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Lang Lang: Nigel Hess Piano Concerto CD

4.7 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

Price: £6.90 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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  • Lang Lang: Nigel Hess Piano Concerto
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Product details

  • Performer: Lang Lang
  • Conductor: Christopher Warren-Green
  • Composer: Nigel Hess
  • Audio CD (4 Aug. 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: UCJ
  • ASIN: B001C555R0
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,673 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Well, the music critics won't like this one, but if you already know Nigel Hess's music (Ladies in Lavender, Food of Love and all his extensive television work) then you'll know what to expect - great tunes, beautifully orchestrated - and, in this instance, superbly played by global piano virtuoso Lang Lang. This is heart-on-sleeve stuff, and none the worse for that. The slow movement is derivative (Rachmaninov meets the Warsaw Concerto) but this is writing that is immediately accessible, and will appeal to a huge audience. A real treat.
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Format: Audio CD
Nigel Hess's piano concerto was commissioned in memory of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: hence the somewhat portentous titles for each of the movements. It is a shame that it occupies a CD all on its own (at under 23 minutes) and it would make an excellent coupling with Howard Blake's, the latter piece having been dedicated to Princess Diana.

Hess is primarily a film music composer, and clearly needed the `hook' of a extra-musical concept in order to get his creative juices flowing, however he wouldn't be alone amongst composers in this. Certainly the concerto itself shows no signs of being any kind of detailed narrative.

If you're expecting a deep and intellectual work, then this isn't for you, but if you value melodic interest and an effective ear for orchestration (i.e. good tunes and a full orchestra) then this concerto is very much for you. Yes, it's derivative in places, but at the same time it holds the attention and isn't afraid of direct communication.

Lang Lang isn't exactly a shrinking violet, and he plays with conviction. The London Chamber Orchestra conducted by Christopher Warren-Green similarly play with passion.

On a less positive note, this is very poorly packaged: It takes more than the soloist to play a concerto- a pity the orchestra and conductor were hidden amongst the small print!!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This CD is a delight. If you enjoy romantic piano concertos, like those of Grieg, Schumann, Rachmaninoff and Saint-Saens, for example, you will love this music. Lang Lang is a sensitive and accomplished pianist and you cannot fail to love this work and the performance. Nigel Hess is better known for providing incidental music to TV series but he acquits himself admirably here. The slow second movement of the concerto is entrancing. The only reason I have knocked off the fifth star is that the concerto is the only work on the disc and with a total running time of only 24 min, it's just as well that this CD is sold at a budget price.
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Format: Audio CD
I first heard this piece late one evening on the radio and was captivated by the gentle recurring theme which was played throughout.The three movements , The Smile , The Love and The Duty are brilliantly played by Lang Lang and the compositions by Nigel Hess outstanding.The music is an absolute delight to listen too at any time though I found it was just the perfect music to unwind too as a nightcap .I enjoyed it for its restful and soothing sound,most wonderful and endearing and with an air of calmness and serenity .I would highly recommend it.
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Format: Audio CD
Very romantic, tuneful.
Especially the second movement is sublime.
Yes it would have been nice to have something else on the cd as it is short. However still music is brilliant.
Well done Nigel.(and Lang)
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I tend to have a bit of a problem with "star" performers in classical music particularly when they are given more prominence than the music they are performing and interpose their personality between me and the composer. For that reason I have managed to remain immune to the cult of Lang Lang and I still think he is over-rated. From a superficial look at the CD liner you'd be forgiven for thinking he had performed this concerto without the assistance of an orchestra and conductor which just about says it all. Having said that I swallowed my aversion to Mr Lang and bought the CD as a present for my wife who fell in love with the concerto when we heard it on the car radio. It is a beautiful piece, the best description I can think of is Addinsell's Warsaw Concerto meets Chopin's First Piano Concerto with a bit of help from Bernard Herrmann. The melodies are gorgeous and to give Lang Lang his due he plays magnificently with the very able support of the near-anonymous London Chamber Orchestra under Christopher Warren-Green. Lang Lang's many fans will probably already have this recording but even if you feel the same way about him as me the music itself is good enough and attractive enough to buy the CD anyway. Just be careful how much you pay for only 24 minutes of music.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm not a classical buff at all, so look upon this review as a layman's comment.
I heard track 2 "The Love" on Classic FM as I was flicking through the channels and enjoyed it so much I went straight online and bought it. I learnt that the music was composed to celebrate the Queen Mum's life.
Tracks 1 and 3 are starting to grow on me but they don't have the melodic impact of track 2.
The piano part at the beginning of Track 1 "The Smile" seems to me to be to be overblown, almost as though Lang Lang was saying "Hey look at me! See how fast I can play the piano!" (I'm sure he wasn't, however). I can see the composer's attempt to catch the twinkling in the Queen Mum's eyes, but it leaves me cold. As the track progresses this element is pushed back in the mix and redemption is acheived.
Track 3; "The Duty", also seems to me to be trying to be too clever, with an unusual bass syncopation, although again as the track progresses the odd bass line recedes and a rather nice martial tune is revealed.
All in all a great listen, but track 2 always steals the show.
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