Liebesträume (German for Dreams of Love, singular Liebestraum), is a set of three solo piano works (S/G541) by Franz Liszt, published in 1850. Often, the term Liebestraum refers specifically to No. 3, the most famous of the three. Originally the three Liebesträume (notturni) were conceived as songs after poems by Ludwig Uhland and Ferdinand Freiligrath. In 1850 two versions appeared simultaneously as a set of songs for high voice and piano, and as transcriptions for piano two-hands.
The two poems by Uhland and the one by Freiligrath depict three different forms of Love. Uhland's Hohe Liebe (Exalted Love) is saintly, or religious, love: the "martyr" renounces worldly love and "heaven has opened its gates". The second song evokes erotic love: "Gestorben war ich". "Dead" is a metaphor here; Uhland refers to what is known as "la petite mort" in French ("I was dead from love’s bliss; I lay buried in her arms; I was wakened by her kisses; I saw heaven in her eyes"). Freiligrath's poem for the famous third "notturno" is about unconditional mature love: "Love as long as you can! The hour will come when you will stand at the grave and mourn" ("O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst"). (Wikipedia)
This review is from: Lang Lang: Live at Carnegie Hall (DVD)
One has to watch this DVD to find out exactly why Lang Lang's reception as a concert pianist has caused such a wide gap between critics and audience.
I could not imagine, not even now that am quite well-acquainted with his performance style, that he could bring such genuine vitality to pianoforte performance, and at the same time, so devastatingly but convincingly distort the music that he is playing.
Purists will undoubtedly `spam' his totally unorthodox performance upon viewing this DVD. Some may even say his style borders on vulgarity: look at his expression in the approach to the finale of the last movement of Haydn's Sonata.
However, the video also tells quite a lot about the artist himself, if one could sift through the jumbling notes and flashy virtuoso, and take a honest look at the various `expressions'.
Lang Lang was about 21 or 22 when this was being shot. He has not changed (or improved) his performance style much since. As one of his very early teachers Prof. ZHU Ya-fun so aptly pointed out, Lang Lang was the `monkey king' among her young students: he could barely sit still, and if so, only at the pianoforte. Alas, Lang Lang has not managed to `out grow' this trait.
Most child prodigies suffer from slow developments when grown up. Lang Lang does not appear to be the exception.
So is the music really so `bad' as most critics pointed out without hesitation, or is the performance so `dazzling' as most amateur viewers claim?
The truth lies somewhere in the middle. Granted that Lang Lang possesses all the requisite technique and prowess, there is reason to demand from him a more `decent' or mature performance. This, however, would be to deny Lang's true nature. I for one am most appreciative of Lang Lang's intellectual honesty - he never feigns the style of other renowned performers like Horowitz, but INVARIABLY plays as himself. What the critics object so vehemently - that everything he plays is `Lang Lang', and not Schubert, or Beethoven, or Chopin - only holds water if the performance is a genuine expression of the performer himself/herself and not feigned, as most other non-Western performers do at the early stages of their performing careers. And to the `accusation' of being non-Western, this is a true statement as regards Lang Lang, since he grew up with Chinese traditional music, his father being a Chinese musician performing a traditional Chinese instrument showed in this DVD.
The recommendation for this DVD lies in the superlative keyboard technique and genuine musical communication by the young pianist. For truly great interpretation of these pieces, look for the old wine instead of the new.
This review is from: Lang Lang Live in Vienna (DVD)
Watching Lang Lang tackle Beethoven's Appassionata Sonata is like watching little David felling Goliath. Lang Lang's technique is eye-popping and his interpretation is from a youth with much feeling and strength. This is true of his whole program which includes the Beethoven C Major Sonata Op.2, No.3, Albeniz's Iberia Book 1, Prokofiev's Sonata No. 7, and three Chopin encores: the Aolian Harp Etude, the Heroic Polonaise, and the Grande Valse Brilliante. The picture and sound are excellent. You can't go wrong buying this DVD. It is much more valuable than the surprising low price for which it is selling.