“A Dream is a Wish your Heart Makes” Arranged, Performed and Recorded by: Sharon Chen
Review By Kerry Barnes
I N TR O D U C TI O N
Sharon Chen is an artist I have become familiar with over the last couple of years.
She has a terrific social media presence and is impeccably talented. Sharon is very technically accomplished and has a signature style of her own. Her tremendous digital dexterity means she can scamper across the keyboard with great ease. Just brilliant!!
“A Dream is a Wish your Heart Makes”
Can I just say thank you to Sharon on choosing this particular Disney piece, because my daughter grew up singing and dancing to it, and hearing it again means I’ve gone back in time to a very special place in my heart. Thank you for these wonderful memories Sharon!!!
The ‘Cinderella’ main theme is well known around the world as being enchanted and beautiful, and Sharon has done a marvelous job of presenting it in Theme-and-Variations, a form that dates back centuries. How clever of her!! We start with the theme in somewhat simplicity of course, not too much, too soon.
There is a ‘delicacy’ and lightness of touch throughout and this is testament to Sharon’s incredible technique. An ‘innocence’ and childlike quality prevails even as the ‘variations’ become more and more complex. Sharon manages to paint a slightly different scene with each one, yet preserves the vintage Disney sound. Well done.
The ‘felted-piano’ is in fine form and really lends itself to Sharon’s intentions here, and she says of it herself “the piece is full of nostalgia for her own childhood memories” and I expect that it has been a real labour of love for her, very sweet. (maybe she even possessed the satin blue gown, nipped in at the waist!)
Am loving the slightly mechanical extra noises within the acoustic piano recording, which give it real character, like the piano is having another little conversation with itself!
Sharon’s ‘leggiero’ playing is divinely spirited, so graceful and just right for the melody of this piece at the higher register. Even when the melody is in the bass area, Sharon remains so ‘twinkly’ in the right hand complexity, and her phrases are so beautifully ‘clipped’ with dryness, it really works!!!
Loads of pianistic devices are shared out between variations and masterfully executed. These include chromatic scales, double octaves in contrary motion, chromatics a 3rd apart, staccato, rubato, legato and loads more!! Sharon preserves energy throughout even whilst all these techniques play out, that way she is able to adorn us with the main Cinderella theme without exhaustion. I hear in her playing years and years of dedication to scales and arpeggios and all their slight variants, and also in every key signature going.
Ooh, my ears prick up at an inclusion of ‘dissonance’ here and there, but it does not detract from the main musical message and certainly adds a bit of spice!!
As we approach the possible Coda, Sharon returns to a more simplistic view and it has great clarity as it trickles up to the end of the piano keyboard. The ending is without drama and simply floats up into the sky......blink and you’ll miss it!
Sharon Chen really is a virtuoso pianist and arranger, she could play anything put in front of her, and she just leaves me wanting more!
I know you’ll feel the same!
E N J O Y !! EN D
Menuet Nocturne (piano solo)
One of the most accomplished female pianists of her day in Sharon Chen has released a new single that has a sparkling performance contained within, and is I believe, one of her finest presentations to date.
Menuet Nocturne (piano solo) has such a delightful energy about its construction, this is a track that touches base with the classical, and dances hand in hand with some of the best solo piano performances I have heard this year with ease.
There is also a much crafted dynamic that plays out here as well, as Chen delivers a perfect passionate arrangement with such a clever flair to her recital, and is also one that contains a warm and compelling musical narrative to its arrangement as well, this is definitely one to watch, listen to and enjoy.