Nobody was saying it, but it still felt like a big piece of Camden was missing this warm July evening. Could Lang from Shenyang, the only classical performer at this year’s iTunes Festival at the Roundhouse, be the one to bring some solace?
First onstage were rad Croatian duo 2 Cellos. Pop-Classical crossovers necessarily involve pained expressions and excessive swaying, and both reached their terrifying pinnacle during a yearning rendition of With or Without You, the worst song ever penned. By the time they reached Highway to Hell I was seriously considering trying to eat my own head, but looking around I realised that I was in the minority; 2 Cellos had the crowd eating out of the palms of their hands.
Then from behind far too much dry ice came the young maestro proclaiming “We will do a Liszt together!” As his fingers danced over the soapy-white chunklets and their slimmer ebony brothers it was as if a spell had been cast over the room. Anyone who has visited the Liaoning capital will know that the most pressing question is how to get away, and for Lang Lang the vehicle was a grand piano. And as the first bleary eyed teenage fans, apparently overcome by the depth of emotion, began stumbling clumsily from the auditorium at around the song three mark, the sound of discarded plastic beer cups being crunched underfoot mixing with the elegant arrangements of Chopin and Schuman, I for one was glad he found that vehicle.
The 2011 iTunes Festival continues with Magnetic Man on 26 July at the Roundhouse