Lang Lang returns

“Everyone needs Lang Lang to come back and do what he does in such a unique fashion,” Mark Volpe, managing director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, tells The New York Times’ Michael Cooper. “I don’t just mean playing the piano; I mean the bigger picture. There are other great pianists, but he has a personality, he’s got a presence.”

So everyone – or, at least, everyone vested in selling concert tickets and preserving star power in classical music – has been waiting anxiously for the 36-year-old Chinese pianist’s return to the stage after more than a year’s absence because of an inflammation of his left arm.

Among the anxious parties, the Richmond Symphony, which has engaged him for its 2018-19 opening-night gala on Sept. 21. (A second booking after he was forced to cancel the orchestra’s opening concert this past season.)

This weekend Lang Lang made his post-recovery return with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood, the summer music festival in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. He played Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491, the same work he is scheduled to play in Richmond this fall.

The first reviews of the July 6 Tanglewood concert are in, and it appears that the pianist’s trademark visual flamboyance hasn’t diminished, but doesn’t drive the most profound of Mozart’s concertos off course.

David Noel Edwards reviews the concert for The Berkshire Edge:

http://theberkshireedge.com/music-review-lang-lang-opens-tanglewood-season-with-passionate-performance-of-mozart-piano-concerto-a-la-leonard-bernstein/

Priscilla McLean’s review for the Albany Times-Union:

http://www.timesunion.com/7day-arts/article/Review-BSO-opens-Tanglewood-season-with-a-stunner-13056616.php

UPDATE (July 9): More reviews have come in.

Jeremy Eichler’s review for The Boston Globe (scroll down for coverage of the July 6 program):

http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/music/2018/07/08/tanglewood-opens-with-bernstein-exuberance-lang-lang-return/O2KHpSiplk8y2bsGG9QzCK/story.html

And Joshua Barone, writing for The New York Times:

In addition to the Tanglewood and Richmond performances, Lang Lang is scheduled to play the Mozart concerto on Aug. 17 and 19 at the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland, on Sept. 13 with the Vienna Philharmonic at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, on Sept. 26 with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, on Sept. 29 with the Cleveland Orchestra, and on Oct. 4 with the San Diego Symphony.

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