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Lang Lang: Live at Carnegie Hall
Lang Lang Live at Carnegie Hall
Actor: Lang Lang
Director: Benedict Mirow
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2004     2hr 17min

Studio: Uni Dist Corp (music) Release Date: 09/14/2004


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Movie Details

Actor: Lang Lang
Director: Benedict Mirow
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, DTS, Classical
Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/28/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2003
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 2hr 17min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Subtitles: Chinese, French, German, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

A first-rate recording of a first-rate performance
Peter T. Sipos | Riyadh, Saudi Arabia | 10/24/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This is a superb disc! I myself am a pianist and an afficienado of classic music videos. I say to all you others who really enjoy video recordings of piano concerts, do not avoid this disc just based on the earlier reviews. (I shudder to think that I almost avoided it based on those reviews.)

Let's start with the content, which often isn't included on the website advertisement. The first half of the program contains: Schumann Abegg Variations, Haydn Sonata in C Hob XVI:50, Schubert Wanderer Fantasie. The second half features Tan Dun Eight Memories in Watercolor, Chopin Nocturne in D Flat, Franz Liszt Reminiscences de Don Juan (i.e. the Don Juan Fantasy). He plays three encores: Schumann Traumerei, Horses (trad. Chinese), and Liszt Liebestraum #3.

The camera job, in my opinion, is masterful and worthy of the DG reputation for quality. There is a pleasant balance of perspectives, featuring a wide variety of angles, and including a number of really dynamic moving shots. In the best tradition of imaginative video photography, it gives the viewer the sense that he or she, like a ghost, has been given free reign to float or dart about the stage, entirely unnoticed and at liberty to enjoy the pianist's performance from a number of vantage points. Even the most ardent piano lover will still find their eyes moving about the concert hall during a live performance, and it is this freedom of gaze which is replicated here.

And there are more than enough "hand shots"! In fact, more the half the video time is spent on the hands, again from various angles, sometimes showing the hands close-up for delicate work, sometimes hands together during rapid passagework, and sometimes together with the performers entire upper body during moments of extreme virtuosity. All in all, one gets plenty of exposure to the pianists finger and wrist style without losing touch with the performer as a person. That's what really good camera work is all about.

The pianist has a very animated body language. But unlike other artists like Perahia, who seems to be suffering from excruciating pain during his performances, Lang Lang communicates a great joy and vitality in his body language. For those who prefer the stiff posture of Brendel or Kempff, even this may be distracting, but to me it complements the music without drawing my attention away from it.

The playing itself is first rate, with plenty of elegance, wit and passion combined with impressive technique. But anyone who's heard Lang Lang on audio recordings will know this already. The interviews with the artist are informative and enjoyable. As for the earlier suggestions that Lang Lang is an artist with an immature musical sense which may develop with time, that's nonsense. There is nothing here that is either shallow or bizarre. At the same time, the program contains no late Beethoven or the like - rather, it features music of charm and virtuosity, which the pianist is more than equal to.

The quality of the video, the color and the clarity, are perfect. One can choose between Dolby 5.1 and DTS 5.1, thus offering the very best in surround sound audio. On the other hand, I'm currently listening to the DVD on a system with standard two-channel audio, and it sounds excellent - I can't imagine that even DTS could improve upon the sound I'm currently experiencing.

In summary, this is a first-rate recording of a first-rate performance. Don't miss it.

The editing is fine
George Wright | Richmond, CA United States | 01/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I was hesitant to buy this DVD after so many complaints about the editing. Personally I think the camera work is great. There is so much more to watch in a Lang Lang performance than his hands,and you want to see it all in detail. Lang Lang likes to give a physical as well as musical presentation of the emotion he finds in the music. It could be he needs to do this to focus, or perhaps it is pure showmanship. It doesn't matter. At first I raised an eyebrow at his mugging, but quickly became enchanted with his innate charm and sincerity and of course with his enormous talent and skill. Yes the camera is constantly on the move and there are constant cuts from hands to face to long shot etc. But Lang Lang loves the camera, and vice versa; it works."
Incredible technique, aristically good also
Youren Xu | Albuquerque, NM USA | 11/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Despite his grotesque and faked stage mannerisms, Lang Lang's performance are poetic and thoughtful. Such is the case with his Abegg variations as well as his somewhat mannered yet full bodied Chopin Nocturne. As for the Liszt, Lang Lang concerns himself with the episodic details rather than the structural whole (which is fine depending on one's tastes). Other pianists may have better interpretations (Arrau, Richter), but Lang Lang is growing as an individual artist.
By the way, for those who enjoy more refined stage choreography, try Yundi Li's live International Chopin competition DVD. On another side note, a reviewer's assertion that Lang Lang's popularity is the result of the chinese government is totally inaccurate and biased. He or she fails to take into account that AMERICA is the one marketing Lang Lang not CHINA."
A Neophyte Review of Lang Lang: Live at Carnegie Hall
Patricia Haines | Northumberland, PA | 01/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This review will not be as euridite as some you have read who are very knowledgeable about music -- particularly piano. I have just recently returned to piano lessons after an absense of about 30 years, at least. It was my teacher who introduced me to Lang Lang and I was memorized by his performance at Carneigie Hall. Also, the written review in the booklet that came with the DVD gave such an excellent brief on his life from his first lesson at the age of three until recent years is awe inspiring; and you understand that when a child is born with a natural talent, this gift just has to be cultivated -- and that is what has happened with Lang Lang. For those who are just becoming interested in the classics and particularly the skill of the pianist, I can only say you are in for an outstanding experience in watching this DVD. It blew my mind to hear and see him with full orchestra and thrilled to watch the conductor bring it all together. This is a must."