New York at The Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall

I had the performance with Sara Davis Buechner for her concert in New York at the Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall.First I went to philadelphia to have few rehearsals with Sara, and then finally went to NY. It was very exciting experience again in NY.  The performance went very well, and we had wonderful reviews including New York Times. (YAYOI)

NY Times June 3 edition

Review: Japan Meets France, Through a Pianist’s Sensitivity


Sara Davis Buechner at the piano, accompanied by the mime dancer Yayoi Hirano, at Weill Recital Hall. Credit Rob Davidson

As forms of wordless storytelling, mime and music are sister arts that rarely share a stage. Yet they came together on Thursday evening at Weill Recital Hall. There, the pianist Sara Davis Buechner was joined by the mime dancer Yayoi Hirano in a performance of Jacques Ibert’s Histoires in which the addition of spare, precise movements and Noh-style masks deepened the music’s mystery and whimsy.

Histoires was the centerpiece of a meticulously thought-out program (the rest of it purely instrumental) that traced connections between French and Japanese music. It showcased the breadth of Ms. Buechner’s artistry, spanning thundering fortissimos and chiseled passagework, as well as lyrical moments colored by a poetic sensitivity that was tempered by wit and judicious restraint.

Those last two qualities were very much on display in Ms. Buechner’s encore: two poems recited in fluent Japanese and English. One was a pastoral song lyric about summer memories by the composer Yoshinao Nakada, the other a haiku of Ms. Buechner’s devising about the unrewarded devotion of a New York Mets fan.

The affinity of French and Japanese music reaches back to the 19th century. Echoes of Debussy’s chromatic palette and milky textures were all over the Ten Études for Piano (2011) by Yukiko Nishimura that opened the concert. Ms. Buechner presented each as a sharply drawn character study: a soft-hued Snowy Sky, an impetuous Hide-and-Seek, a drowsy reverie for left hand called Daydreaming. But there was also a strong jazzy streak in Ms. Nishimura’s Études that continued through the rhythmically sharp Variations on a Theme of Poulenc (1957), by Kouji Taku.

Ibert’s 10 Histoires (Stories) for solo piano were written between 1912 and 1922. They are like pages from an artist’s sketchbook, with movement titles like The Old Beggar, The Crystal Cage and Little White Donkey. The music reflects both the influence of Impressionism and Ibert’s background as a silent-movie pianist.

Using a different sculpted mask for each of the miniatures, Ms. Hirano accompanied Ms. Buechner with gracefully stylized pantomimes. While her fluid gestures brought to life the tableaus evoked by Ibert, she also seemed to trap them in a point midway between playful revelation and cool enigma, seeming even to comment on the limits of music’s representational powers.

The concert ended with the Piano Sonata of Yoshinao Nakada, a work begun in 1949, not long after the war in which its composer had served as a kamikaze pilot — and survived. In her thoughtful program notes, Ms. Buechner wrote of the tangled wall of personal and societal shame that survivors of these suicide missions grappled with, and which are reflected in the conflicted emotions that seem to inform Nakada’s music. In her reading of this fascinating sonata, Ms. Buechner emphasized the contrasts between bombastic pathos and private doubt, between a hard-driving public sound world and an inner one in which echoes of Rachmaninoff flash like fleeting pangs of regret.

Sara Davis Buechner
Performed on June 1 at Weill Recital Hall.
SDB & Yayoi NYC