Lang Lang Plays Disney (2023)

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Lang Lang Plays Disney (2023)

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(light music playing)

NARRATOR: Lang Lang is a unique artist

and certainly a unique classical artist,

because this guy has superpowers.

The highest echelon

of classical piano playing.

Lang Lang at an early age, like, three,

was already playing the piano.

And he had all the world's

greatest piano literature

to fill his days and his soul.

There's a stereotype

of a classical pianist,

staid and composed and proper,

but Lang Lang, he's more like a rock star.

With Lang Lang,

there's always another chapter,

and another level,

and another form of expression.

He wanted to do these famous songs

from Disney.

A lot of these songs

he knew them in his heart.

They meant something to him.

So when you combine that

with the world's greatest piano player,

it's like fireworks.

(melodic music playing)

It's a big production.



Combining Lang Lang and Disney songs,

and the Royal Albert Hall

is like the Holy Grail.

The architecture of the building,

the history of the building.

This is a special environment.

Let's go.

NARRATOR: The music rising from the stage

and the orchestra,

everybody dressed to the nines

and playing their hearts out.

For a moment, music carries you away

to this other place.

(audience applauding)

LANG LANG: Thank you.

Thank you very much. Beautiful.

How are you?

Thank you.

(applause stops)

("Beauty and the Beast"

instrumental playing)

(music fades)

(audience applauding)

(light music playing)

Four, take one, Alpha, Bravo,

and Charlie, mark.

MAN: Mark h*t.

As a kid, I actually had a very tough

practicing process.


RON: Those early years for him

were very, very challenging,

there's a lot of piano competitions,

there's a lot of pressure,

a lot of pressure on a young boy.

In this new generation,

everybody has a lot of, uh,

you know, hobbies.

LANG LANG: But when I was a kid,

I... I maybe more focused in music.

He's always very passionate,

and he's always very authentic.

His story, really kind of reflects also

a lot of Disney values.

GINA: To believe in your dreams,

and also to always stay brave,

to take challenges and risks,

and mostly important,

um, to have a good heart.

I did a lot of practicing,

and, uh, I think I did six hours

when I was six years old,

because I had to go through

all those major, minor keys of scales,

arpeggios, chords, octave,

and then I get into the music pieces

from Bach, Mozart, to Chinese folk music.

So every day, I actually only have,

like, 30 minutes to watch, uh, television,

and then I use that 30 minutes

to watch cartoons.

LANG LANG: Mickey Mouse,

Donald Duck, Goofy, you know,

all those great characters.

This great animation,

you know, inspired me,

helping me to understand life,

helping me to learn different cultures,

it's also an escape

from my hard practicing,

my magic carpet, you know,

for 30 minutes every day.

Classical music's part of the success

of Disney films.

The music style of Disney

has to be passionate,

touching people's hearts,

it has to be emotional.

After Lang Lang became a father,

his heart became stronger,

and softer at the same time.

LANG LANG: Something really changes me

is when I'm having my first kid.

Once I started playing Tarzan,

I found that, through him,

a new Disney journey just start,

and I felt more connected

to the character.

(audience cheering)

(applause stops)

("You'll Be In My Heart" playing)

Come stop your crying

It will be all right

Just take my hand, hold it tight

I will protect you from all around you

I will be here, don't you cry

This bond between us can't be broken

I will be here, don't you cry

You'll be in my heart

Yes, you'll be in my heart

From this day on, now and forever more

From this day on, now and forever more

Why can't they understand

the way we feel

They just don't trust

what they can't explain

I know we're different

but deep inside us

We're not that different at all

You'll be in my heart

Yes, you'll be in my heart

From this day on

Now and forever more

Destiny calls you, you must be strong

May not be with you

but you've got to go on

They'll see in time

I know

We'll show them together


You'll be here in my heart

Yes, you'll be in my heart

From this day on

Now and forever more

You'll be in my heart

You'll be in my heart

Forever and always


I'll be with you always

I'll be with you always


(piano music continues)

(music fades)

(audience applauding)

- Hey, great. That's great.

- Bless you.

ALFIE: Thank you.

("Feed The Birds" instrumental playing)

(music ends)

(audience applauding)


Thank you.

(serene music playing)

In our world, classical music world,

there always a danger,

like, how far you can go.

Sometimes in classical musical world,

we're so comfortable.

You know why?

Because every repertoire we play

is already existing for 200 years.

If you look into the Hollywood,

if you look into, uh, popular culture,

if they don't create something new,

they're out.

They're absolutely out,

nobody will remember them in five years.

Yeah, so... so that's a huge difference.

We have to communicate

and we have to make some sound.

He loves creating visions

and new journeys.

One day he plays

Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto,

the next day he plays Bach's

Goldberg Variations.

GINA: And then next week,

he plays a beautiful Disney program.

So I think it's very fascinating

that he can connect these worlds.

He can make very complex

and intellectual music,

like, approachable to everyone.

And he can connect people's hearts

through music.

Disney music had this magic power

to take the audience into a fantasy world.

When you have all those melodies,

this is really not just from one culture.

You have Mulan from China,

you have Aladdin from the Middle East.

You have Encanto from Colombia,

or Coco from Mexico.

You have a lot of European fairy tales,

American-based stories.

You just kind of get your eyes open.

This is the way we should, you know,

kind of try to understand music.

I'm trying to get out

from the comfort zone,

to create something together

with spectacular Disney music,

but in a classical music style,

to approach new audience,

and to give them new story to tell.

(audience applauding)

("We Don't Talk About Bruno"

instrumental playing)

(music ends)

(audience applauding)

("Remember Me" instrumental playing)

(music ends)

(audience applauding)

Can we just practice one more place


I... I mean, the hard place.

For me, it's a bit too slow.


- (man humming a tune)

- Otherwise, I couldn't follow the... Yeah.


So like the first two hours

HENRY: Lang Lang is just a person who...

He's on a different wavelength.

He's floating on a cloud,

he's picking things out of the universe,

and flying on the magic carpet,

and allowing himself

to, like, go into this world.

Like... He doesn't restrain himself.

I think that's a little unusual

for classical music

where the notes and the ink rule the day.

- That was beautiful.

- MAN: That was beautiful.

- LANG LANG: Okay, Reflection.

- MAN: Reflection.

One of the challenge of this project

is actually quite hard one.

How to make already existing

great melodies from Disney films itself

into a pianistic work with orchestra?

Do you want that a little...

Is that a little held in tempo?

- LANG LANG: Uh, D, yeah? One second.

- Yeah. After the


- Maybe from those octaves, yeah?

- Yeah, sure. Three bars before.

We knew that we wanted to do

these famous songs from Disney.

And the question,

with an artist like Lang Lang, is,

his level of approaching the piano

is it's so highly evolved,

the highest echelon

of classical piano playing.

What do you give

to the world's greatest piano player

to convey these songs and these melodies?

LANG LANG: We were very lucky to work

with, uh, many of the greatest

piano arranger in the world.

You have to re-write a lot of things.

We actually have the rhythm,

we have the harmony,

we have the arpeggios,

we have the octaves.

You can feel this is a real chamber music.

This is a... a piano concerto.

And that gave me the great joy to do it.

So, what you do is, probably,

you cut, like, here, remember?

(soft melody playing)

Wow, that was...

That is a powerful rehearsal.

I see how much heart and spirit

and soul he puts into this project,

and, um, to find great musicians

to collaborate with, to find composers,

to find the best and unique

and virtuoso, um, arrangements,

to make people happy,

and to let everyone enjoy the beauty

of Disney music.

His thing really is to convey emotion

through the piano.

Now when you match that up

with this incredible technical facility

where every option is open to him,

it's like the ten fingers add up

to a hundred.

The bar is set so high,

so thought through,

and it all comes down to storytelling.


Piano has to be absolutely there,

fairy tale style playing.

All those delicacy technique, light, fast.

Technique has to serve music

hundred percent.

And if that's too much, we have to cut.

It's not... This is not just making

some kind of a look,

you know, kind of a gimmick that,

"Hey, look,

my hand is all over the place."

One may need the hands

to be all over the place,

we have to be there, right?

But if we don't need it,

if it's too much, we have to cut.

We have to serve music.

("A Whole New World" instrumental playing)

(music fades)

(audience applauding)

("Reflection" instrumental playing)

(music fades)

(audience applauding)

Beautiful. Beautiful.

- LANG LANG: Hello, everyone.

- STUDENT 1: Hello.

- LANG LANG: How are you this morning?

- STUDENT 2: Hi.


(Lang Lang chuckles)

- How long have you all learned piano?

- STUDENT 3: Three years.

Three years already?

LANG LANG: This guy's a musician.

Maybe I...

I should hear you play a little bit.

So let's have some fun

with your music first,

and then we go from there, okay?

We know through all the years

what kind of effect music has

on children's lives.

GINA: Some of the children

don't necessarily

have the opportunity to get close

and to get in contact with music

and to learn an instrument.

So what Lang Lang does since 2008 already,

he started his foundation in 2008,

is to go into public schools

where music is actually not

in the curriculum anymore.

Normally, I like to... to visit, uh,

the schools everywhere I go.

We have around 100 schools

around the world, in China, in the U.S.,

and now we're coming to Europe.

And it's quite important

that we support the kid to learn music,

particularly at the more

disadvantaged area in the city.

So I play the bass line

and then you can...


Good, good, good.

I'm getting tired of looking

into the schools,

you know, going there only once

in our lifetime,

and then we're happy about it,

but actually, you didn't really help much.

LANG LANG: After a musician's gone,

they are back to normal.

No music class. We need to take action.

Really get deep into the school system.

Our aim is to improve our education tools.

We always have the smart digital pianos

in one class,

20 to 30, uh, digital pianos.

Each kid not only listening to the class,

but they have the possibility to play.

That's the aim.

Yeah, you have to touch the keys.

(students murmuring)

Every time when I'm visiting a school,

the kids always ask me,

"Hey, can you play some Disney music?"

After The Disney Book,

I'm much more equipped,

I think now it's so much more fun

with the, you know, the repertoire I know,

and to share with the kid.

And also ask them to learn.

GINA: So many children,

they love so much more of going to school

because of those music classes.

And it builds their confidence,

and they can achieve their dreams

through music

because they see that they're strong.

It's all inside of them already.

It just needs this spark,

this chance to come out.

Music is the most fair,

should be the most fair art form.

No matter what background you are,

on stage, we're all equal.

LANG LANG: On stage, if you're great,

the world will choose you.


("Can You Feel The Love Tonight"

instrumental playing)

(music ends)

(audience cheering and applauding)


Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you.

(upbeat piano music playing onscreen)

LANG LANG: This actually I haven't seen.



What an imagination.

That's incredible.

I got so impressed because,

honestly, I didn't know this film.

This is really a musician's life.

Look, boxing with the piano.

When the kid hate practicing,

you know, like boxing his piano.


It's exactly like that.

You'll see all different

piano schools technique,

is in that, uh, little film.

I mean, the detail is incredible,

you know, this love and hate to piano.

(crowd applauding onscreen)

This is always in our imaginations.

I felt that Mickey Mouse already knows

about this hundred years ago.

I mean, this is really impressive.

It's incredible that, uh, you see this

in the very beginning.

Classical music already,

so much more multi-dimensional.

(serene music playing)

This is really proof that 100 years ago,

Disney already focused classical music

into their great creation.

And, uh, to see this direct inspiration

from classical music

combined with Disney,

uh, it... it's tremendous.

Fascinating to see that connection

in the such early stage in Disney's films.

(bird chirping)

(serene music ends)

("When You Wish Upon A Star" playing)

When a star is born

They possess a gift or two

One of them is this

They have the power

To make a wish come true

When you wish upon a star

Makes no difference who you are

Anything your heart desires

Will come to you

If your heart is in your dream

No request is too extreme

When you wish upon a star

As dreamers do

Fate is kind

She brings to those who love

The sweet fulfillment

Of their secret longing

Like a bolt out of the blue

Fate steps in

And sees you through

When you wish

Upon a star

Your dreams



She's great.

(applause stops)

(dramatic orchestral music playing)

(music crescendo)

(music ends)

("Let It Go" instrumental playing)

(music ends)

(audience cheering and applauding)

LANG LANG: Thank you.

It is beautiful.

Thank you.

(cheering and applauding continues)

LANG LANG: This concert really showed

every aspect of our goal.

The aim is to get everyone

to have their own young heart moment,

no matter how old or how young you are.

Disney music had this magic power,

you know, your mind can fly.

And all those incredible musicians,

that was kind of like my childhood dream.

So I hope, you know, this, uh...

this energy will inspire others

around the world

to achieve their dreams.

(tranquil music playing)
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