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The Banquet (Music from the Original Soundtrack)

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Album Review

One doesn't usually think of the soundtrack music for a video game being performed by a classical pianist, but then there aren't that many classical pianists under 30 who like to turn up on their album covers in leather jackets, as Lang Lang does for Gran Turismo 5. Notwithstanding that image, however, the soundtrack consists entirely of his piano performances of some very familiar classical pieces, done in traditional style. Things start slowly with Liszt's Liebestraum No. 1 "Hohe Liebe," but the music becomes gradually livelier, notably in the playful version of The Nutcracker No. 14 Pas de Deux "Var. 2 Danse de la Fée Dragée" by Tchaikovsky and the appropriately martial Polonaise Op. 40 No. 1 "Military Polonaise" of Chopin. Lang missteps with his version of Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer," playing stiffly and formally when the ragtime requires swing and swagger. But his version of III. Precipitato from Piano Sonata No. 7 in B-flat Major, Op. 83 by Prokofiev is confident in presenting its complex, atonal passages in speedy fashion. It's hard to say how all this works as accompaniment to the game, but the classical playing is accomplished.


Born: 14 June 1982 in Shenyang, China

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Chinese pianist Lang Lang was born on June 14, 1982, in Shenyang, China. Labeled "the world's most successful pianist" by German newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag, Lang Lang's fame has by far eclipsed that of most classical performers. Hearing Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in a Tom & Jerry cartoon inspired him to learn the piano at the tender age of two; at the age of five, he already gave his first public performance and won the Shenyang Piano Competition. He entered the Peking Conservatory...
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