After Lang Lang's Davies Hall recital tonight (an eventful,
up-down-and-up-again Mozart Sonata in B-flat Major; a totally glorious
Schuman Fantasy in C Major; a John Tesh class "Six Traditional Chinese
Works," including - so help me - a tango; a fair-to-middling Granados
"Goyescas" excerpt, and an honest, heartfelt "Liebestod," in the Liszt
treatment), I had to a chance to compliment him on the program-closing
Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 - not only on the breathtaking virtuoso
performance, but how truly idiomatic, authentic it was.
I said for me it ranks with Gyorgy Cziffra's interpretation, and much
to my surprise, Lang Lang said Cziffra (who died 13 years ago, ruined
his hands when made to crush rocks in a forced labor camp during the
Stalinist era, and never fully recognized in the West) was his "idol."
Lang Lang then trumped that by saying that he is going on tour with the
Vienna Philharmonic to Budapest - to play the Bartok Second Piano Concerto.
A brave man, a fine artist, even if some of his "Chinese" repertory can
be no more authentic than portions of Tan Dun's Puccini-Chinese opera.
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