Celebrity Piano Recital: Lang Lang

Thursday 4th February 7:30pm at Symphony Hall

Lang Lang piano

Beethoven Piano Sonata in C, Op 2, No 3 26’
Beethoven Piano Sonata in F minor, Op 57, Appassionata 24’
Albéniz Iberia Book 1 21’
Prokofiev Piano Sonata No 7 18’

Encore – Chopin

Lang Lang is a superstar of the piano, hailed as “the hottest artist on the classical music planet” by the New York Times. For this return visit to Symphony Hall, his programme ranges from the Appassionata’s stormy turbulence and the sultry Spanish landscapes of Albéniz to the pyrotechnics of Prokofiev’s Seventh Sonata. Book your seat now!

Classic FM’s Anne-Marie Minhall, says of tonight’s recommended concert:

“The Chinese pianist Lang Lang is feted as a national hero and inspiration to millions of children in his homeland. He performed live at the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony to an estimated worldwide audience of four billion and sells out every venue he’s booked for.” www.thsh.co.uk

Review by Rian Evans, Guardian:


Lang Lang concerts have the ­hallmarks of celebrity: a capacity crowd, a later-than-­advertised start, camera flashes, ­applause in the wrong places, and a young man who lollops and glides like a pop idol. For the Chinese pianist’s only British date of his ­current tour, Lang’s ­performing ­technique was as ­glittering as the ­sequins on his shirt, but his ­programme suggested that ­showmanship may no longer be his highest ­priority. One can only hope. ” …

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:


…”There was a sold-out audience at Symphony Hall on Thursday vociferously applauding the young Chinese super-pianist Lang Lang, even between movements of Beethoven piano sonatas, but I was left totally cold and in fact indignant at this display of spectacle before substance (and at the discourtesy of a 15-minute late start – any extenuating circumstances, please let me know).”  …

Barenboim plays Beethoven

Staatskapelle Berlin
Daniel Barenboim conductor/piano

Schoenberg Verklärte Nacht 20’
Beethoven Piano Concerto No 5, Emperor 38’

Encore Chopin Nocturne

Few names are more prestigious in music today than that of Daniel Barenboim. A musical colossus and legend in his own lifetime, he is one of the world’s leading pianists and conductors, with barely a corner of musical life that he has not touched in some way. Steeped in Beethoven’s music – arguably its greatest living exponent -Barenboim’s performance of the Emperor Concerto with the Berlin Staatskapelle is eagerly anticipated. www.thsh.co.uk

Review by David Hart, Birmingham Post:


…”More than that it was a triumph, both for Barenboim himself and the remarkable Staatskapelle Berlin he has directed since 1992.

Few string works are more emotionally draining than Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, and as the electrifying opener it seethed wonderfully with transparent multipart textures and solo lines that erupted from the musical cauldron of expressionistic brooding.”  …

Review by Geoff Read, MusicWeb:


…”The first half featured Verklärte Nacht, an early string sextet from Schoenberg, heard here in the later full string version. We saw a mature and relaxed Barenboim, in complete control of the massed forces of the Staatskapelle; there were few histrionics from their Chief Conductor for Life. He’s long had the Tee shirt. Barenboim, prising out some amazing effects I had not experienced before in this piece, vividly recreated the Richard Dehmel text on which the composition is based. The stark opening phrases portrayed Dehmel’s ‘walk through a bare, cold grove’, and reminded me of my own chilly January promenade from train station to auditorium foyer.  …

… Much as the Schoenberg piece was appreciated, it was the second half that the Midlands had come to see and hear – the well-loved Piano Concerto No 5 in Eb Major by Beethoven. All high expectations were fulfilled. No doubt Barenboim has played the Emperor countless times, and many with the Staatskapelle Berlin (catch them together on a DVD live performance) but he made it sound as fresh and vibrant as perhaps he has ever done. The nobility and power of Beethoven were immediately conveyed in the opening Allegro.” …

Review by James Cartledge, Birmingham Mail:


…”The highlight of the evening was, though, without doubt Barenboim at the keyboard for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 5, better known as The Emperor.

It was incredible to watch the energetic Barenboim as he combined playing with conducting. ” …