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Hsia-Jung Chang
plays Chopin -
reviewed by

'... dazzling technique ...'

Chopin - Impromptus - Ballades - Berceuse. Hsia-Jung Chang

The liner notes to this CD consist of a question-and-answer session during which the pianist summons to her aid and Chopin's a background cast that includes Hamlet, a dark beauty, a fishermaiden, and the Ancient Mariner. One can sympathise with the exasperated comment, 'This interview is really getting out of control ...'; yet it must be said at once that Miss Chang's playing is far superior to her theories, which were hardly worth printing. I am not sure, though, that she has penetrated to the heart of Chopin. There are innumerable accounts of his playing. One of the latest and most perceptive is by Sir James Hedderwick of Glasgow, when Chopin played there on 27 September 1848, temporarily exiled from France by yet more revolution. Sir James had often seen Thalberg 'banging out some air with clear articulation and power'; had watched Liszt 'tossing his fair hair excitedly, and tearing the wild soul of music from the ecstatic keys'. With Chopin it was quite different, more piano than forte: 'He took the audience, as it were, into his confidence, and whispered to them of zephyrs and moonlight rather than of cataracts and thunder.'

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Copyright © 26 November 2003 Robert Anderson, London UK


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