Buechner began by playing “The Age of Anxiety,” a highly energetic piece from Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2, just one of a number of pieces the symphony had chosen for their New World A-Comin’ concert, which took place on November 4. The show featured an array of music by American composers like Duke Ellington and George Gershwin, as well as by the Argentinian Alberto Ginastera.
In 1947, W.H. Auden wrote his poem “The Age of Anxiety,” which is about the search for faith in a world filled with such terrible events that meaning seems hard if not impossible to find. Leonard Bernstein — in his late 20s, thinking about spiritual truths — became obsessed with the poem, which provoked him to compose his Symphony No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra, “The Age of Anxiety,” a work of tough beauty.
“A Night in a Spanish Garden” was the title of the San Jose Chamber Orchestra’s season-opening concert Sunday at Le Petit Trianon. Pianist Sara Davis Buechner was the soloist, an enchanter at the keyboard — and as a speaker, setting the audience at ease in every way. For this listener, it was like walking into a college seminar with a genius lecturer who takes you on a journey to secret places — without leaving the room.
I love creativity in all its forms and my role models are hardly limited to fellow musicians. As a pianist I always wished to follow in the profoundly important tracks of Franz Liszt, Ferruccio Busoni, Dinu Lipatti, Clara Haskil, and my own teacher at Juilliard, the late Rudolf Firkusny. But my own approach to the piano and its sounds has been deeply influenced by flamenco and kabuki dance, the motion pictures of Kurasawa, Naruse and Charlie Chaplin, the paintings of Vermeer and Renoir, the writing of J.D. Salinger. Willa Cather and Shusaku Endo, grand American architecture of the Art Deco era, the baseball artistry of Jim Palmer, Don Mattingly, Kei Igawa and Ichiro Suzuki, and even witnessing the varied religious services of the Buddhist, Jewish, Catholic and 7th Day Adventist faith
IN September 1998, David Buechner, then 39, a prominent classical pianist, came out as a transgender woman, explaining that from then on, she would live and perform as Sara Davis Buechner. The pianist had been accustomed to rave reviews (at 24, David, in his New York City concert debut, was called “an extraordinary young artist” by a New York Times critic). But the debut as Sara, reported in a Times magazine article, was not so well received, even by loved ones.
Née David in Baltimore, USA, Sara Davis Buechner came out as a transgendered woman in the 1990’s. She was in the midst of a brilliant career as a classical pianist and teacher. A graduate of the music program at New York’s Julliard School, she was awarded the bronze medal in the 1986 Tchaikovsky Competition. Held in Moscow every four years, the Tchaikovsky is the Olympics of classical music: very prestigious!