All-Star Trio Collaborate on Pianist’s First Chamber Music Recording Released on October 20th on Deutsche Grammophon
NEW YORK, NY – On October 20th, Deutsche Grammophon will release a recording which reveals a side of pianist Lang Lang’s prodigious talent rarely heard before—his finesse as a collegial interpreter of chamber music. In this, his first chamber music recording, Lang Lang revisits two stellar exponents of Russia’s Romantic musical soul, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov. Making the news of Lang Lang‘s first ever chamber music recording bigger is the fact that he is joined by two giants of the violin and cello: Vadim Repin and Mischa Maisky. Lang Lang could not be in better company to reveal the inexhaustible inventiveness of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio No. 50 in A minor or the tender consolations of Rachmaninov’s Trio élégiaque in G-minor, a short early masterpiece composed before Rachmaninov was twenty.
People have often bracketed Tchaikovsky’s great A minor Trio together with Rachmaninov’s first Trio élégiaque, and in Lang Lang’s view this is appropriate. Rachmaninov’s teenage work reflects a huge influence by the older composer, he says, and the trios inhabit the same emotional world: “Both works are tragic, but what really makes you cry is their beauty.” Lang Lang, Mischa Maisky and Vadim Repin first performed these works together at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland on July 21st of this year. “We are trying to live through them together,” says Repin. “This is our essential preparation for the recording.”
This concert may have been their first joint foray, but the chemistry is already good. It needs to be, since their personalities are big, their backgrounds are diverse, and – with Maisky at 61, Repin at 38, and Lang Lang at 27 – they effectively represent three generations. The ebullient Maisky, born in Riga, has had a highly unconventional career: his inbuilt rebelliousness led to his being put in jail by the Soviet authorities, then in a work camp, then in a mental hospital, before what he calls his “repatriation” in 1972 to Israel, from where his career as a soloist and chamber player took off. Repin, whose playing is now routinely compared with that of his hero David Oistrakh, only gravitated to the violin because when he was five and wanted to attend the music school in his hometown of Novosibirsk, the one available place was for that instrument. Lang Lang’s well-documented rise from obscure provincial origins in China has catapulted him into non-stop global orbit: he brings not only a different generational approach to this music, but a profoundly different cultural perspective as well. “Lang Lang’s youthfulness makes his playing shine, as though it’s full of light,” says Repin. “Mischa and I are trying to harness that quality.”
In the past ten years, Lang Lang has become an international phenomenon, playing sold out recitals and concerts in cities around the world. His influence and status in China has helped to inspire over 35 million Chinese children to learn to play piano—a phenomenon dubbed by NBC’s The Today Show as "the Lang Lang effect." Earlier this year, Time magazine included Lang Lang in its 2009 list of the "100 Most Influential People in the World."
On October 27th, just a week after the release of this recording, Lang Lang will perform the Tchaikovsky Trio at Carnegie Hall with emerging and established Chinese and Chinese-American musicians in a program entitled “Lang Lang and Friends.” This concert is one of three in which Lang Lang will star during Carnegie’s expansive Ancient Paths, Modern Voices: A Festival Celebrating Chinese Culture presented together with the Philharmonic Society of Orange County in Costa Mesa, California. “Lang Lang and Friends” will also be presented there on November 3rd. These engagements are part of a busy performing schedule for Lang Lang in the US this fall which also includes appearances in Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles and Washington DC before the end of November.