The world-renowned pianist Lang Lang has announced that he will be releasing a recording of the Goldberg Variations on September 4th of this year. Lang Lang describes the opportunity to finally release his interpretation of this infamous collection of pieces by Bach as, “a lifelong dream.”
Set for release on the label, “Deutsche Grammophon,” the album will contain two performances: the first recorded in concert at Leipzig’s Thomaskirche, where Bach worked and where he is buried; the second a studio recording, made shortly following the concert.
‘I’m now 38 and, while that’s not old, I think the time was right for a new stage in my artistic development,’ says Lang Lang. ‘I’ve moved into new terrain with the Goldberg Variations and really immersed myself fully in this project. My goal as an artist is to keep becoming more self-aware and more knowledgeable, as well as to keep offering inspiration to others. It’s an ongoing process, but this project has taken me a little further along the path.’
Lang Lang is a Chinese concert pianist who has performed with leading orchestras in China, the United States, Europe, and elsewhere. Active since the 1990s, he was the first Chinese pianist to be engaged by the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic and some top American orchestras. When people think of solo pianists, many will invariably first think of Lng Lang or Glenn Gould, who famously did his own version of the Goldberg Variations (once in 1955 and again in 1981) which quickly became the most widely beloved renditions of Bach’s recorded arias and fugues. Lang Lang will undoubtedly seek to separate his style from Gould’s iconic recordings but in terms of how he does that, leaves many of us extremely curious as to how he’s accomplished the task of making the variations his own.
‘Playing in the Thomaskirche, where Bach is buried, was unbelievably emotional for me,’ the pianist added. ‘I’ve never felt as close to a composer as I did during that recital. The live version is very spontaneous, whereas in the studio version my playing is different – very considered and reflective. In a concert situation you experience the 100-minute work as a whole. In the studio you can focus on individual details and nuances, and of course that can affect the musical experience quite substantially.’