Warner Classics


  1. David Lang: cage
  2. Toru Takemitsu: Les yeux clos ii
  3. Elliott Carter: Two Thoughts about the Piano
  4. Conrad Tao: A Walk (for Emilio)
  5. Modest Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
  6. David Lang: wed


Classical Playlist: Conrad Tao, ‘Scrapyard Exotica’ and More

  • Anthony Tommasini, New York Times

“On this fascinating album, aptly titled, the brilliant 21-year-old American pianist Conrad Tao, a thoughtful artist and dynamic performer who is also a composer, has surrounded a repertory staple, Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” with varied works by contemporary composers, including himself. All of these pieces, in different ways, evoke images and people through music. The program opens with David Lang’s rhythmically hypnotic “cage,” a tribute to John Cage, and ends with Mr. Lang’s ruminative “wed” (from “Memory Pieces”). There is also a mysterious, alluring work by Toru Takemitsu; Mr. Tao’s dreamy “A Walk (for Emilio),” a portrait of Emilio del Rosario, Mr. Tao’s first significant teacher; and Elliott Carter’s “Two Thoughts About the Piano,” a pair of breathlessly skittish, complex pieces, played dazzlingly by Mr. Tao, especially the perpetual- motion “Caténaires.” Though his account of “Pictures at an Exhibition” is sometimes a little percussive for my taste, he plays it with enormous imagination, color and command.”