Pianist Lang Lang Showcases French Repertoire and Female Composers in His Latest Album

Published March 11, 2024

Legendary pianist Lang Lang has taken a deep dive into French musical treasures, producing an album that not only showcases classic compositions but also places a spotlight on five female French composers whose works have been underrepresented. This endeavor has inspired unexpected connections, including insights from the discipline of Taekwondo, introduced to Lang by conductor Andris Nelsons.

Realization of a French-Inspired Vision

The journey began when Lang Lang was captivated by Saint-Saens' Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22, a piece he believes deserves more recognition. This encounter propelled him to finally bring his French concept to fruition. The album, presented by Deutsche Grammophon on March 5, pairs the concerto with 'The Carnival of the Animals,' where Lang performs alongside the Gewandhausorchester, under the baton of Nelsons, and his wife Gina Alice sharing the piano duties.

A Melange of Mastery and Innovation

Lang values the concerto and 'The Carnival of the Animals' for their blend of virtuosity and impressionistic elements. He has encountered a tendency among orchestras to undervalue these pieces, but expresses gratitude for the professionalism of the Gewandhausorchester and conductor Nelsons. Beyond their musical collaboration, Lang finds a parallel between Nelsons' skill in Taekwondo and conducting, appreciating the martial art's focus on concentration and control.

A New Chapter in Collaborations

With the release of this album, Lang Lang embarks on a promising series of partnerships with new-generation conductors like Nelsons. The album also includes pieces by Ravel, Debussy, and Faure, and introduces listeners to compositions by Lili Boulanger, Charlotte Sohy, Louise Farrenc, Germaine Tailleferr, and Melanie Bonis. Lang hopes to illuminate these composers for the current century, recognizing their significant but often ignored contributions to the music canon.

French Composers Through an Asian Lens

Despite the rarity of some selections, Lang believes that the French pieces may resonate with Asian audiences due to their artistic and cinematic qualities, which he finds similar to oriental music. Lang will continue to share his love for French music in a recital scheduled in Korea on November 30.

French, music, album