It probably makes sense that Lang Lang is called a “pop star of classical music”. Because of his presence in the media, he reaches an audience of millions. For more than ten years the pianist has been one of the acclaimed artistic guests of the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation. On his solo recital Lang Lang, playing piano works by Johann Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Frédéric Chopin, will immerse himself in two completely different musical worlds.
Piano Sonata in G major K. 283
Piano Sonata in E flat major K. 282
Piano Sonata in A minor K. 310
Ballad No. 1 in G minor op. 23
Ballad No. 2 in F major op. 38
Ballad No. 3 in A flat major op. 47
Ballad No. 4 in F minor op. 52
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It probably makes sense to be titled a “Pop Star of Classical Music”, as Lang Lang is, if you reach millions because of your presence in the media, and not only inveterate fans of classical music. But at the same time you may be sneered at – you run the risk of being considered an “event musician”. The Berlin audience has been able to experience the Chinese pianist’s impressive artistic development over the past ten years virtually at first hand. In 2004, Lang Lang – who was then 21 – debuted with the Berliner Philharmoniker, first with an enthusiastically received piano recital, and just four weeks later as soloist in Tschaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto at the concert in the Waldbühne. Since then the artist, who considers Arthur Rubinstein and Vladimir Horowitz his greatest role models, has been present in Philharmonic concert life in a variety of ways; in the 2009/10 season he was even pianist in residence.
On this evening Lang Lang will give a solo recital in the Philharmonie. The programme will take the audience to two different musical worlds: the First Viennese School and Romanticism. The piano sonatas of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are characterised by a clear and consummate language as well as a seemingly playful ease, however they have an emotional depth to be explored by the performer. In 1836, Frédéric Chopin introduced with his Op. 23 a completely new form to piano music: the ballade. With its roots in literature and vocal music, it becomes a synonym for an epic-dramatic piano piece in the hands of Chopin. Although completely different in musical gesture and character, the four ballades are united by one thing: They all culminate in a spectacular, rousing final crescendo.