Pianovers Meetup #108 Digest

Pianovers Meetup #108 Digest

It was another delightful Sunday evening at Pianovers Meetup #108. Every Sunday, ThePiano.SG organises an exceptional gathering at The URA Centre where all piano lovers unite for a lovely session of performing piano music, as well as connecting with fellow Pianovers.

Before the evening began, ThePiano.SG Founder Sng Yong Meng had dinner with Elyn Goh and two newcomers - Lowell Tan and Song Yang. We were also pleased to have other newcomers join us after dinner - Wu Mingsong, Juerg, Tanya, Matthew, his mother Joanne and his grandparents, as well as Kendrick's parents. 

It is heart-warming to see our passion and love for piano and music attracting newcomers to join us every Meetup.

Pianovers Meetup #108, Song Yang, and Lowell Tan
Pianovers Meetup #108, Pianovers listening
Pianovers Meetup #108, Amos Ko, and Albert Chan

We also want to thank everyone who brought goodies to share with us! We all enjoy eating them!

It was time for two announcements. Pianovers Meetup #110, on 27 January 2019, will be a Chinese New Year-themed Meetup. Following that, there will be no Meetups for three weeks, on 3, 10 and 17 February 2019, due to Chinese New Year. Pianovers Meetup #111 will resume on 24 February 2019.

Pianovers Talents is coming soon! This new series of events will give more performance opportunities to everyone, so stay tuned!

Pianovers Meetup #108, Gavin Koh performing
Pianovers Meetup #108, Gwen performing
Pianovers Meetup #108, Albert Chan performing

Gavin Koh began the Mini-Recital with his first performance, Black Hole Sun by the American rock band Soundgarden. Chris Cornell, the lead vocalist for Soundgarden, composed this song.

This song became the band's most popular and recognisable song and continued to remain as a well-known song from the 1990s. The "PlayStation 2 - Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock" features this song in its downloadable content library and as a playable track for the TV mode of Guitar Hero Live. Moreover, there is a very likely reference for this song in a section in the Nintendo DS 2008 role-playing video game "Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood" which is titled "Black Hole Sun".

Gavin's choice of song for this Meetup is fascinating as it shows a big contrast from his usual performance pieces. He also shared with us that he hoped to expand his repertoire by exploring new genres. That's good spirit!

Next was Gwen, and she performed Humoresques, Op. 101, No. 7, Poco lento e grazioso (G flat major) by Antonín Dvořák. According to David Hurwitz, the seventh Humoresque is probably the most popular small piano work ever written after Beethoven's "Für Elise". Do you know that this piece became the backdrop for a series of mildly obscene comic verses about passenger train toilets in the United States?

After her first piece, Gwen performed Concerto in A minor, Op. 16, 2nd movt, Adagio by Edvard Grieg and Suite No. 4 in E-flat major, BWV 815, Sarabande by Johann Sebastian Bach. Thank you, Gwen, for the beautiful performances.

Albert Chan performed first 含泪的微笑 by 陈彼德, then 永远的微笑 by 陈歌辛. The latter was composed in 1940 and dedicated to his wife. Although this song was released during World War II, it was not the typical anti-war song. This song, instead, expresses love -- one of the most basic emotions of people across all ages. Initially sung by 周璇 (lady), the lyrics seem to suggest that a male singer would be more suitable, which consequently might lend support towards the popularity of 费玉清’s cover.

Pianovers Meetup #108, Janice Liew performing
Pianovers Meetup #108, Matthew performing
Pianovers Meetup #108, Grace Wong performing

Janice Liew got up to the piano next and played Auld Lang Syne. It is a traditional Scots song performed when the clock strikes twelve on New Year's Eve. It is a way to bid farewell to the old year and is also used as a song at funerals, graduations and farewells. The international Scouting movement across the globe also uses this song to close festivals and celebrations. This song, in fact, was listed in Roud #6294 as part of the Roud Folk Song Index.

Janice performed a second piece, For Our God Is Here, which is her own composition. At ThePiano.SG, we always encourage and support Pianovers in their musical journeys. We occasionally hear original compositions from Pianovers and we are very happy for them. 

Matthew was next, and he performed River Flows In You by Yiruma, whose original name is Lee Ru-ma, and is a South Korean composer and pianist. Yiruma is his stage name. Most people would recognise "Kiss The Rain" and "River Flows In You" as his most famous pieces. They were both compiled in his most popular album, First Love, released in 2001. The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Ontario, Canada has placed Yiruma’s pieces around Grade 7 in terms of their movement and reach.

Matthew then performed a second piece, Partita No. 4 in D Major, BWV 828, Op. 1 No. 4, Aria by Johann Sebastian Bach. Not only were we excited about Matthew joining us today on the  invitation of his piano teacher, Corrine Ying; we were also impressed by his debut performance! Bravo!

Grace Wong was next, and she performed Sonata No. 26 in E-flat, Op. 81a, 1st movt, Das Lebewohl (Les Adieux - The Farewell) by Ludwig van Beethoven, who once commented that the French "Adieux" (said to whole assemblies or cities) is a poor translation of the feeling of the German "Lebewohl" (said heartfully to a single person). As a matter of fact, Beethoven wrote the syllables"Le-be-wohl" over the first three chords. And owing to the mature emotions that must be conveyed throughout the piece, this Sonata is also considered as one of Beethoven's most challenging sonatas.

Pianovers Meetup #108, Yu Teik Lee performing
Pianovers Meetup #108, Rony Ang performing
Pianovers Meetup #108, Leow Hong Ee performing

Yu Teik Lee performed Nostalgy by Olivier Toussaint. After the first piece, he performed another song, Ballade Pour Adeline by Paul de Senneville. Teik Lee shared that he wanted to play these two songs, originally performed by Richard Clayderman, as a tribute to the French pianist who had inspired him to learn to play the piano. 

Next on stage was Rony Ang and he performed 约定 by 王光良, which was composed in 2006, a year after 童话's release, also by 王光良. In fact, 约定 was dubbed by the media as the sequel to 童话.

After his first performance, Rony played a second piece, 约定 by 陈小霞, which was released in 1997, and originally recorded by Faye Wong in Cantonese. The song was later covered in Chinese by 周蕙. There is also another Cantonese version, which was performed by Jackie Cheung during his live concert in 2004. You might have already noticed by now that the titles of both Rony's pieces tonight have exactly the same title!

Leow Hong Ee was up next, and he performed Take Five by Paul Desmond. This song is an original jazz standard recorded by the Dave Brubeck Quartet, and was recorded for the 1959 album, Time Out. Two years after its release, it became the biggest hit and best-selling jazz single, and is known for its catchy blues-scale saxophone melody and unusual quintuple time, from which song's title is derived from.

Take Five is one of the first jazz pieces that Hong Ee learned to play. As a classical pianist, he has always wanted to pick up a new genre of music. He is also currently the president of SMU's very own piano ensemble Ivory Keys. They will be holding a recital this Friday, 18 Jan 2019, at the SMU Arts and Culture Centre at 7:30pm. All the best to you and all the performers! Wishing you all a successful recital!

Pianovers Meetup #108, Max Zheng performing
Pianovers Meetup #108, Kendrick Ong Bing Shao performing
Pianovers Meetup #108, Amos Ko sharing with us

Max Zheng performed Spring by Joe Hisaishi. Released in 2005, the song was part of the "Freedom Piano Stories 4" album. The composer - Joe Hisaishi is a brilliant Japanese composer and music director, who's responsible for more than 100 film scores and solo albums. He is associated with animator Hayao Miyazaki to compose musical scores for most of the latter's animated films. Some of Hisaishi's famous works are "Laputa: Castle in the Sky" (1986), "My Neighbor Totoro" (1988), 'Kiki's Delivery Service" (1989), "Spirited Away" (2001), "Howl's Moving Castle" (2004), "Ponyo" (2008) and "The Wind Rises" (2013).

Kendrick Ong Bing Shao was up next, and he performed a medley of three pieces today - "Perfect" by Ed Sheeran, "Canon in D" by Johann Pachelbel and "I Believe" by Shin Seung Hun. We are thrilled to have his parents present at today's Meetup and it definitely meant a lot to him and us, to have them witnessed him performing for us, and seeing how much he has achieved, and the friends he has made in this piano community.

Amos Ko stepped up and performed Nocturne in E-flat major Op. 9 No. 2 by Frédéric Chopin, which is one of his most beautiful Nocturnes, and perhaps the most famous among them. Indeed, it ranks high in celebrity among all of Chopin’s works. Here's a fun fact - Chopin composed this masterpiece at the age of 20!

Because of its melodious and melancholic tune, it is often played in movies and performed in various styles on different musical instruments. It has also been performed for special occasions such as wedding parties, anniversaries, and luxurious products launch. Even Mao Asada, a Japanese figure skater, used this song in her short program at the 2006/07 and the 2013/14 season!

Amos also shared about his encounter in Canada. He had performed at a church, and after his playing, an old lady came up to him crying. She explained to him that this piece brought back memories of her late husband as they used to listen to this song on their wedding anniversaries.

Pianovers Meetup #108, Wu Mingsong performing
Pianovers Meetup #108, May Ling performing
Pianovers Meetup #108, Jeslyn Peter, Peter Prem, and Joshua Peter performing for us

Wu Mingsong performed The Musician by Kaoru Wada. This song was used in D.Gray-man, which is a manga and anime series created by Katsura Hoshino. It is a series that follows the adventures of an exorcist, Allen Walker and his comrades fighting demons.

Kaoru Wada also composed the soundtracks for other anime shows such as "Mars Daybreak" and "Samurai 7". Today is Mingsong's first time at our Meetup! He was introduced to Pianovers Meetup by Max Zheng. They have been good friends for a long time, and when Mingsong learned about Max's performance in the recent Pianovers Recital 2018 on 28 Dec 2018, he contacted Max to understand further how to join us. 

May Ling was next and she performed Gabriel's Oboe by Ennio Morricone, which was the main theme for the 1986 film, The Mission. This theme has been called "unforgettable" and a "celebrated oboe melody". This song, in fact, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score and earned Morricone the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.

May Ling performed the next song, Il Postino (Titoli) by Luis Enríquez Bacalov.

Last but not least, the Peter family - Peter Prem, Jeslyn Peter, and Joshua Peter - performed Crocodile Rock by Elton John and Bernie Taupin together. This song was composed in 1972. It was also certified Gold on 5 February 1973 and Platinum on 13 September 1995 by the RIAA. In 1974, a lawsuit was filed against Elton John and Bernie Taupin. It was alleged that Crocodile Rock illegally use chords from "Speedy Gonzales", which produced a falsetto tone, into the Crocodile song. Both parties settled the case out of court and the case was dismissed.

Pianovers Meetup #108, Group picture
Pianovers Meetup #108, Grace Wong, and Carin
Pianovers Meetup #108, Pianovers jamming #1

Following the conclusion of the Mini-Recital, the evening moved into the Open Segment. A group photograph was first taken. And for the rest of the evening, Pianovers indulged in connecting with one another, and jamming on the two pianos. There was even singing too!

It was truly an enjoyable evening! See you all in the next Pianovers Meetup!