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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Music by Mr. Lang Lang

Perfection Personafied

Sometimes things turn out to be just perfect. We tend to all have a favourite entertainer, someone, or a group that we admire above all, and so, should we actually get the opportunity to be in the same room as the performer we might feel that a dream has come true. For me, that performer is Lang Lang, the pianist's pianist.

I live in Valencia, so it was that I regarded the news that he would perform in Valencia with great disbelief. If  he were performing in any other part of Spain I would have caught a train or plane and gone to be there, but the news was that he would be at The Palau de la Musica, less than an hour away. On the day tickets went on sale I had to wait for many hours to place an order, and when I did there was very little in the way of options of where we could sit. The seats we chose could not have been improved upon as we were on the second level, behind him to his left, and therefore we could see what his hands were doing.

On the night of April 19th, we arrived at our seats at exactly 8pm, because of a variety of things that retarded our progress, and the performance began at 8:02. Every seat was occupied, including the extra seating that was created in the choir's section. This, within itself was an amazing thing, because there are so many things that can frustrate a patron's committment to be there. The performer himself, was in fine form, another lucky thing for us, and for the next two hours both performer and audience were enjoined in the music. There were only two mistakes from the audience where someone thought the piece had come to an end and they started to clap but were immediately stopped.

Lang Lang played works by J. Sebastian Bach; by Franz Schubert, and 12 studies, opus 25 by Frédéric Chopin.

 In my opinion, what makes Lang Lang such an extraordinary artist is the very thing I find difficult, if not impossible to explain.  It was the thing that bonded over 1500 people to one single man and his music. A good classical pianist will play the masters literally and correctly, and at the end the audience will walk away saying, there was nothing wrong with that.  But Lang Lang adds something that I want to call "soul" to the notes on the page. He is a classical pianist with soul! By that I mean that he is animated in his interpretation of what the music is meant to portray to the audience. (Some people don't like this.)

The easiest way to compare that would be with an actor on stage bringing anger to the script, or pathos, or romance, or any other emotion to make the words live. Lang Lang feels the music and he expresses how he feels through his arms and his body language. I am sure that he cries when playing certain passages, but he is most likely to confine those moments to private times.

I no longer play the piano because I too felt the music, to the extent that it frightened me away because I was losing control. But, I think I understand him and I am a kindred spirit, so now you will see why for me, he is my absolute altar ego.

He is a young man and a genius who appears to have his life under control. I wish him well and further success in all that he wishes to do. For me, to have been in the same concert hall as he performed was the most important item on my "bucket list." I'm now ready for whatever life has in store for me.

As a mark of how wonderful his performance was, there was no need for anyone to express to anyone else how they felt. We all knew. I just wanted to hug my wife, and myself. That's how good I felt.

Copyright (c)  2012    Eugene Carmichael