Listening Log – [Pt. IV]- Belle Chen- ‘Between the Land and Sea’ and ‘Shui’
Belle Chen- ‘Between the Land and Sea’
Listening Log – [Pt. IV]- Belle Chen- ‘Between the Land and Sea’ (2020). Throughout March- April 2020 Listened /watched (streaming) to youtube video: For copyright info and credits see information under video clip.
Belle Chen is a contemporary composer/pianist whose music frequently reminds me of Debussy’s and Ravel’s style of ‘Impressionism’ without ever loosing a modern and innovative approach. Her piece ‘Between land and Sea’ is one such composition. It starts with a loop made out of a muted backward sound (probably a piano and maybe some electronics and samples too). This loop repeats a theme over and over again, having a bell like quality. The soundscape is reminiscent of waves washing into shore. Every sound just hints at an emotion or a state of mind, very much with the delicate nuances of a Debussy-esque piece.
Belle Chen- Shui
Listening Log – [Pt. IV]- Belle Chen – Shui (Live Version) 2019. Throughout March- April 2020 Listened /watched (streaming) to youtube video: For copyright info and credits see information under video clip.
In her composition ‘Shui’ I hear definite echoes of Ravel’s Ondine.
‘Shui’ starts with Belle plucking her piano strings, whilst holding chords on the piano in the left hand. This gives the plucking both sustain and a harmonic ‘carpet’ underneath the twinkling and very gentle percussive plucks. It is a beautiful and magical effect. After a few repeats, Belle sits back down at the piano and plays a very fast, agile and busy section spanning the entire keyboard, doing runs up and down the octaves. It is extremely dexterous and reminiscent of a Ravel piece.
Once this virtuosic section is complete Belle returns to a harmonic progression of long held chords and finishes the composition with plucking the piano strings creating a crescendo which very much sounds like a harp glissando. It is a stunning short composition and a beautiful example of a modern piece of music which is Impressionistic in nature without trying to mimic music of the past.