Multi-million selling artist Lang Lang is set to release a new solo album in March 2019. Piano Book will be his first studio album in three years and sees him return to Universal Music Group and Deutsche Grammophon, the label he first signed to in 2003.
Piano Book will feature a collection of pieces from the ‘personal playlist’ that inspired him to become a musician, including Debussy’s Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum, Schubert’s Allegro moderato and Badarzewska-Baranowska’s The Maiden’s Prayer – all described as ‘miniatures that generations of amateur pianists have grown up with’.
Said Lang Lang: “I want 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 focussed during daily practice, and to play and understand these essential pieces for what they really are: true masterpieces!”
And while the album includes great works such as Beethoven’s Für Elise, Debussy’s Clair de lune and Bach’s Prelude in C Major from The Well-Tempered Clavier, other tracks come from TV and movies like Yann Tiersen’s La valse d’Amélie, Max Richter’s The Departure and Ryuichi Sakamoto’s music for Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence, alongside specific cultural favourites like Sweden’s Limu, limu, lima and popular Chinese folk song Jasmine Flower.
Added Lang Lang: “The folk songs from around the world that I encountered on my travels are another reason why this album is of such personal importance. Folk tunes are essential for everyone’s cultural identity. Listening to them I started to hear classical music with new ears, realising how profoundly folk songs and dances had influenced so many classical composers. I got to know wonderful music through my trips to many different countries and wanted to present some of this music on my album.”
After his early success with Deutsche Grammophon, Lang Lang made nine recordings with Sony Classical, most recently Howard Shore: Two Concerti (2017) with cellist Sophie Shao, Shore is famed for award-winning film scores for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. (Ruin & Memory on the Two Concerti album was composed especially for Lang Lang). New York Rhapsody (2016) saw Lang Lang take on popular works by the likes of Gershwin, Bernstein placed alongside big hits such as Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind.
His partnership with independent British music publisher Faber Music has resulted in the Lang Lang Piano Academy series of piano books, while his work with the Lang Lang International Music Foundation has encouraged 40 million budding pianists to take up the instrument.
Piano Songs will be released in multiple formats, among them a Limited Score Edition – a box containing the deluxe double album and full piano scores, including Für Elise, annotated by Lang Lang himself. A special edition of The Lang Lang Piano Book will be available as a high-end hardback edition for piano, published by Faber Music.