Saturday, June 28, 2008

Chengcheng Yao Age 16 China

I was immediately impressed with Chengcheng when I read a quote from her that reads, "I hope to perform in the places where classical music is not in popularization, and let everyone in the world began to love it." This is a noteworthy goal and I certainly believe that she can and will accomplish it!

Chengcheng played four very difficult pieces for the 2nd round of the Gina Bachauer 2008 Young Artists Competition. She began her program with Czerny's Variations on a Theme by Rode "La Ricordanza", Op. 33. I think this was an excellent piece to choose. Czerny is not all that common in performances, although EVERY pianist is familiar with his work because he wrote so many technique exersizes. Chengcheng has obviously fine-tuned her technique through the use of Czerny's music and this showed in this performance. She really had excellent technique and a wonderful expression throughout this work. Her runs were crisp and delightful.

Her second work was Ravel's Scarbo from Gaspard de le nuit. I really enjoyed her interpretation of the opening of this piece. Her dynamics were superb and she had a great balance and use of volume changes.

Chengcheng then played Chopin's Berceuse, Op. 57. This is a tricky piece to play. In the hands of a not-so-good performer, this piece can be disastrous. But Chengcheng Yao played this piece beautifully! One of the tricks to this piece is to keep the left hand expressive and meaningful despite the fact that it repeats the same measure for almost the entire work. Chengcheng did such a wonderful job of this that I could have listened to just her left hand and still come away touched by her music! I was deeply moved by her performance of Chopin's Berceuse.

Her final piece was Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12 - another difficult work. She used some very interesting tempo changes throughout the piece and experimented with a variety of sounds and colors. It turned out wonderfully. I loved listening to her play this piece as well as all of her others.

Chengcheng, although you did not make it to the final round, you certainly gave a 1st class performance! I was impressed and in awe at the grandeur of your performance. Thank you for your beautiful music!