The next time the fantastic Harriman Jewell Series brings Lang Lang (pronounced lahng lahng) to town, you should buy tickets as soon as possible because they will probably sell out and if you want to sit up close and personal with the performer, you'll need to act fast. However, if you are too slow or too thrifty to get those primo spots, don't worry - Lang Lang has enough noticeable personality for everyone from the front row to the back.
I was in the third from the last row last night and even from there this pianist's flair was clear. Before he sat down at the instrument, he waved a slow hello to the applauding audience and I could see, from all the way up top, his perfect specimen hands, equipped with broad palms, his fingers spread open and spaced inordinately wide. He is, perhaps, a different species of human, especially outfitted with hands and skill that are adapted specifically for the musical environment. But then - his talent is far more than just physical capability.
His skill is as wide spread as his fingers - when he plays, he is the butterfly alighting on a blossom and the heavy, ripe, plump fruits kerplunking onto the ground - he is the tinkling brook off to the side and the raging storms up above - he is the feather duster and the boulder. Whatever he asks of the instrument, it supplies.
Both Lang Lang and the piano seemed so small from way up in the nose bleed section. But as the evening continued - past both of the Beethovens, through the Albéniz, and into the Prokofiev the grand piano receded while Lang Lang grew large, a force to be reckoned with. Even from the back of Folly Theater.