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WGUC Reviews

Dragon Songs

Dragon Songs
Lang Lang
Central Philharmonic Orchestra of China
Long Yu, conducting

Review by: Robert Zierolf

No pianist since Evgeny Kissin has caused such a stir at a young age as has Lang Lang. His technique is up to any notes ever composed for his instrument, and his stage presence and general exuberance add to the prominence of his reputation. Dragon Songs contributes to audience desire for his work and as well adds to the rapidly growing interest in all things Chinese. The recording presents Chinese compositions and arrangements of folk music ranging from the concerto to traditional music. The Yellow River Concerto is exemplary of the composer-collective composition favored during the Cultural Revolution. Commissioned by Mao's wife, it begins and ends with Rachmaninov-like sonority and brilliant pianism, which Lang Lang performs with typical aplomb. Much else is based on folk song, the Internationale, and other music that sounds indigenous to China. Whatever its musical merits, or lack of them, it is a historical piece reflecting its times. Other works are short arrangements of traditional music for piano solo or with traditional Chinese folk instruments. All very interesting and well recorded.

The second disc is a DVD comprising Lang Lang's descriptions of the original meanings of the works then performing them. Check out his duds worn for the concerto. I recommend viewing the DVD before listening to the CD.


Sound Quality:

Robert Zierolf is Professor of Music Theory and History and Division head of Composition, Musicology, and Theory at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati. He is also a freelance writer on classical music.


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