Ray Chen: How I played The Song of Names

Ray Chen: How I played The Song of Names


norman lebrecht

December 17, 2019

The Taiwan-Australian violinist features on the soundtrack of the movie of my first novel, which opens in the US on December 25.

The recording has just been released by Decca and the score, by Howard Shore, is being tipped for some very major awards.

Ray offers this insight into the soundtrack recording:

The soundtrack to the upcoming movie “Song of Names” composed by award winning composer Howard Shore (and directed by Francois Girard) has been released today across all streaming platforms.

Set around the events of World War 2, the film focuses a lot on violin, and every single violin sound you hear in the film is played by yours truly 🎻😁 In fact I even borrowed a few 3/4 size instruments so that I could better emulate the young main character’s sound.

l-r: Girard, Chen, Shore



  • Joel Stein says:

    Congrats Norman!!

  • Calvin says:

    Coincidentally, I just finished the novel not knowing that a movie was in the works. I look forward to it.

  • WOW! Congrats Norman!

  • André says:

    Now that has to be just so rewarding!

  • Mick says:

    Is my name in the song?

  • lori says:

    The film is gorgeous, a real tribute to Norman’s book, and Ray Chen plays beautifully and sincerely.

  • JamesM says:

    Wonderful Norman!
    When might we expect a release of the movie in Canada?

  • Heartiest & Happy Merry Christmas Congratulations, dear Norman Lebrecht, especially on a momentous Opening Day, December 25th, 2019, Christmas Day, of your Book now
    Movie!!!!!! How fabulous is this!?? (I’ll send you some cookies someday!!! Love ASM’s
    tactic’s re John Williams), whom I met in JFK Int’l Airport, carrying my double violin case,
    while waiting for our Pan Am Jet to get a new engine attached as the bad one had fallen
    off & we, then not many passengers, were treated to coffee & breakfast tasties while we waited about 4 hours before boarding the flight from NY’s JFK to Heathrow! At the time, John Williams, came over to my table & asked about my case! Long Story short:JW gave
    me his Card with a London number saying to ring him re a Movie needing a violinist, and
    studying intently with Nathan Milstein, at that point in time (January, 1971), I was afraid
    to ring him fearing Mr. Milstein would be upset with me if I went off to play some violin
    solo’s for a Movie which became a huge box office hit ~ Yikes!!! Sticking to Brahms, I’ve
    often regretted not ringing a younger Johnny Williams, but love Isaac Stern’s marvellous
    violin solo’s!!!! One lives and learns, sometimes painfully ~ It seems crossing over is now
    A Okay!! E.M./ Chicago

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Thank you, Elizabeth. What a lovely reminiscence.

    • V. Lind says:

      Idiosyncratic plural formation. “Cookies,” “”tasties” and “passengers” all correct, but when it comes to “tactic” and “solo” you seem to feel obliged to put in an apostrophe. DON’T. There are NEVER apostrophes in the formation of simple English plurals — NEVER, NEVER, NEVER. I don’t know where this abominable and all too pervasive practice has come from.

  • Frankie says:

    anyone know where i can find the sheet music for the theme song song of names?