Sida Cheng

I had the privilege of attending Sida Cheng’s senior piano recital at Reed College this afternoon. It was a wonderful program, and, after the week I’ve been having, the perfect way to decompress. The program:

Aaron Copland


Philip Lasser

12 Variations on a Bach Chorale

Johannes Brahms

Six Pieces for Piano, op. 118

Ludwig van Beethoven

Piano Sonata No. 32 in C Major
His technique was flawless, and none of the pieces on the program were easy. It was nice to revisit the Copland Variations, I had heard it once before and didn’t think much of it, but I like it much better now. It’s Copland like you’ve never heard him before, working with sets and quasi-atonal themes. Copland being Copland, however, every once in a while there are resolutions to pure triads. Instead of being cheap or gimmicky, it becomes transcendental. The Lasser variations were, I thought, a little pedestrian, but Sida did a great job with the tricky Vivace variation, and came off as a real pro.
One of my music professors is a hardcore Brahms fan. I’ve never really connected with that because I just don’t have very much experience with his music. In his Six Pieces, he’s in full-on Romantic Piano mode, and I could have listened to them all afternoon. These days, between schoolwork and getting ready for recitals of my own, I’ve been missing pure listening experiences; listening with out being distracted by the internet or scores or assignments. It was magical.
After the Brahms, the Beethoven seemed a little unnecessary, however Sida acquitted himself well, and the last movement that he performed ended with a twinkling, very difficult passage in the high register of the piano.

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