Art is an expression of our hopes, dreams and ambitions. It can also be a manifestation of our grief, disappointment and sorrows. Karen Biehl’s “Reflections” is a piece that comes in two versions – solo piano and harp/flute. The piece, composed while Karen was confined in her New York City apartment during the Coronavirus lockdown in April 2020, shows how versatile music is as an art form. In “Reflections” is both an utter sadness for the situation in NYC during these difficult times – and a glimmer of hope too, as indicated by the heavenly sound of the harp and flute. This duality makes “Reflections” into a one-of-a-kind release, by one of the finest artists on the New Age music scene.
Reflections – Solo Piano version
I love the way “Reflections” starts, especially the Solo Piano version. As a classical piece, in the style of Ravel and Satie, there’s a story being told almost immediately and we as listeners have to adjust our ears and pay attention.
It is a sad song Biehl has in store for us. It has the atmosphere of a moment when there are no tears left, only a feeling of defeat and utter sorrow fills the room. The song is only 1 minute and 55 seconds long, but Biehl manages to tell a lot. Notice the change in atmosphere in the middle. Here are the reflections, happy memories intertwined with a feeling that such events may never happen again. People are gone, society changes, time has passed.
I like how the song almost stops, then continues – almost like an afterthought. The ending seems final, a bit abrupt. The moment for reflections has passed. The arrangement fits the song very well. This is not material for a grand concert piano recorded with a live audience. It is the sound of Covid19, a home recording that tells a story of its own.
Reflections – Harp and Flue
There’s something about the harp that always makes us look up and expect that something divine is going to unfold before our very eyes. It is something we have learned from Renaissance paintings and the age-old image of harp-playing angels. “Reflections” with harp doesn’t seem as sad. The sadness is more on a grand scale, something that we humans cannot fully comprehend.
The flute sounds magnificent! It is an inspired duet that lifts the song to new heights, thanks to the high notes in the middle. It is beautiful beyond words.
In conclusion: These last few months have changed the world in many ways. “Reflections” by Karen Biehl captures the atmosphere of the Coronavirus lockdown. The two different versions tell two different stories, which make this single into something truly unique and inspired. “Reflections” is a lasting testament of this dark period in our history.
For more information and music samples, visit maestramusica.com