Sara Davis Buechner
Please tell us about this program.
The recital I will play at Orford Music is a reprise of a concert I gave last year at Carnegie Recital Hall in New York City. Given in connection with my 30 years’ association with the Yamaha Piano, it was a program exploring the range of Japanese piano music of the 20th century, both at the keyboard and around it.
What made you think of integrating mime into the project?
Because of the intimate feeling of the smaller Carnegie Recital Hall, I felt it was a good visual space to explore, and asked my dear friend Yayoi Hirano to join me as a special guest on that occasion. Yayoi is an unusual and unique artist, who combines aspects of both the Noh and Kabuki style of Japanese dance with the use of her own carved masks. With ten of these expressive masks, she choreographed the ten short pieces of Jacques Ibert’s Histoires.
Jacques Ibert is a French composer. What was it that made you feel his music might work with Japanese dance?
It was the very spartan quality of this French music that made me instantly think of Yayoi’s Japanese precision, in imagining a worthy dance realization of the score. Yayoi Hirano’s choreographic interpretation of these pieces brings a fresh and immediate visual reality to these ten piano miniatures. The story characters themselves are realized in the faces of Ms. Hirano’s masks, but their personalities are even more vividly fleshed out in her body movements and rhythmic translation of the music’s mood.
Connecting the piano to both dance and film has been my own offbeat but most-beloved form of chamber music, and my work with Yayoi has been some of the most rewarding of my artistic life.
And what about the rest of the program?
The unusual connection of French and Japanese music is further explored with the inclusion of Kouji Taku’s Variations on a Theme of Poulenc. The balance of the program includes Yoshinao Nakada’s wartime-influenced Piano Sonata of 1946 and Ten Etudes commissioned by myself from composer Yukiko Nishimura.
Both Yayoi and I are so delighted to bring this concert to Orford Music and we hope it will be a unique and enjoyable evening!
Sara Davis Buechner,
pianist & professor