Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 4

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - EJ Johnson
Lang Lang, the brilliant young Chinese pianist, delivers his first Beethoven recording with this disc coupling the First and Fourth Piano Concertos. With crystalline technique, Lang finds the joyful heart of the First Concerto, playing with rhythmic precision and a bold, forthright tone in the faster outer movements while adopting a lovely singing quality in the beautiful Largo. The Fourth Concerto is the more unconventional of the two, opening, for instance, with solo piano instead of the traditional orchestral introduction. In the right hands, this work can't fail to create a powerful impression, and it certainly does here, especially in the eccentric middle movement, ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - EJ Johnson
Lang Lang, the brilliant young Chinese pianist, delivers his first Beethoven recording with this disc coupling the First and Fourth Piano Concertos. With crystalline technique, Lang finds the joyful heart of the First Concerto, playing with rhythmic precision and a bold, forthright tone in the faster outer movements while adopting a lovely singing quality in the beautiful Largo. The Fourth Concerto is the more unconventional of the two, opening, for instance, with solo piano instead of the traditional orchestral introduction. In the right hands, this work can't fail to create a powerful impression, and it certainly does here, especially in the eccentric middle movement, cast as a dramatic dialogue between the mythical Orpheus and the gods of the underworld; Lang's responsive playing of this prayerful music is the highpoint of the disc. Having first met in 1999 before the pianist burst on the international music scene, Lang and conductor Christoph Eschenbach have forged a close working relationship, and the two are in complete accord here, investing this magnificent music with color, intensity, and a sense of exhilaration that grabs you by the ears.
All Music Guide - James Leonard
Lang Lang, the Chinese super-virtuoso pianist, can do anything he wants with the piano. The question is: what does he want to do? In this Deutsche Grammophon coupling of Beethoven's "First" and "Fourth" piano concertos with Christoph Eschenbach leading the Orchestre de Paris, Lang plays the right pitches in the right rhythms -- and plays them with complete command and total control -- but everything else in his performances is up for grabs. Sometimes lines are legato; sometimes they're staccato. Sometimes dynamics are pianississimo; sometimes they're fortississimo. Sometimes tempos push forward; sometimes they pull back. Sometimes his right hand is louder than his left; sometimes it's the other way around. Sometimes the sustain pedal is pressed firmly to the floor; sometimes it's like the sustain pedal isn't there at all. The problem is not so much that Lang interprets the music; performers have the right and the obligation to interpret the music they play. The problem is that Lang's interpretations have passed willful and idiosyncratic and gone deep into self-indulgent. Aided and abetted by ace accompanist Christoph Eschenbach and supported and sustained by the accomplished Orchestre de Paris, Lang does whatever he wants with Beethoven's concertos, whether the results are convincing is up to the listener. Christian Leins and Arend Prohmann's recording from the Salle Pleyel in Paris is bright, clear, and deep.
BBC Music Magazine - Tim Parry
These Beethoven concertos are most idiomatic and stylish. There is some delightful playing in both works. Lang Lang is at his best in the slow movements, where his range of colour and articulation illustrates his all-encompassing technical command.
Philadelphia Inquirer - David Patrick Stearns
You could predict that [Lang's] playing of the first concerto would be crisp and jumpy with a first-movement cadenza that rocks. All true. And that's just what this concerto needs.... There's a welcome, wide-eyed awareness of the [Fourth Concerto's] greatness with playing that aspires to a lofty beauty.
Audiophile Audition - Laurence Vittes
These two performances explode with a creative force and musical integrity that frequently, especially in the first movements, threaten to burst into flames.... Lang has come up with virtually a new interpretive solution to each bar.
Daily Telegraph - Richard Wigmore
These Beethoven performances came as an agreeable surprise. No 1's opening allegro has an apt swaggering brilliance, but also moments of real poetry, and both slow movements are poised and subtly coloured, with a vivid sense of theatrical dialogue in No 4.
Raleigh-Durham News & Observer - David Perkins
Lang Lang's sweet touch and easy runs make a pleasure-boat outing of Beethoven's First and Fourth piano concertos. It's a relief to hear Beethoven played with so much strength and joy.

These Beethoven concertos are most idiomatic and stylish. There is some delightful playing in both works. Lang Lang is at his best in the slow movements, where his range of colour and articulation illustrates his all-encompassing technical command.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/8/2007
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • UPC: 028947764274
  • Catalog Number: 000872502
  • Sales rank: 94,811

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15 - Ludwig van Beethoven & Ludwig van Beethoven (39:12)
  2. 2 Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58 - Ludwig van Beethoven & Ludwig van Beethoven (35:16)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Lang Lang Primary Artist, Piano
Christoph Eschenbach Conductor
Orchestre de Paris Ensemble
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