Remember the first piece you played as a child? The one you scratched out on your student violin, or picked away at on the keyboard your parents bought you because they weren’t sure you were going to be invested enough for a real piano? The pieces you got frustrated over, or the ones you played so many times your friends made you promise to learn something new? (Für Elise we’re all looking at you.) Around the world, students have made memories and careers on the little pieces that every teacher prescribes, pieces that are, according to one of the most important pianists of our time, classics in their own right. With his new album, Piano Book, acclaimed pianist Lang Lang wants to “take every music lover on a journey through my favourite piano pieces. I hope to inspire as well as motivate every piano student to remain focused during daily practice, and to play and understand these essential pieces for what they really are: true masterpieces!” If you play the piano, if you love the piano, Piano Book will take you somewhere nostalgic, somewhere personal, somewhere intimate. It feels like it’s for you, because Lang Lang made it for all of us.
If you have a little time to walk down memory lane with us, spend three minutes watching the video below. You might need some tissues (we did). You’re watching the Australian premiere of this video; Lang Lang performing a piece you also might have played as a beginner, then when you got pretty good, then when your aunt made you play something at her 60th, then again, perhaps, as a professional. It is Bach’s Prelude in C Major, BWV 846 from The Well-Tempered Clavier.
Lang Lang and Universal Music Australia have kindly given us one limited edition of his new album to give away to a music student. It will come with a score of all the works he plays on the record, annotated by Lang Lang himself. To win, we’d like to know about the piece that made you fall in love with music - classical, jazz, pop, anything - whatever made you stop and listen. Enter by filling out the form below. For an additional entry, share your story on social media, tagging us @rehearsalmagazine and using the hashtag #LangLangPianoBook.
All photos of Lang Lang courtesy of Gregor Hohenberg for Deutsche Grammophon.