Norman Lebrecht on shifting sound worlds
The pianist has posted this picture with dancers of the Houston Ballet. Photo © Jean-Philippe Raibaud
Naughty, naughty Norman! The ladies are not topless!
You’re right, Performing Artist52
Imagine Claudio Arrau, Sviatoslav Richter or Vladimir Ashkenazy doing this.
To this we’ve come.
Horowitz would probably have loved it, and Rubinstein, for opposite reasons.
Pavarotti and Domingo world have done it Too.
And Richter would have wanted to, secretly.
They are, today and tomorrow, doing sold-out nights in Paris, dancing to Chopin (“Lang Lang Dance Project”). Tomorrow’s (Nov. 4) performance will be streamed live at 8pm CET:
Unless it’s the Houston branch of Les Ballets Trocadero de Monte Carlo.
Well, I suppose as long as what they do have on is made by Prada…….
if you get my drift
cold showers for us all methinks! Any chance of you writing something about the incident in the Barbican with Gergiev the other night?
Why criticize him for some extra-musical publicity? He’s so good they named him twice.
Whenever I see all that naked flesh, all I can think of is sweaty.
Whatever our opinion of his musicianship, Lang Lang also does good outreach work. Why don’t we hear about that in this blog?
Wow. I’m not a fan of Lang Lang but come on Norman and all you negative commenters, this is a publicity shot for their upcoming performances. It’s just good PR. What they are wearing is most probably what they wear when they dance. I say good for them!
@Ronald Bergan Maybe twice so he or others wouldn’t forget his name.
Is this the Lang Lang Gangnam Gang Bang?
“To this we have come”, indeed. Imagine the audacity – a concert pianist posed for a picture with a group of ballet dancers who are performing with him, all of them in their stage outfits! Oh horrors! What would they think of next? Crucifying them all is too mild a punishment for this terrible crime against … well, whatever it is against.
I agree with m2n2k. Whatever one thinks about Lang Lang as pianist, and after all it never very bad by any standard, this is a professional picture with him and the professional ballet group he was working with. The picture is not even very tongue-in-cheek, on the contrary. Just having a fun picture taken. And such costumes are common in ballet, aren’t they? But even if he would have made a pic at the Folies Bergeres, so what?
According to many objective listeners, Lang Lang is one of the world’s top pianists. I imagine he is sufficiently rich that he could just play recitals and concerti whenever he felt like it and make sure he was the only one in the spotlight. Well, he puts together a Chopin dance project, using some extremely gifted dancers from the Houston Ballet, choreographed by the company’s artistic director with himself at the piano for a run of four performances in Paris: the photo on this link gives you a better idea of the production. http://culturebox.francetvinfo.fr/le-lang-lang-dance-project-un-evenement-en-direct-ce-soir-sur-culturebox-144677
But, because all his detractors have decided Lang Lang is just an empty showman, we get even emptier derision whatever he does. The troupe is not “topless”: the men are bare-chested and none of the women are topless – and so on and on and on.
I have seen many so-called “piano ballets”, usually with journeymen-pianists (no insult intended) with their heads stuck in the score. Hopefully Lang Lang will achieve what very few ballet conductors can do – Viktor Fedotov for example – and which only great opera conductors do, which is to make the music breathe with the performers. Dancers, like opera singers, never perform at exactly the same pace and intensity throughout each performance of a piece.
The fusion of a top pianist, top dancers and a top choreographer incorporating great music by Chopin recalls the extraordinary efforts of Diaghilev (ironically many of his presentations were in the same Paris theatre as the current Chopin project) to create a new aesthetic for dance by commissioning new work from librettists, designers, composers and choreographers.
Why is Lang Lang being mocked for this creativity?
because he is the start of something huge that has been building and building within an industry and art form for hundreds and hundreds of years… people are freaking out…it’s exciting.
Anything featuring Lang Lang automatically diminishes its artistic merits.
Musical standards would have to be drummed down several notches before LL could ever be considered a great pianist or musician…
Shall I post something totally off topic here to show my desinterest in Lang Lang and also because I find it amusing?
I just spoke to one of my friends on the way home from work about how much better (and much more expensive) Chinese restaurants are in Switzerland, than here in the UK. He then mentioned, there would actually be a pretty good one down the road, but he’d not have been there for a long, long time. Which in Swiss German reads “bi cho lang lang nümmä dött gsi”. I then just repied with “ah scho LANG LANG nümä”. We had a laugh about this multi-cultural coincidence.
Author, novelist, broadcaster, cultural commentator.
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