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Lang Lang channels his student days in 'Piano Book' / KDFC: The State of the Arts

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KDFC: State of the Arts with Jeff Weyr

For Lang Lang‘s newest recording, Piano Book, he revisits pieces that made him want to play the instrument as a child. It's KDFC's Album of the Week, with familiar works by Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Debussy and Schumann. Even if they're associated with lessons, Lang Lang says they shouldn't be discounted as works for beginners only.

"All this repertoire was my favorite pieces, as a boy playing piano," Lang Lang says. "Like Fur Elise, the Spinning Song by Mendelssohn, the Maiden's Prayer, Bach Prelude and Fugue number 1, and Clair de Lune…" It's rare for a concert pianist to revisit these kinds of works, but he had a reason… to provide motivation for others. "I really want to share this music with my students, with the music lovers, and to give them the confidence to play on the piano, relearn the piano, or start taking the instrument, and to feel the power of those great music which inspired me to become a musician." It's easy to discount the pieces that are part of the early steps of so many piano lessons, but there's a reason they endure. "I actually did not play them for a while, because I was focused on other pieces, but then come back to those pieces, I feel this is very different than what I thought as a kid. Those pieces are not only popular, but are actually masterful… It's not just some kind of a beginner's piece that everyone just play without thinking. We can actually do better, artistically." Lang Lang has always been enthusiastic about music education, and the important difference it can make in a young person's life. "The good teacher should open the entire new world for their students, over piano, over music, over art."