Here we have two pianists. Both are famous, both have cult followings, however Lang Lang, or as I prefer to call him BANG BANG, has reached into that stratosphere of musical celebrity reserved for the Beatles and the such.
Why? Honestly, I am not quite certain. Lang Lang as a pianist reminds me of the very worst of Horowitz. The large drops in volume, the excessive portamento, the extreme velocity and the extreme BANGING. Mind you, Horowitz went through this after having his own personal demons and issues. When Horowitz came through this in the mid 1980's he was a completely different pianist as well....satisfied to let his incredible gifts serve the smallest of musical pieces...indeed pieces that a talented amateur could play
One thing Horowitz never did was ape for the public or the camera.
Kissen is another matter....this is a strange man but with a power and ability at the piano that makes one wonder what deal he has made to play so cleanly. I heard him live in New York at Carnegie Hall and was astonished by the musical display. The critics were not happy with the program, thinking that it was too simple but he made up for it in the dynamic power and the demonic encores.
Bang Bang never quite gets to all the notes nor does he quite get to the music in the really hard technical pieces, whereas Kissen plays them so well and effortlessly, that he almost makes you forget how trully difficult these things all are!
These two videos will illustrate the difference: