Helen Jane Long--Extraordinary Piano Music
Helen Jane Long
Soothing and Magical
This is some of the most awesome, relaxing, soothing piano music ever. This woman makes the most enjoyable piano music I have heard in a long time. If music were food, her Porcelain album would be dessert and Porcelain, the signature piece would be chocolate parfait. It is sweet and smooth, good to the last note. I play it over an over again.
I love classical music. Okay, I’m a long-hair, I admit it. Bach, Mozart, Dvorak, Vivaldi, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff, even movie soundtracks from Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. If it is violin music, I have a special fondness but I also like the piano, orchestra, and guitar instrumentals. I especially like music without lyrics because I like to listen while reading or doing art and I find lyrics to be distracting. Helen Jane Long’s music isn’t really classical in the formal sense but it FEELS classical. It is smooth and melodic, perfect for me to create by.
I first heard her signature piece, Porcelain, on Pandora one day and loved it. Like a surprise boyfriend, it was love at first listen. The second time it came up on the rotation, I had heard enough. I went right to iTunes and bought the whole album. There isn’t a bad or less-than piece of music on the whole album. Well worth the money. It is now peppered in my iPod rotation along with the greats, the violinist, Joshua Bell, Yanni, several Philharmonics, and soundtrack artists like Howard Shore, John Williams, and Jerry Goldsmith. If you like instrumentals, whether you are a classical stalker or not, you will love Helen Jane Long.
Helen Jane Long is a popular and versatile British composer who has done work on a number of film and television themes. She was an assistant to Howard Shore, working on the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. This was news to me. And I LOVE that film score. She is the only female composer nominated into the CLASSIC FM Hall of Fame since 2011. She has several contemporary-classical piano albums published but my absolute favorite is Porcelain. She has several live performances scheduled in London and New York. You can visit her website at www.helenjanelong.com.
Do you ever listen to Classical Instrumental music?
What good is instrumental music? I know people who would only listen to classical or instrumental music if they are stuck between floors on an elevator. However, when you are in a creative mood, instrumental music is the best. It speaks to the creative side of the brain, whereas music with lyrics will pull you over to the academic and memory side of the brain, defeating the purpose of encouraging creativity. I find instrumental music is perfect for when I am painting or writing (both needing creative fuel to flourish).
Love Piano MusicClick thumbnail to view full-size
Interview with Helen Jane Long
I found the email address for the music agent for Helen Jane Long on the web site and decided to take a chance on asking if she would be willing to answer some questions for this article. I really feel honored that she took the time to answer my questions. Here they are:
Tell me about your inspiration, or background in music.
I started having lessons aged 5. My first teacher was called Ella, a very strict lady, looked like a grandmother and she had a cat, which used to scratch the furniture. I gained very good reflexes having to move quickly to avoid the flying piano book over my head, which was intended for the cat to stop it attacking the sofa. Ella was an excellent teacher, one that pushed me and because I was scared of her I would practice a lot to please her.
Music inspires me, sounds inspire me, I can hear a sound and get ideas from a simple chance of a plane in the sky sounding against the noise of traffic or workmen; it can be that bizarre. Certain things just trigger the ears to listen. Tunes keep me awake at night and during the creative process, it can be very exhausting, frustrating as well as satisfying.
Your music is classical but not classical. How did you come to create such hauntingly lovely compositions?
I grew up listening to classical and popular music and so I think the two styles just blended together. We would go on holiday and I would fall asleep in the car listening to music and wake up with music playing, so I have always associated music to something calming and relaxing.
Do you have a favorite piece of music or film score?
I have many favorite pieces, but one, in particular, is the score from “The Village”, an M. Night Shyamalan film and music composed by James Newton Howard. It’s an incredibly dark yet beautiful score, which is utterly haunting, yet very simple.
Congrats on being nominated into the Classic FM Hall of Fame. Has this changed anything for you? How do you feel about being an icon for females breaking stereotypes?
I don’t feel like an icon! I love the fact people enjoy listening and playing my piano music. The fact I am female has not been something I have focused on, although I do get asked about it a lot. I passionately feel that male or female, you can achieve what you want with the same thing, hard work, and determination. I do however own a lot of shoes, so not certain I’ve broken that stereotype although I do have lots of technical gadgets too!
What would you like to leave to posterity? Or what would you like people to say about you when you are gone?
I would like them to say Helen gave us music that affected our lives. She made us feel something, an emotion, a feeling that can’t be put into words.
Lovely Music to Play
I feel like I really got to know her through her music and her comments. How would you answer any of these questions yourself? What do you want people to remember about you when you are gone? Like Helen, I want people to say that I affected their lives with my work and my vision. How about you?