplish?


Comments I've seen from the Chinese people tell me that its a well known connotation that the tune has in China. Sooner or later, the Americans would know it as well if Lang Lang did something like that.

Why would he lie? Because like all cowards who speak ill of America while using its resources at the same time, he wants to continue reaping the benefits. How's that for a reason to lie and deny the allegations?

I'm just offering very plausible answers to your question. I have no way of knowing for sure that he indeed did all this on purpose, but if I were asked to venture a guess, I would go with intentional.


Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)
Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: Dave Horne] #1604922
01/24/11 10:03 PM
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The previous thread was closed because more than half of the posts were comments on the political regime in China and/or its relationship to the US or rest of the world. As I said in the previous thread on Zimerman, discussion of an artists choice of music or use of their status to make a political statement are relevant discussion items here. Discussion of Lang Lang as a pianist or his performance on the night in question are also relevant. Rants about China, the US, the media or politics in general are not.


Greg
Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: Dave Horne] #1604923
01/24/11 10:05 PM
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Greg,

OK, how close to the line does my post venture?

Would I cross the line if I posted a photo of the Hawaiian good luck symbol? grin

Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: liszt85] #1604924
01/24/11 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by liszt85
Comments I've seen from the Chinese people tell me that its a well known connotation that the tune has in China. Sooner or later, the Americans would know it as well if Lang Lang did something like that.

Why would he lie? Because like all cowards who speak ill of America while using its resources at the same time, he wants to continue reaping the benefits. How's that for a reason to lie and deny the allegations?

If you read the post linked in Apple's reply you will see that other Chinese people don't have the negative towards US opinion about this song.

If LL is really lying about his intentions but then praises the US in his official reply then that would seem to negate any possible motivaion for making an anti US comment. So I don't think your reason to lie and then deny the allegations makes much sense.

Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: pianoloverus] #1604926
01/24/11 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by liszt85
Comments I've seen from the Chinese people tell me that its a well known connotation that the tune has in China. Sooner or later, the Americans would know it as well if Lang Lang did something like that.

Why would he lie? Because like all cowards who speak ill of America while using its resources at the same time, he wants to continue reaping the benefits. How's that for a reason to lie and deny the allegations?

If you read the post linked in Apple's reply you will see that other Chinese people don't have the negative towards US opinion about this song.

If LL is really lying about his intentions but then praises the US in his official reply then that would seem to negate any possible motivaion for making an anti US comment. So I don't think your reason to lie and then deny the allegations makes much sense.


So any damage control negates previous intent?

Greg wants us to stop discussing this here, so I will, if you will. :P


Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)
Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: Dave Horne] #1604927
01/24/11 10:09 PM
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Once again, I've got no priors here, but I don't follow your argument, PL.

I see an easy logic to LL's post-brouhaha encomium to the US. The initial gesture is a rousing signal to his homeland, and the followup kow tow to the US is a way to have his cake and eat it too.

What's the truth? Got me. But it's easy to fashion a story that fits the evidence and in which LL is fully in on the inside joke.

Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: Dave Horne] #1604929
01/24/11 10:18 PM
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I'm no apologist for LL and it's certainly within the realm of the possible that he had it in mind to make a statement to both the people in China and the US by playing a piece that had been used in a propaganda film. I also think it's possible that, as he said, it's a very popular piece in China that he heard growing up well before it was used in the propaganda movie and he just thought it was a beautiful piece that expressed a sentiment about his homeland. Naive or devious, hard to say. It appears to me that people who feel negatively about LL as a pianist (his theatrics, face making, the "rock star" image he tries to cultivate, etc) are more inclined to think it was deliberate.


Greg
Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: Dave Horne] #1604935
01/24/11 10:28 PM
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Agreed.

But let's suppose he was truly ignorant. He played the piece simply because he liked the melody. Its deeper role in Chinese culture and politics simply flew over his apolitical and somewhat shallow head.

Then look at his reply. In it he does not even acknowledge the double meaning. He does not at all address the potential harm or grievances his action (or stunt) creates. He simply ignores the problematic aspects completely.

Once again, this sounds like the actions of someone who is either on the border of idiot savant (no understanding of anything beyond his own little constructed world), or someone whose ego is so large that he wants to command both stages (the US economic platform and China's political theatre).

Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: Dave Horne] #1604959
01/24/11 11:14 PM
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Well, the story seems to have reached the mainstream media:

From the LA Times

Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: beet31425] #1604977
01/24/11 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by beet31425
....Some don't like him, and that's fine. But there's an element on PW of some pretty knowledgeable folks who reserve for LL a level of vitriol that no one else seems to bring out. It has something to do with his rock-star status, and the relative lack of sophistication of many of his starry-eyed fans. But for those of us who are "in the know" and still like him, some of the comments here are, as you say, hard to fathom. One suspects deeper issues are afoot.

Absolutely my impression.

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Mark_C
....since I'm talking about my own impression, it's subjective. But so was the prior post: I personally find it hard to fathom that people would doubt his superb pianism and musicianship.

Since you realize your opinion is subjective, why would you claim that you couldn't see how others would have a different opinion (Unless you just assume you know more than everone else)? If the opinion you objected was also subjective, why would that have anything to do with your saying you couldn't see how anyone else could think differently from you?....

Good point -- but please, a little less vitriol. ha

I don't feel I "know more than everyone else."

"Subjective" is a funny thing. Do you not sometimes feel so strongly that something is a "fact" that you find it hard to imagine that others wouldn't see it? That's how this is. I'm saying that I feel the stuff of his that I've seen shows so clearly that he has considerable pianistic and musical abilities that I cannot fathom that others feel his abilities are less than superb.

I'm not talking about issues of interpretation or approach; I can always see how people might differ on those. I'm talking about people having said his pianistic and/or musical abilities are subpar.

Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: Andromaque] #1604980
01/24/11 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Andromaque
OT to PL (since we are talking about non-pianists): Have you read the recent Bobby Fisher biography? I saw a review in the NYT. Sounds very intriguing..

I read it too. I've long been a "fan" -- not of him personally, but of his career.

Not to open another can or worms ha but in broad terms he reminds me of Glenn Gould.

Re: Lang Lang follow up [Re: BB Player] #1605005
01/25/11 12:31 AM
01/25/11 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by BB Player
It appears to me that people who feel negatively about LL as a pianist (his theatrics, face making, the "rock star" image he tries to cultivate, etc) are more inclined to think it was deliberate.

Yes, I think so. The following yt is a good example of the issues, and I tend to agree with the comments.

For all that, he can certainly get around the keyboard, and his bringing out of the melody at 1:16 is truly sensitive and almost magical. (And I certainly know how difficult this piece is, believe me. cry )




Jason
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