Jenny Q Chai - (S)yn(e)sth(e)te
Playing time: 48'44"
Booklet pages: 12
© 2017 Jenny Q Chai
Reviewer: Geoff Pearce
Review of Jenny Q Chai - (S)yn(e)sth(e)te published on 11 June 2018
Listen: György Ligeti: Cordes à Vide (track 5, 0:01-0:59)
Jenny Q Chai, piano
1 Blue Inscription
2 Pour les quartes
3 Pour les huit doigts
4 Karakurenai (Crimson)
5 Cordes à Vide
7 Bells for Margit Mándy
8 Les Adieux in Janáceks Manier
9 Shadow-Play: Hommage à Somlyó György
10 Quiet Talk with the Devil
(S)yn(e)sth(e)te is an album exploring the relation between sound and color, the streams of colors from blue to orange. Synesthesia in music has been associated with composers throughout the history of music. Interestingly, many composers and musicians have specific associations with certain pitches and keys - E major, C minor, D major, etc - that can be drastically different from one another, or surprisingly similar. Jenny Q Chai's synesthesia came on gradually, starting with certain notes and colors, but leading to connections with more impressionistic-like watercolors, that is, more of light and shadow, and the blended tones of colors. One thing is certain: synesthesia is an extremely personal experience to synesthetes.
On this album, she explores the different synesthetic experiences from a range of composers. For Chai, it is a stream of colors and moods, with the direction from blue to orange. Wollschleger's Blue Inscription, Debussy's slow Étude of fourths and Ligeti's 2nd Étude are for her the blossoming of flowers as seen through the lens of time-lapse photography. The swift brushes of Debussy's eight-finger Étude, the strong colors of Ligeti's vehement Désordre and the spatial, sometimes-floral-sometimes-dark pieces by Kurtág remind her of Chiaroscuro. Akiho's Crimson and Messiaen's orange-infused music bring a kind of euphoria. For Chai, each composer has a highly individual synesthesia with each piece, introducing a different kind of association between sound and color. Her wish is that the listener to explore this music, and discover their own personal synesthesia.
Recorded in 2012 at Patrych Sound Studios, New York, USA