There must be at least 100 more interesting pianists in the concert world than Lang Lang, but perhaps he is just the best publicist around, because nothing else can explain why such a vacuous display as he gave last night at the Royal Festival Hall could bring a standing ovation. Most of the evening felt like being on a plushly cushioned chintz sofa with Tinkerbell, listening to Bach, Schubert and Chopin being served as a cream tea. Lang Lang Inspires is the slogan at the Southbank Centre all this week, but what is inspiring? His art – or just his vast skills as a public communicator, with 40 million Chinese piano students now credited to the Lang Lang effect?
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.