NEW YORK, Sept. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The music of Chopin – universally loved for its beauty and communicative power – has long been a dynamic force in Lang Lang's life, propelling him through a number of career-defining experiences. Now, in his 30th-birthday year, Lang Lang records his first album entirely devoted to the great composer's solo piano masterpieces.
The Chopin Album – Lang Lang's third album for Sony Classical – includes the second set of Chopin's Etudes (op. 25), the Andante spianato & Grande Polonaise and a selection of shorter works that he has long enjoyed performing, including three Nocturnes and the Waltz op. 64 no. 1, popularly known as the "Minute" Waltz.
Chopin "speaks with such a universal voice," Lang Lang says. "I genuinely believe he's a true ambassador for classical music among the great composers. He appeals to everyone."
Chopin has accompanied Lang Lang throughout his career. One of the first pieces he learnt was the Grande Valse brillante in E-flat major op. 18 (included on this album), and it was Chopin's music that also carried him through a number of career-changing competitions, including Ettlingen (Germany) in 1994 and the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians in Sendai (Japan) in 1995, when he took First Prize performing Chopin's Second Piano Concerto. And it was with the Chopin Études that Lang Lang made his now-renowned Beijing Concert Hall recital at age 14 – a performance that led to his studying with Gary Graffman at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia.
"The reason that Chopin's Etudes hold such a special place for pianists", says Lang Lang, "is that they provide the training for so many different elements of technique. But they're not just studies, not just normal exercises – not just for your fingers – they help you develop how your mind works, and how you control the different layers of your emotional response."
Included with the Deluxe Limited Edition is a bonus DVD on which Lang Lang talks about the various musical milestones in his life and explains how Chopin has been a close companion. The video contains archive footage of Lang Lang playing Chopin, with excerpts from his early concerts and competitions – the 1994 Ettlingen competition, the 1995 Beijing concert and Tchaikovsky Competition in Sendai, and part of a 1996 concert of the Etudes in Beijing. It also includes complete performances of the Grande Valse brillante in A-flat major op. 34 no. 1 (recorded live in Vienna), the "Heroic" Polonaise in A-flat major op. 53 (recorded at Berlin's Berghain Club), and the "Black Keys" Etude in G-flat major op. 10 no. 5 (recorded at London's Roundhouse during the 2011 iTunes Festival).
The CD also includes the bonus track "Tristesse" featuring a beautiful duet between Lang Lang and Danish singer-songwriter Oh Land.
The album will also be released in limited edition vinyl and digital formats.
On Tuesday, October 30th, at 6:30pm Lang Lang will give a special one-night only concert, hosted by Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award-winning entertainer Alec Baldwin, at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium to raise funds for the Lang Lang International Music Foundation. Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell and Grammy and Tony Award-winning jazz artist Dee Dee Bridgewater and Danish singer-songwriter Oh Land will make special guest appearances along with other surprise star performances to be announced. For more information on the foundation please visit www.langlangfoundation.com.
For more information on Lang Lang, please visit www.langlang.com
12 Etudes op. 25
Nocturne in E-flat major op. 55 no. 2
Nocturne in F major op. 15 no. 1
Grande Valse brillante in E-flat major op.
Andante spianato & Grande Polonaise op. 22
Nocturne in C-sharp minor op. posth. (KK IVa/16)
Waltz in D-flat major op. 64 no. 1 "Minute"
Tristesse featuring Oh Land (Bonus Track)
SOURCE Sony Classical