Pin It
Favorite

CD Review-Hsia-Jung Chang 

by Sheri Boggs


Why the Chopin Ballades?" Hsia-Jung Chang asks rhetorically in the liner notes to her debut CD. "After all, there are plenty of recordings of these works by great pianists of the last century." Chang herself never felt that she would need to play them until the moment she discovered dance elements in the Ballades and became fascinated with why Chopin chose to juxtapose the wordless language of dance with the poetic titles of each piece. Suddenly, Chang was hooked.


If Chang's name sounds familiar, it's because a few of her roots reach right back to Spokane. Although she now lives in Manhattan, Chang's family emigrated from Taiwan to the United States during 1974's World Fair. The little caf & eacute; they set up for Expo became Ho Ho Teriyaki Chicken in the Flour Mill, now owned by Chang's mother Ho Lan, who is herself a musician. Chang graduated from Shadle Park High School before pursuing her musical training at the University of Houston, where she received her bachelor and master's degrees, and at the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied under Constance Keene and earned her doctorate. While she regularly returns to Spokane for concerts at Westminster Congregational Church and Holy Names Music Center, one of her most significant shows took place in New York's Carnegie Hall, where a writer for The New York Concert Review deemed her performance of the four Chopin Ballades "mesmerizing in its unwavering clarity of structure and emotional concentration." All in all, the writer summarized, "Hsia-Jung Chang is a distinctive and important new voice in the annals of pianism."


If Chang's name sounds familiar, it's because a few of her roots reach right back to Spokane. Although she now lives in Manhattan, Chang's family emigrated from Taiwan to the United States during 1974's World Fair. The little caf & eacute; they set up for Expo became Ho Ho Teriyaki Chicken in the Flour Mill, now owned by Chang's mother Ho Lan, who is herself a musician. Chang graduated from Shadle Park High School before pursuing her musical training at the University of Houston, where she received her bachelor and master's degrees, and at the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied under Constance Keene and earned her doctorate. While she regularly returns to Spokane for concerts at Westminster Congregational Church and Holy Names Music Center, one of her most significant shows took place in New York's Carnegie Hall, where a writer for The New York Concert Review deemed her performance of the four Chopin Ballades "mesmerizing in its unwavering clarity of structure and emotional concentration." All in all, the writer summarized, "Hsia-Jung Chang is a distinctive and important new voice in the annals of pianism."


If Chang does anything with this CD, she frees Chopin from his reputation as a quintessentially Polish composer. Deliberately picking out the Spanish influences in the third Ballade, written after Chopin and his lover George Sand returned from Majorca, Chang evokes castanet rhythms and Mediterranean folk influences. Her literary interpretations too are fresh, breaking with tradition on the second Ballade, the F Major, Opus 38, which Robert Schumann had attributed to a poem but Chang sees instead as a lyric tale of a fisher maiden lost at sea. Appropriately, the album closes with the Berceuse, a dusky lullaby with variations on the nightingale's bedding-down song.

  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • The Landed and the White
  • The Landed and the White

    How Americans followed tradition when they voted for Trump
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • Do Something!
  • Do Something!

    Writers Resist, MLK Day activities and more ways to engage with your community
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • On the Street
  • On the Street

    Will you tip differently because of the minimum wage increase?
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Movement Activities for Winter

Movement Activities for Winter @ Moran Prairie Library

Sat., Jan. 21, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Sheri Boggs

  • BOOKS
  • BOOKS

    From Twin Peaks to the darkest reaches of our galaxy, there's a new book for everyone on your list
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Thanks, Obama

    The legacy of the 44th President goes far beyond the election of the 45th
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • One Free Shave

    Donald Trump might have merited a honeymoon with voters had he managed his transition better
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

scandal


scandals


Comment


Briefs


green zone


Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Otter Incompetence
  • Otter Incompetence

    Idaho's governor and his staff can't even get the easy things right
    • Sep 16, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation