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Raymond Tuttle
Classical Net, May 2008

Jie Chen plays this music charmingly, and with a bright and clean sound. She was the Bronze Medal Winner at the 2005 Santander Paloma O’shea Piano Competition. She began her studies at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and continued at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. Played with less imagination, this music could seem boring, but her phrasing—for example, playful in “Hide and Seek” from Children Suite, and both imposing and bell-like in The Sound of Big Waves (probably the finest work here)—kept me interested. The piano is given a bright, juicy sound, thanks to the engineers in the Toronto studios of the CBC.



David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2008

Piano compositions in China only date back to the early part of the 20th century, but soon fell foul of the puritanical Communist regime who banned all such decadent Western traits and dictated that the only form of composition should be restricted to arrangements of folk music. Despite these restraints works have come from resourceful musicians such as Ding Shan-de who kept within ‘limits’ with a charming Children’s Suite completed in 1953. All of this seems strange when today I hear so many superb young Chinese pianists taking part in international piano competitions, this disc coming from Jie Chen, a young virtuoso who has been collecting prestigious prizes around the world. Much of her young life has been spent studying in the United States, where she graduated in 2006 from Phildelphia’s Curtis Institute. The previous year it had been the bronze medal in the Santander Piano Competition which initiated this recording made in Canada last year. Chinese music has always carried colourful titles that to Western ears prove at odds with the music. That is often the case here, Farewell arranged by Li Ying-hai, a heavyweight piece having little of the sadness we would expect.   Yet the results throughout are always pleasing, the style in a generalised Western mode from the late 19th century with an input from the later French Impressionist era. At times they make a demand on the soloist, such as the mercurial Butterfly Chasing, though the main requirement is to turn simplicity into classical form. Chen does this admirably, her technique brushing aside the modest challenge, and she enjoys excellent sound engineering.





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