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Album Review: Dare to Dream
Wendi Shi
Cover image of the album Dare to Dream by Wendi Shi
Dare to Dream
Wendi Shi
2016 / Wendi Shi Music
39 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Dare to Dream is the third album from pianist/composer Wendi Shi. Shi’s music blends elements of traditional composition with folk songs to create an ambience that is familiar yet original. She composes in a variety of genres that include new age, easy listening, and game audio. Her music has been used in podcasts, tutorials, visual novels and other interactive media. Shi incorporates cultural elements from around the world into her music and artwork and considers it her life’s work to “express those emotions and feelings that can only be conveyed through music.” I really like this quote from an introductory email Shi recently sent me: “Music has always purified my mind and soul, and I seek to heal the world, one song at a time.” You go, girl! Shi’s music is very serene and graceful, and I have no doubt that it can create a very healing atmosphere and a calming mood. I’d love to hear especially the solos played on a grand piano as the electronic keyboard she uses is a bit tinny. I know that not everyone can hear this, but Shi’s lovely music really deserves first class instrumentation. Some of the twelve pieces on the album are solo piano and some are more orchestrated - mostly with (synth) strings and piano. All are very peaceful and composed at an unhurried tempo, and some hint at a touch of magic.

Dare to Dream begins with “Whither Must I Wander,” a wistful piece for piano and strings that could be the soundtrack to a daydream on a spring afternoon. “Memories” is a very sweet and gentle piano solo - definitely reflecting on happy memories! Also a piano solo, “Blossoming Romance” is a tender love song with an Asian influence - a favorite! “Promise of a Lifetime” would be beautiful played at a wedding - I’d love to hear it with acoustic piano and cello! “Sunset” is another favorite. Poignant and just a little bit sad, it could be about a “sunset” in life as well as the sun going down in the evening - very beautiful! There are two versions of “Solitude” on the album - one is solo piano and one is orchestrated with a variety of instruments (not just strings, and I don’t hear any piano). It must be one of Shi’s most popular pieces, as it has also been released as a single. “Autumn” has appeared on all three albums and is a gorgeous piano solo with a dreamy, slightly bittersweet feeling. “Love Grows” reminds me just a little of some of Kevin Kern’s more romantic melodies. “Moonlit Night” is another favorite. Peaceful yet mysterious, it’s perfect in its brevity (a little more than a minute and a half). “Unfinished Story” gracefully brings this very soothing album to a peaceful close - most likely to be finished (or continued) at a later time!

Dare to Dream has some very elegant and beautiful moments, and I look forward to hearing more of Wendi Shi’s music in the future. The album is available from www.wendishimusic.com, Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby.
March 23, 2017