Lang Lang plays by his own rules

Lang Lang plays by his own rules

Review Concert

LANG LANG IN RECITAL

Esplanade Concert Hall/Last Saturday

Ever since his meteoric rise to fame and fortune over the last dozen years, Chinese pianist Lang Lang has polarised opinion among audiences and critics.

One either adores or loathes him, but what is undeniable is his drawing power and ability to work a crowd.

Such was the gift of late classical superstars such as pianist Vladimir Horowitz and tenor Luciano Pavarotti, who had their fair share of supporters and detractors.

Lang's solo recital, his second in Singapore last week, would provide more points of contention.

The choice of three Mozart sonatas on a trot was unusual, and he was on his best behaviour. Well almost.

In the early G major (K.283) and E flat major (K.282) sonatas, he coaxed a lovely cantabile aided by generous pedalling, which flowed like oil.

By contrast, the dramatic A minor sonata (K.310) was driven with sheer single-mindedness, capped by a thrilling development to boot.

His tendency to linger in the slow movements and then race ahead in the finales highlighted extremes in contrasts.

Exaggerating accents and phrases in unexpected places was ear-catching, providing the twists and turns one would expect in a roller-coaster.

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