MY STORY On March 28, 1991, on the South Side of Chicago, a dissatisfied customer, armed with a gun, shot the owner of a coin laundry store. The store owner died instantly by a single bullet. This single bullet was so powerful that it not only killed the innocent, hardworking man, but it also destroyed the happiness and liveliness of his wife and their five young children he left behind for many years to come. Itâ€™s been 25 years since this bullet was buried, but deep inside the hearts of the wife and children, it still exists every day. The store owner was my father. His name was Kyungho Lee. When tragedy strikes unexpectedly, whether it is senseless gun violence, terminal illness, an accident, or even natural death, what unfolds thereafter is the heartbreak and devastation to the affected families. Some may withdraw, distancing themselves from relationships, and fall into a world of desolation. My father was a talented man who loved the clarinet. As a child, I learned to play the clarinet through him and I loved imitating everything he did. But, when he was suddenly taken away, the world did not make any sense and I became confused, resentful, and detached. In moments of solitude, a glimpse of his photo or even looking at my clarinet brought back the harsh reality that he will never return. As time passed, I fell into my own pit of despair. Everyoneâ€™s story is different and we grieve privately in our own ways. I wanted an escape from this constant sadness and run away from anything that reminded me of his tragic death. For some time, I even turned away from playing my clarinet and my life was without music. Time doesnâ€™t heal wounds; it only fades memories. So how do we move on? Perhaps one way to help us break out of this vicious cycle is through the power of music.
Solace is a personal musical healing project I created to finally bring closure and to commemorate the 25th anniversary of my fatherâ€™s passing. Words of condolence were not enough to alleviate the painful heart. But in those moments of sorrow and loneliness, my heart was calling for music. Listening to familiar melodies from my childhood and embracing the sheer beauty of music brought comfort, lifted my spirits and empowered me to break away from the vicious cycle of sorrow to seek compassion, forgiveness, appreciation and love. By sharing my story, I hope to be a voice for millions of people that are suffering silently. Although I can never forget what happened to my father, this CD serves as a tangible reminder for me to stop holding on to the past and move on. As we move through various stages of grieving through this musical sharing, I pray for the power of music to bring healing and guide you in discovering your own path to finding solace.
A MUSICAL JOURNEY… I open SOLACE with Maurice Ravel’s Kaddish from his Deux Mélodies Hébraïques. Kaddish is a Hebrew chant, a prayer to show honor and surrender to the Almighty God who is the all sovereign, the creator of the universe, the Alpha and the Omega. Kaddish is not about death but rather about giving praise to God in all circumstances. Through Kaddish, I am reminded that our brief time on earth is infinitesimal in the scope of the vastness of eternity and that despite the loss of a loved one, God, in His omnipresence, is the author of all that happens in everyone’s life, even the tragedies. The heavenly setting in Ave Maria-Meditation by Gounod, based on J.S. Bach’s Prelude in C Major from the Well-Tempered Clavier, allows us to encounter a glimpse of pure serenity, the kind of calmness you encounter when meditating. Then the emotional melodic line in Pagina d’Album by Michele Mangani opens up a collection of memories from our album of life-- filled with personal snapshot moments of love, joy, romance, discoveries, and achievements--which fills our hearts with meaning and purpose. In Henry Purcell’s hauntingly beautiful aria, When I Am Laid in Earth, Dido’s plea before taking her last breath is for the living to remember her, but to forget her fate as she ends her life tragically by suicide. Recently, I became aware that I was so focused on the disturbing image of the way my father died that it overshadowed many fond memories of his fun and energetic character, his creativity, and what a vital member he was to his community. This music allowed me to realize that my father also would have wanted us to remember him for who he was when he was alive, not the way he died.
L’Adieu is a very short yet powerfully emotional composition by an inspiring Mexican film music composer, Ernesto Cortazar. Many of his compositions seem to evoke much of our inner turmoil and vulnerability, perhaps due to his personal experience enduring a tough journey in life after losing both of his parents in an auto accident at age 13. I am inspired by the fact that, despite his circumstances, he went on to become an extremely successful film music composer, who touched many people’s hearts through his music. Similarly, Ave Maria by Vladimir Vavilov echoes the grief and unbelievable pain of remorse and regret of what could have been or should have been, and depicts the feelings of chaos and the uncertainty of what lies ahead. The weeping Lacrymosa is from W.A. Mozart’s Requiem, a work that Mozart is believed to have started writing for his own funeral, but it’s unclear who actually finished it after his death. Regardless, Lacrymosa works poignantly in guiding the mourner to a sense of closure. Listening to Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 by Heitor Villa-Lobos, one may start reminiscing about precious moments in the past, which can also quickly turn into frustration and anger. After my father was killed, I often got wrapped up in the whirlwind of provoking thoughts, trying to seek answers to desperate questions like “Why did this happen to us?” From this song’s text, “... All birds become silent to the Moon’s complaints and the Sea reflects its great splendor…” I am reminded that I must also choose to cease my sadness and mournful complaining and choose to see the beauty of life in its greatest splendor as from above. Danny Boy, the traditional Irish tune, is one of the most inspiring timeless tunes that touches us in many different ways. As a child, I heard my father play this tune many times on the clarinet, and the sheer simplicity and familiarity of this tune always brings me comfort.
A Story of Ups and Downs is a theme song from an original musical composed by Hin Lee, a musical angel from the Arts with the Disabled organization based in Hong Kong. This music breathed new life in me and pulled me away from resignation and cynicism at the very moment when I needed it. Life is truly full of stories of ups and downs. At one point, I had my epiphany and finally realized that I am the only one who can take off my own mask of endless self pity. This choice was always there. Thank you, Hin Lee, for your inspiration. Gagopa (Wishing to Return) is a beloved Korean song composed by Dong-Jin Kim. The lyrical melody line depicts a soldier longing to return to his homeland and to his old friends. This song has a special place in my heart as it was my father’s favorite song. The last time I performed this song, it was with a mournful heart at my father’s funeral. Twenty-five years later, by recording and releasing this special song, I’m sharing his beloved music with the world. May he rest in peace. A new beginning! On Wings of Song, by Felix Mendelssohn, brightly shines, as if to shower us with a glittering fresh start. And as we begin to let go and start reconstructing our lives, perhaps a pure, angelic, prayer-like composition such as Ave Maria-Adagio for Strings by Michele Mangani can guide us to see the silver lining shining through and allow forgiveness and hope to arise. The famous Over the Rainbow by Harold Arlen from the movie The Wizard of Oz touches so many people’s hearts as it symbolizes everyone’s dream to be “some place where there isn’t any trouble.” Upon hearing or singing this song, my wish is for all our sorrows to be magically washed away, even for a brief moment, and for our troubles to be replaced with calmness and serenity. Grieving is a necessary process which leads us to self-healing and letting go. As we listen to Reflections by Adrienne Albert, may we accept and embrace life with joy once again and choose to see our unexpected circumstances from a broader perspective.
As a young Christian girl growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, I used to sing and listen to My Peace by Keith Routledge countless times without really comprehending what “peace” really meant. The song is based on a Bible verse from John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. With humility, I’m able to understand the meaning of peace that’s used in this context. I close my musical offering with Bach’s Sleepers Awake. As we listen to this uplifting music, my hope is for the power of music to soften the hardened hearts and to awaken our listening to hear the heavenly whispers within us. In so doing, I pray for everyone to discover a way to tap into their own passion, whether it’s music, art, volunteering or whatever fulfills them, and use it to make a difference in their own life and for those in need.
SEUNGHEE LEE clarinet Accomplished clarinetist and international recording artist Seunghee Lee brings a vivacious energy, an exquisite elegance and extraordinary precision to her musical endeavors. Uncompromising in both talent and tenacity, Seunghee Lee is applauded for her expressive playing style, masterful technical skill, and silky, nuanced tone. Ms. Lee’s debut album Brava was produced by multi-Grammy Award winning producer Joanna Nickrenz together with legendary recording engineer Marc Aubort of Elite Recordings in New York City. Upon the album’s release, through Summit Records in 2000, she was highlighted as one of ‘Top 30 Classical Stars Under 30’ by San Francisco’s KDFC radio. Pursuing her passion for recordings, Seunghee Lee went on to release Embrace (2011) and Hidden Treasures (2013), featuring premiere recordings of some of the most beautiful and heartwarming classical compositions, originally written for voice, strings, and piano. Embrace climbed up the HMV Classical Charts to number 4 in Hong Kong, while Hidden Treasures, her first independently release album, achieved even greater heights by climbing to number 2 on Hong Kong Records’ “Top 10 Classical and Jazz Charts” and was featured as “CD of the Week” in many classical radio stations around the world, including KDFC (San Francisco), WSCL (Maryland), Symphony 92.4 (Singapore) and Fine Music Radio (Cape Town, South Africa). Ms. Lee’s recordings continue to gain worldwide recognition through numerous airplays on major radio stations in many countries.
In recent years, Ms. Lee’s exploration of the world of cinema music led her to an unprecedented collaboration with the world-renowned Andrea Morricone, the composer of the timeless Love Theme from Cinema Paradiso, an iconic Italian film which won the BAFTA and the Golden Globe Awards. In a unique full length benefit concert, she appeared as the soloist, with Maestro Morricone conducting several of his world-premiere arrangements for clarinet and orchestra, including the Love Theme from Cinema Paradiso, Ennio Morricone’s Gabriel’s Oboe, Nino Rota’s Godfather, Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer, Ryuichi Sakamoto’s The Sheltering Sky and many more cinema scores. Also a passionate and highly skilled golfer, Seunghee Lee (a.k.a. Sunny Kang) spoke at TEDx Hong Kong about the surprising similarities between golf and music and the mental challenges of viewing both skills through the lens of a perfectionist. At her core, Ms. Lee is passionate about using her music to bring comfort and healing to those silently suffering from personal tragedies. She is the founder of Concert for Cause, an intimate home-concert series dedicated to shining a light on current humanitarian issues and on the worthy organizations working to resolve them. Ms. Lee believes that each individual can contribute to the betterment of our society, and she is devoted to using the power of music as a catalyst to awaken the goodness and the philanthropic hearts inside everyone. In short, she believes in making a difference, one concert at a time. Ms. Lee received her Bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music, studying with Charles Neidich and Eli Eban, and her Master’s degree and Artist Diploma from the Yale School of Music, studying with David Shifrin. Ms. Lee grew up in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, near Chicago, and recently, she and her family moved back to the U.S. after living in Hong Kong for the past 10 years. She currently resides in New York City.
EVAN SOLOMON piano Pianist Evan Solomon has appeared in chamber music and vocal recitals in France, Germany, China, Japan, Korea, and throughout the United States. His exceptionally wide repertoire has led to frequent engagements as official pianist at events such as the Hannover International Violin Competition, the International Viola Congress, the West Point Clarinet Summit, and the Starling-DeLay Violin Symposium. Mr. Solomon’s performances as faculty artist of the Great Mountains Music Festival in Korea have been heard on the Korean Broadcasting System and National Public Radio’s “Performance Today” in America. Additional television credits include appearances on Arts & Entertainment Network’s “Breakfast with the Arts” with violinist Sarah Chang and cellist Han-Na Chang, and “Live from Lincoln Center: Perlman at the Penthouse” on the Public Broadcasting System (USA). His recordings with tenor Michael Sells and clarinettist Seunghee Lee have received wide critical acclaim. Evan Solomon began his piano studies with Olga Radosavljevich at the Cleveland Institute of Music. A graduate of Grinnell College with a major in mathematics, he received the Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California as a student of Brooks Smith. Mr. Solomon has been on the accompanying staff of the Juilliard School since 1986.
DEDICATION I wish to dedicate SOLACE to my mother, my family and all the victims of gun violence. Do not be silent! We must come together to prevent such tragedies from happening to others.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS A very special thanks to Michele Mangani, Adrienne Albert and Hin Lee for their wonderful compositions for this project. To Evan Solomon, for his sensitive musicianship and a big heartfelt gratitude to Marc Aubort, my recording engineer and my guardian angel who has never stopped believing in me. To my husband, Sung Kang, who has been the pillar in my life from the day I met him.
CREDITS Producer: Seunghee Lee Recording Engineer 1: Marc Aubort Recording Engineer 2: Kenneth Candelas Audio Engineer: Bill Siegmund Editing: Bill Siegmund/Seunghee Lee Source: 24bit 44khz Tascam HD P2 Recorded: DDD Recorded Dates: November 16- 19, 2015 Location: St. Peterâ€™s Church, NYC
Mastering: Digital Island Studios, LLC Audio Production: Digital Island Studios, LLC (digital-island-studios.com) Composers: Michele Mangani (www.michelemangani.it) Adrienne Albert: (www.adriennealbert.com) Hin Lee: (www.adamartscreation.com)
Silverstein Ligature: Maestro (10K Gold Ligature) (www.silversteinworks.com) Piano: Steinway & Sons (Model D) Photographer: Melanie Aldridge (www.melaniealdridge.com) Graphic Design: Dan Traynor (www.danieltraynor.com)
solace s e u n g h e e l e e , clarinet e v a n s o l o m o n , piano
KADDISH [5:10] Maurice Ravel (1875–1937) 2. AVE MARIA (Bach) [2:41] Charles Gounod (1818–1893) 3. PAGINA D’ALBUM [3:17] Michele Mangani (1966–) 4. WHEN I AM LAID IN EARTH [3:38] 1.
Henry Purcell (1659–1695)
L’ADIEU [2:17] Ernesto Cortazar (1940–2004) 6. AVE MARIA (Caccini) [4:10] Vladimir Vavilov (1925–1973) 7. LACRYMOSA [3:09] 5.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791)
BACHIANAS BRASILEIRAS NO.5 [5:31]
Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) (arr . Solomon)
DANNY BOY [3:00] Traditional Irish Tune 10. A STORY OF UPS AND DOWNS [3:47] Hin Lee (1985–) 11. GAGOPA [3:50] Dong-Jin Kim (1913–2009) 12. ON WINGS OF SONG [2:35] Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847) 13. AVE MARIA - ADAGIO for STRINGS [2:17] Michele Mangani (1966–) 14. OVER THE RAINBOW [3:25] Harold Arlen (1905–1986) 15. REFLECTIONS [2:32] Adrienne Albert (1941–) 16. MY PEACE [2:20] Keith Routledge (1936–) 17. SLEEPERS AWAKE [3:06] J.S. Bach (1685–1750) 9.
TOTAL TIME: [57:00] © 2016 SEUNGHEE LEE WWW.SEUNGHEE.COM