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Where the magic began

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2022-09-21 07:57

Pianist Lang Lang performs in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, a centerpiece of the Disneyland Park in California, on April 2.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Lang Lang has often said that he was inspired to learn to play the piano after watching an episode of Tom and Jerry, the American animated cartoon series, which features Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No 2.

"I am a big fan of cartoons. When I was a child, I loved many cartoon characters, such as Monkey King, Mickey Mouse and Snow White. Those cartoons featured many great musical works, mostly classical and traditional, which opened the door to a very big and fascinating world to me," recalls the pianist.

He can still remember that, as a child, he put stickers of cartoon characters on pictures of composers to entertain himself.

"For example, I put a Monkey King sticker on a picture of Mozart, a Transformers sticker on Beethoven and Mickey Mouse on Carl Czerny," he adds. "It gave me so much fun when I practiced."

On Friday, the celebrated pianist, 40, released his new album, titled The Disney Book, with a hope, he says, that "people of all ages will enjoy classical music and experience the joy that we all felt the first time we saw a Disney film".

On Sept 14, Lang gave a preview of the new album at Walt Disney Studios in Los Angeles. Besides sharing the inspiration behind the recording, the pianist also played a few songs from it, such as Reflection from Mulan, Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf from Three Little Pigs and Rainbow Connection from The Muppet Movie.

As a collaborative project, the pianist worked alongside several musicians from across the globe on the record, which features new versions of 30 iconic Disney movie melodies. The preparation for the new album started over three years ago, in celebration of 100 years of the Walt Disney Company.

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli provided vocals for You'll Be in My Heart from Tarzan, Colombian singer-songwriter Sebastian Yatra performed the Oscar-nominated song Dos Oruguitas from Encanto and Chinese erhu player Guo Gan performed the piece Reflection from Mulan with the pianist.

Lang's wife, pianist Gina Alice Redlinger, sang the song, When You Wish Upon a Star from Pinocchio.

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