Animation fan Lang Lang realizes his childhood dream and interprets Disney classics on the piano

In 1995, 13-year-old Lang Lang participated in the 2nd Tchaikovsky International Young Musicians Competition in Sendai, Japan, and won the gold medal. After that, he embarked on a career as a pianist.

Lang Lang remembered that the reward after winning the grand prize was to go to Tokyo Disneyland. There, he heard Disney’s theme song “Small World” for the first time, “that melody stayed with me all day, and for a long time afterwards.”

On September 16, “Lang Lang’s Disney” released by Deutsche Grammophon in cooperation with Disney Music Group was launched on major music platforms around the world, and physical CDs were also sold simultaneously on JD.com. For 40-year-old Lang Lang, this new album is not only a look back on his childhood, but also a musical gift to his children and the younger generation after he became a father.

“I am an uncompromising animation fan, and I have loved watching cartoons since I was a child.” In an interview at the headquarters of Universal Music Group in Santa Monica, California, Lang Lang said that it is the classical music in cartoons. , take him to know and walk into a magical world of music.

He once wrote in his autobiography that he liked to watch “Tom and Jerry” when he was less than two years old. The imagination of cartoons and many world famous songs almost became his classical music enlightenment. After learning the piano, he learned that one of the pieces in the “Cat Concerto” was Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2”.

Lang Lang has always wanted to use the piano to re-enact his favorite cartoons. For an internationally acclaimed pianist, playing animated music may sound like a bit of a pediatrician. But the album “Lang Lang’s Disney” took three and a half years from the preparation, arrangement, recording to final completion.

“Ten tracks are often recorded, overturned, and then recorded five more, one by one.” Lang Lang said that the album planning started as early as the end of 2019, and the adaptation was quite difficult, and the team spent three and a half years. Time, his recording footprints also from Shanghai, New York, London, Paris to Los Angeles.

Across Disney Animation History

In the first half of this year, Lang Lang visited the Disney Archives, only to find out that the song “Little World” he heard when he was 13 years old, its background is to call for world peace and for human beings to live in harmony. This coincides with his idea of ​​recording “Lang Lang’s Disney”. Among the “Lang Lang’s Disney” albums already online, “Little World” has been well received by music fans as the opening work.

After “Little World”, there are 26 carefully selected Disney classic melodies, not only spanning more than 80 years of Disney animation history, but also including “Frozen” theme song “Let It Be”, “Aladdin” theme song “Aladdin” New World” and other highly sung theme songs.

 

It is not difficult to choose the classics, but it is difficult to change all the theme songs into new works suitable for piano performance.

“The highlight of Disney’s music is that it is like magic, very dreamy. This requires the melody and instruments, harmony, and rhythm of the soundtrack. The feeling of fantasy and magic must be written out.” Lang Lang said: “It can’t be changed. It can easily become background music, and become the ‘elevator music’ in the elevator, which I am particularly afraid of.”

He enlisted the help of several influential composers. Including world-class arrangers Sir Stephen Hough, Natalie Tenenbaum, Randy Kerber. While maintaining the melody, they took a more imaginative approach to the arrangement, bringing new colors to the music.

“The biggest problem is that during the recording, it is easy to find the similarities between the tracks, and I have to re-arrange the music. Sometimes I don’t know how to write it.” Lang Lang also tried to arrange his own music this time. The result is quite satisfactory. “I probably wrote the taste of Liszt and Chopin. It’s not in vain.”

Lang Lang also invited many musicians to collaborate. Andrea Bocelli sang the theme song of “Tarzan”, singer-songwriter Jonathan Baptiste once again performed the Oscar-winning song “It’s Okay”, Colombian singer-songwriter Sebastian Yatra performs the Oscar-nominated song “Two Caterpillars” from “Full House.” In addition, classical guitar player Milosh Karadagli, Chinese erhu player Kogan, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra also participated in the recording of the album.

“Even if I work with Bocelli, the piano can’t hide behind, but must stand out. Whether the melody of the piano is colorful or sad, it must be pushed to the front.” Lang Lang said that the arrangement of the entire album has both The Debussy-style impressionist music atmosphere also has the style of jazz and Latin American music. “The Lion King” has been adapted with the feeling of Chopin, and some dazzling songs have traces of Liszt and Rachmaninoff.

Classics changed by the epidemic

The impact of the epidemic on the global classical music industry is still ongoing.

Lang Lang said frankly that in recent years, due to the impact of the epidemic, the way people listen to music has changed. “This year’s Lucerne Music Festival is strongly encouraging audiences to return to the concert hall.” In countries with traditional music, music fans will buy records, but now, many people are accustomed to listening to digital music.

In the face of changes, classical music is actively embracing the Internet and developing its vitality. At the beginning of this year, the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra of the United States cooperated with the classical music streaming platform IDAGIO to launch the second season of online concerts. Prior to this, many famous troupes including the Vienna Philharmonic started to give online concerts. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Conductor Zubin Mehta was involved.

The Internetization of classical music has also brought many positive changes. According to a national survey in the UK, more than 6 million British adults plan to “try to experience classical music” in 2022, of which more than 1.5 million are between the ages of 18 and 35.

Lang Lang watched the online concert by singer Li Jian on the video account in early September, and was quite moved. “Maybe I will also come to an online concert in the future. But the best classical music is still live.”

Lang Lang has always been a classical music player who embraces technology and is close to the public. Whether on social networks, variety shows or master classes, he regards popularizing classical music as his responsibility, “My dream has always been to go to Horowitz. , Bernstein, Pavarotti and other professional music paths, rather than hiding yourself in the environment where you practice the piano. Enjoying music by yourself is as important as sharing it with everyone.” The reason why he made a Disney’s album is to use music to have a closer connection with listeners of different ages.

“Animation has stimulated my imagination, transported me to another world, and contributed to my lifelong love of classical music. Disney’s music is diverse and everyone can be inspired.” Lang Lang hopes that this animated album It can be like a bridge, allowing people of different ages to re-experience the happy mood of watching Disney movies in childhood.

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