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EXCLUSIVE: Lang Lang Debuts 'In Paris' Chopin-Tchaikovksy LP, Talks Hall of Mirrors and More

By Ian Holubiak i.holubiak@classicalite.com on Nov 30, 2015 03:47 PM EST

The classical crossover smash, Lang Lang, has released his most recent disc to date, Lang Lang in Paris. The LP is heavily rooted in the pianist's affinity for Chopin and Tchaikovsky. In the package is an exclusive performance from Lang Lang in the Hall of Mirrors at the Chateau de Versailles in Paris, also--where he feels the music is most authentic and where he felt the pieces were presented most accurately.

Lang Lang has become a global sensation. If you aren't familiar with him, he collaborated with Metallica at the 2014 Grammy awards and performed at the United Nations' 69th birthday in the General Assembly here in New York. But his latest project reflects a more delicate side to the musician, one central to Romanticism, which is omnipresent in Paris.

Those pieces that he was most partial to sharing, Mr. Lang Lang felt they were amplified by the unique resonance only found in the Chateau de Versailles. And so a video of that special performance was included with the disc.

Dubbed as the world's foremost classical pianist, Lang Lang is perhaps also one of the world's foremost interpreters of Chopin. To wit, his 2012 Chopin Album is his best-selling Sony LP to date. Tchaikovsky, too, shares a special history with the performer.

Having premiered his Making of... preview for Lang Lang in Paris, Classicalite was able to get some words from L.L. about the disc, his Hall of Mirrors performance and how he feels for Chopin and Tchaikovsky in Paris.

Classicalite: As you've stated in your video, Paris has a strong connection to Chopin and, undoubtedly, romanticism as a whole. In what way does Versailles have a connection to Tchaikovsky? What was the pre-requisite for making the decision to perform both composers in the chateau?

Lang Lang: Tchaikovsky's Seasons fits the chateau quite well, especially with the reflection of the season changes in the garden. Versailles is a place for romantics, which is why I chose Chopin and Tchaikovsky's Season suites, the two most romantic works.

C: Absolutely. The Hall of Mirrors is a unique venue. Was there a sonic quality to the room that enhanced the performance, in your opinion?

LL: The sound that I found in the Hall of Mirrors was very bright and had a metallic color. It's very different from a regular concert venue or a studio.

C: Do you feel that the experience and splendor of the performance has translated well onto disc?

LL: The sound has translated well to disc, including the tension of the sound and the artistic temperament. When you listen you can see the painting on the wall, the chandelier in line, the reflection on the mirror and the gold sculptures. It is, indeed, a sound that is quite different from recordings elsewhere.

C: How do you feel the repertoire changed between the Opéra Bastille and the Hall of Mirrors?

LL: The Opera Bastille was the studio recording for the album, I stayed there for 4-5 days for during the recording process, which was very precise. The recording in the Hall of Mirrors was live, so it only took one day to record. The two experiences were quite different and show a difference in the beauty of music. One shows more precision and details while the other shows the flow of music.

C: You have recorded a substantial amount of Chopin throughout your career. Did Paris illuminate a different quality in the composer for you? What I mean is, did the city truly cater to the Lang Lang in Paris recording as well as the Versailles recital?

LL: I have recorded a lot of Chopin music before in studios both in Vienna and Berlin. This is my first time in Paris though and I could clearly feel the presence of Chopin, especially in the studio of Van Dom. I felt totally immersed in the romance of the music.

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TagsLang Lang, Lang Lang in Paris, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, EXCLUSIVE, Classicalite Q&A