Lang Lang and Pharrell – Happy

Yesterday as almost the entire world was watching including myself, the 57th annual GRAMMY Awards took place Sunday in Los Angeles, CA.

(Photo : Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Besides the actual awarding of the awards and the other mush in-between, what makes the Grammys unique is the collaboration of different musicians from completely different genres and fields. What really caught my attention was the collaborative performance between Pop/R&B Singer Pharrell Williams and Classically Trained Concert Pianist, Lang Lang of Pharrell’s hit song, “Happy.” Just off the back, there are contrasting colors and textures between the music of Pharrell and Lang Lang, but somehow agrees musically in the performance:

Most people at school today when talking about this specific performance had no idea who the guy playing the “crazy piano” with Pharrell was. What’s very interesting though is that many of my colleagues seemed to enjoy this hybrid of classical virtuosic piano of Lang Lang with the loose feel-good mental opulence of Pharrell. Two contradicting styles of music, suddenly make sense.

Today in another post by the website “Music Times,” a reflection on Lang Lang’s performance boasts slight observational ignorance:

Since it is the Grammys, a performance would be incomplete without some star guest performances…pianist Lang Lang added his own flare to the song with a somewhat oddly placed piano solo.

Most musical brain-children who are most familiar with music written in the current time or in the modern age are going say something very similar to the musically biased Music Times. Since all of the music that you hear in the present is a product of the music industry, they then focus all their attention to industry leading professionals. They may be untalented and unskilled, but yet again the focus of this industry is purely on the monetization of music. I can hear Rachmaninoff’s words echo……….

The new kind of music seems to create not from the heart but from the head. Its composers think rather than feel. They have not the capacity to make their works exalt – they meditate, protest, analyze, reason, calculate and brood, but they do not exalt.

For my spiel on this, click here.

If someone cannot understand the complexity of a classical virtuosic pianist without actually experiencing the of passion that it entitles to, they cannot understand music in a passionate way. It’s really that easy blatant. Take this into consideration, if all modern-day composers butchered the reputation of the piano by making simplifications and introducing something not to heavy for the listener to somehow be constituted as the “limit of pianism”, then they are doing something wrong. Yes to the mind of the commoner people will think that Lang Lang’s extravagant playing is odd, but it is merely the full utilization of this very powerful instrument. People need to create from the heart, not from the head!

Again, reflect on Rach’s golden quote. It really means a lot.


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