Award-winning violinist Ray Chen, described as “the ray of sunshine in the violin world” by The Times, has announced his new studio album Solace, professionally recorded and released from his home during the global lockdown, will be digitally released on 7 August 2020. Solace features six movements from J. S. Bach’s Six Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin representing the personal and powerful feelings Ray Chen has experienced this year.
“It’s my hope that many of you find comfort and solace in music”
The coronavirus pandemic which brought the world to a standstill this year has also created a time for self-reflection, and a renewed appreciation of the power of music. Ray Chen explained, “Music heals the soul, it calms us, centres us, and creates focus in our lives. Bach’s music, in particular, written so far ahead of its time, reminds us of an important message: that humanity struggles onwards despite the odds.” He added, “It’s my hope that many of you find comfort and solace in music.”
Ray Chen built a professional studio from scratch in his own home
Ray Chen built a professional studio from scratch in his own home to record Solace. He sourced the best recording equipment possible and the remote advice of record producer Jonathan Allen to set up his studio. Ray selected six movements from J. S. Bach’s Six Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin for Solace. The context of each movement represents personal and powerful feelings that he has experienced during this year and they collectively create a narrative of his emotions.
The opening ‘Preludio’ from Bach’s E major Partita No. 3, sets out a familiar sense of joy and connection. The ‘Fugue’ from Bach’s G minor Sonata No. 1 searches for truth through a filter of anxious worry. The ‘Sarabande’ from his D minor Partita evokes feelings of isolation and sadness evolving into frustration which is expressed through the ‘Allegro’ of Bach’s A minor Sonata No. 2. The album concludes with Bach’s ‘Largo’ from his C major Sonata No. 3 and ‘Gavotte en Rondeau’ to evocate the feeling of hope.
In addition to releasing Solace Ray Chen has also shared a documentary on the creation of his quaRAYntine album.
“Certain events have the power to change the way we look at the world forever. Music has that same power.”
Ray Chen reflected on the way in which the coronavirus pandemic has impacted his music-making and his choice of these particular works: “My mentor Christoph Eschenbach once told me, ‘music when it repeats itself, cannot be played the same because by then you are already a few seconds older and wiser.’ Certain events have the power to change the way we look at the world forever. Music has that same power.”
About Ray Chen
Ray Chen is a violinist who is redefining what it means to be a classical musician in the 21st Century. He has been profiled as “one to watch” by The Strad and Gramophone and featured in Forbes list of 30 most influential Asians under 30. Described by The Washington Post as an artist who, “can do pretty much anything he wants on the violin”, Ray has formed ongoing collaborations with leading conductors including Riccardo Chailly, Christoph Eschenbach and Manfred Honeck; as well as top orchestras including the San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony, and London Philharmonic. Through his popular social media presence he has enhanced the established classical audience by bringing his Gen Y & Z fans into the concert hall. Ray Chen was born in Taiwan, raised in Australia, and accepted into the Curtis Institute of Music at age fifteen to study with Aaron Rosand. He plays the 1715 “Joachim” Stradivarius violin once owned by the famed Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim.
Ray Chen’s new album Solace has been digitally released.