Sunday is the day when family and friends come together to spend precious time with each other. This is especially true for Pianovers at ThePiano.SG - Sunday is a day for piano lovers to attend and enjoy a music-filled night with family and friends. Welcome to Pianovers Meetup #102 - a community filled with exceptionally welcoming people of all ages and backgrounds. Whether you're a passionate piano player or you enjoy listening to the beautiful tunes of piano musicology, you are welcome to join us.
As usual, every Sunday, a group of Pianovers meet early to have dinner and bond informally before the programme starts. This evening at Pianovers Meetup #102, we had 2 families - Jason, Sharon and their daughter Sabrina, as well as Lee, Christine and their daughter Tammy Lee, who joined Peter Chin, Ng Mun Yee and ThePiano.SG Founder, Sng Yong Meng, over delicious local food. The group chatted over dinner and had a fantastic time sharing their experiences in piano musicology.
As 6pm rolled around, Pianovers gathered into Urban Park @ URA Centre and started to connect and chat with each other. And what better way to kick off the evening than enjoy some snacks? Thank you, Jiahui, for contributing cold Cheng Tng and others for bringing the goodies! It is undoubtedly a pleasant feeling to see our fellow Pianovers voluntarily bring what they have and share with others. What an amazing start to an enjoyable evening!
It was also very heart-warming to see so many Pianovers wearing the white Pianovers polo shirt and the black Pianovers T-Shirts. This definitely gives us a strong sense of identity. With the launch of new black Pianovers T-Shirts, we are starting to see more Pianovers proudly wearing it like a badge of honour.
If you're interested in being part of the Pianovers Family or keen to be a proponent of piano music, you can now purchase the shirt at ThePiano.SG for $29.90. The T-Shirt features the Pianovers' metronome logo on the front and the hashtag “#pianovers” at the back.
Time for an Announcement! The list of performers for Pianovers Recital is out. All 18 performance slots are already sold out, within a day! We want to thank all of our registered performers for your support. We all look forward to having all of you on the stage very soon.
The Pianovers Recital is a platform for aspiring pianists to perform. They may come from all walks of life, but their passion for music is indisputable. So, come and support the performances by these enthusiastic pianists! A ticket is $12 each. Free seating. Buy now!
This evening’s Mini-Recital was started by Yu Teik Lee, who performed Can't Take My Eyes Off You by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio. This is the first 自弹自唱 ensemble performance. We previously announced that there would be a new format for our Mini-Recital. From Meetup #101 onwards, there can be ensemble performances. That means performers can play the piano and another instrument, including vocals. While we explore the versatility of the piano with additional instruments, the number of such ensemble performances will be capped.
Gavin Koh was up at the piano next, and he played Unforgettable by Irving Gordon, Mona Lisa by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, and Answer Me, My Love by Gerhard Winkler and Fred Rauch. Carl Sigman wrote the lyrics for "Answer Me" in the English language back in 1953. He originally wrote it as a religious-themed song, in which the first line states "Answer me, Lord above" that asked God why the singer has lost his lover. As a matter of fact, BBC banned this song because of its religious-themed lyrics. In response, Sigman rewrote them. Here's a fun fact: Today's selections performed by Gavin were known as the most popular cover versions performed by Nat Cole King.
The next Pianover to perform is Albert. He performed 孟姜女, which is based on the legend of 孟姜女 (Meng Jiang Nü), which is one of the four major love stories in China. This was followed by a sentimental ballad, 鵜戸参り by 小川ロン. This song is based on 鵜戸, a Shinto shrine in Nichinan, which was originally sung by a Japanese group, called Junk (ジャンク) in 1975. Then in 1981, 徐小鳳 (Paula Tsui) released a Cantonese version with the title of 无奈. Furthermore, there's another unpublished work from 1985 of a cover by 邓丽君 (Teresa Teng) on 无奈 that was discovered during her 10-year death anniversary in 2005.
鵜戸参り is about the famous shrine 鵜戸神宮, Udo-jingū, Shinto shrine in Nichinan, Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan, south of Aoshima. It is also known as the only cave shrine that is located on the side of the cliff in Japan as well as the mythical birthplace of Emperor Jimmu's father, Ugayafukiaezu. According to shrine legends, it is the place where the sea goddess Toyotamahime - the mother of Ugayafukiaezu, who built a birth-hut from the feathers of a cormorant. The original legend involves a disastrous divorce of Ugayafukiaezu's parents. Nevertheless, the younger generation perceive it differently. The shrine is famous among young couples who visit in hope for easy childbirth and a happy marriage.
Rony Ang was next at the piano, and he performed 当你孤单你会想起谁 by 施盈伟, which was initially performed by 新少年俱乐部 and then, later covered by 张栋梁. Most people begin to associate this song through 张栋梁 's performance. Tracing back, 新少年俱乐部 was formed around the same time as Taiwanese boy band 小虎队, but sadly, it was disbanded in 1994.
Benyamin Nuss played Paraphrase de concert sur Rigoletto, S.434 by Franz Liszt. Just yesterday, Benyamin performed two sessions with the SSO at Victoria Concert Hall - A New World: Intimate Music From Final Fantasy.
Benyamin learned the piano at the age of 6, and he's half German and half Singaporean. He started performing classical piano which led him to win in the first prize at National Steinway competition back in 2005. Then again, Benyamin won in another first prize at Prix d'Amadeo International piano competition in 2006. He has also released 2 CDs under Deutsche Grammophon label.
Benyamin is a gifted pianist who can perform classical and jazz piano music as well as video game music. Although he played yesterday, he still managed to attend and meet and greet our fellow Pianovers at our meetup. Everyone was excited to have a celebrity among us tonight!
Sabrina Tong then performed Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2 ("Quasi Una Fantasia"), 1st movt by Beethoven. This song was composed more than two centuries ago, in 1801and he dedicated this song to his pupil Countess Giulietta Guicciardi. Although this song is popularly known as "Moonlight Sonata", what some may not know is that Beethoven himself did not give this popular piece the name as we all know today. As a matter of fact, it was named by the German music critic and poet, Ludwig Rellstab, five years after Beethoven’s death.
Following Sabrina was Rowen Wong, who played Yuki no Hana (Snow Flower). Ryouki Matsumoto composed this song, and it is the 10th single performed by Mika Nakashima, a Japanese singer and actress. Did you know that this song was also used as the Meiji body advertisement's theme song, as well as in the Meiji Galbo advertisement?
Moreover, this song became one of the most popular karaoke songs in Japan back in 2004. It was also covered by South Korean male singer Park Hyo Shin, and was part of the popular Korean drama "I'm Sorry, I Love You" soundtrack.
Next to come up to the piano was Tammy Lee, who performed Perfect by Ed Sheeran and The Entertainer by Scott Joplin. Thank you, Tammy, for the beautiful performance as she gained loud applause from the crowd after delivering her performance with such confidence and enthusiasm. Two weeks ago, Tammy and her family first attended the Meetup #100. They also came all the way from Johor Bahru to attend this meetup, and we were thrilled to see Tammy with us again.
It was Erika Iishiba's turn to come up to the piano. She performed Theme from Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467 by Mozart. The second movement, Andante in F major, was highlighted in the 1967 Swedish movie Elvira Madigan. As a result, the song has become widely recognised as the Elvira Madigan concerto. Moreover, Neil Diamond's 1972 song "Song Sung Blue" was based on the theme from the Andante movement of the concerto.
Next up was May Ling, who played Boléro by Maurice Ravel. Originally composed by Ravel, it was a ballet song for Russian actress and dancer Ida Rubinstein. Now, it has become one of the most memorable musical pieces written by him of all time. It was also known to be one of the last pieces he composed before he retired due to illness. Much to his surprise, Boléro became his most famous musical composition; he had assumed that most orchestras would refuse to play it!
Next in turn, was Teo Gee Yong, who performed 说了再见 by 周杰倫 (Jay Chou). This song was featured in the 2010 film 海洋天堂 (Ocean Heaven), starring martial arts superstar Jet Li, who happened to participate in his very first full drama role. Jet Li didn't take any payment for his role in this film, because he hoped that the movie would encourage the people to pay more attention and become more compassionate by donating to charity. He said, "I hope everyone can examine what is the most important relationship in life – the relationship between parent and child".
Janice Liew took the stage as she performed 月亮代表我的心 (The Moon Represents My Heart) by 翁清溪 (Weng Ching-hsi). Back in early Communist China's rules, foreign music was not allowed to be played or brought into the country for a long time. However, this changed in the late 1970s when the country adopted an Open Door Policy. Therefore, 月亮代表我的心 became one of the first famous foreign songs (called gangtai songs) in the country under the new Open Door Policy. The music has been labelled as gangtai songs, a label that combines the Chinese names of this two neighbouring Chinese countries - Taiwan and Hong Kong. This song represented a stark contrast to the songs prevalent before the Open Doors Policy was instituted (the existing songs were often revolutionary songs). Interestingly, Teresa Teng wasn't the original singer for 月亮代表我的心 , and it did not gain fame until her cover version was released. That is undoubtedly the star power of Teresa Teng!
Last but not least, Chris Khoo performed a medley of 我家在那里 by 刘家昌, 夜来香 by 黎锦光 and 上海滩 by 顾家辉. As a surprise entertainment for everyone, he played a musical puzzle and asked everyone to guess the titles of the songs after his performance. What a fun game of “Can you guess this song?” Everyone had a good time trying to figure the titles of the songs.
上海滩 was used as the theme tune in the 1980 Hong Kong TV series of the same title and is also a favourite piece of long-time Pianover Gee Yong, who has played it five times at previous Pianovers Meetup. As a result, Pianovers immediately recognised this song as his signature piece. With that, the Mini-Recital ended, and the Open Segment was initiated with a group picture of everyone who attended today's meetup.
We all were excited to have Benyamin Nuss to be here -- connecting and chatting with many Pianovers! He also performed a few pieces from Final Fantasy. With this, we ended with a hope to have more concert celebrities mingling with our local piano community and connecting with us further.
We look forward to seeing all of you again at next week's Pianovers Meetup!