It was another enjoyable Sunday evening at The URA Centre where a group of Pianovers gathered for Pianovers Meetup #109. This gathering is a part of the weekly get-together of a group of passionate piano lovers bonded by a universal love for the piano.
Before the Mini-Recital started, ThePiano.SG Founder Sng Yong Meng had dinner with Elyn Goh, Zafri Zackery, Lim Ee Fong, Song Yang, Gavin Koh and his daughter, Emmy. With tummies filled, the dinner group trooped back to The URA Centre, where they were joined by other Pianovers. We thank the Pianovers for contributing goodies. They were delicious!
It is nice to see children playing and chatting. Developing social skills and interacting with other people is part of the whole experience we want young Pianovers to gain at our Meetups. This evening, we were happy to see I-Wen and Emmy playing together and Emmy happily enjoying the company of Zafri and Elyn.
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.
Yong Meng also officially announced the launch of Pianovers Talents. Pianovers Talents is about supporting our fellow aspiring musicians' progress and their pursuit of musical passion. Now, musicians can perform at our recitals through solo, duet or ensemble on a grand piano or any other instruments (e.g. violin, guzheng, vocals), in a formal recital environment, and gain authentic performance experience!
Whether you're a music teacher, parent, or musician - your students, children, or even yourself can use this platform to boost confidence in public performances, dress rehearsals for upcoming exams and recitals as well as grow bigger performing portfolios.
Not only you will get a high-resolution photograph and a video recording of your performance, you will also be given with a Certificate of Achievement, and your name will be published in Pianovers Talents News.
Without further ado, Grace Wong began the Mini-Recital with her performance, Sonata No. 26 in E-flat major, Op. 81a, 2nd movt, Abwesenheit (L'Absence - The Absence) by Ludwig van Beethoven. This sonata is known to be one of Beethoven's most challenging sonatas, where one must convey his or her mature emotions throughout the performance. In today's Meetup, she completed the sonata with the second movement. In previous Meetups, Grace performed the first and third movements.
Next on stage was Gavin Koh who played Hit the Road Jack by Percy Mayfield and Miss Celie's Blues (Sister) by Quincy Jones and Rod Temperton. The latter is from a film, The Color Purple (1985) by Steven Spielberg. This song was composed in a blues/ragtime style. In the movie, the song is sung by Shug to Celie, and it portrays the sister relationship blossoming between the two women. This song is so remarkably breathtaking in its tune that it became a concert piece independently of the song and the unofficial anthem of the African-American lesbian community.
Pek Siew Tin and Kelvin Sim performed 牧羊曲 by 王立平 and 城里的月光 by 陈佳明. This is the first time we saw a piano and erhu duo since we introduced ensemble performances from Meetup #101. It is truly fascinating to hear how erhu adds a different layer to the piano part. Today's Meetup was also Kelvin's debut performance with us, and we hope to see him teaming up with more Pianovers in the future.
Next was Albert Chan, who performed 蓝色的梦 by 曾仲影 and 蓝色的忧郁 by 严冬生. Since Albert joined Pianover Meetups, he has played 144 pieces and clocked a total of 305 minutes in performance time. Although Pianover Profiles are now listed based on performance duration as opposed to the number of pieces, Albert continues to lead the chart. His passion and love for playing the piano are undeniable!
Chia I-Wen was next on stage, and she performed Musette in D by JS Bach. It is definitely great to see I-Wen back with us again, since her last performance at Pianovers Recital 2018, which happened three weeks ago. Yong Meng then shared two pictures of I-Wen that were very beautifully captured during the event in December with fellow Pianovers. We are all very proud of I-Wen and gave her a loud applause.
Jenny Soh went up to the stage next and performed 7 Years From Today by Olivia Lim. This song was composed by her student, Olivia, who studies music composition under her. It is interesting to see a piano teacher performing her own student's work. It shows her strong support for her student as well as giving the student a sense of recognition and encouragement she clearly deserves.
Next was Yu Teik Lee, and he performed 淘汰 by 周杰倫 (Jay Chou). This song was published in 2007 and issued in 陈奕迅 (Eason Chan)'s album "认了吧". This piece also marks the first time Jay Chou and Eason Chan worked together. Its popularity, in fact, is evident from its many covers, including those by 容祖儿, 张智霖, 赵学而, and 许志安. Yu Teik Lee then performed a second piece, 失落沙洲 by 徐佳莹.
Rowen Wong performed "Something Stupid" by C. Carson Parks. This song was initially recorded by Parks and his wife Gaile Foote in 1966. This song, however, is best remembered by listeners who enjoyed the 1967 cover version by Frank Sinatra and his daughter Nancy Sinatra. The 1967 version reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In 2001, another cover version, Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman, reached number one in the UK Singles Chart.
After Rowen's turn, Amos Ko went up to the stage and played Nocturne in C# minor, Op. Post., KK IVa, No. 16 by Frédéric Chopin. This piece was composed as an exercise for his sister to practice before she began to study his second Concerto. It was also an act of dedication to his sister.
Moreover, there is a history to this piece. Holocaust survivor Natalia Karp famously played this piece. She was sent to a Nazi concentration camp after the death of her husband in 1943's bombing raid. Amon Göth, the commandant of the Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp, commanded her to play for him on his birthday and was very impressed by her performance of this nocturne. He spared both her and her sister's lives.
Jonathan Lam was next. He performed Eight Concert Etudes for Piano in E minor, Op. 40 No. 2 ‘Reverie’ by Nikolai Kapustin, who was a Russian composer and pianist. He studied piano with Avrelian Rubakh. Rubakh also studied under Felix Blumenfeld, who was also the teacher of two other pianists, Simon Barere and Vladimir Horowitz.
Next up was May Ling. She performed That's Amore by Harry Warren and Volare by Domenico Modugno. The second piece was published in 1958. The word 'Volare' in English translation is ‘to fly’. After its original release, several other versions were immediately recorded and released. For example, Dean Martin covered this version with a half-English version of the song in 1958.
On 4th May 1959, during the 1st Grammy Awards at Hollywood's Beverly Hilton Hotel, Volare ("Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu") received two awards, for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. This song, in fact, was the only foreign-language recording to achieve this recognition.
Peter Prem and Jeslyn Peter were up next. They performed Do-Re-Mi by Richard Rodgers. This piece is a show tune from 1959 popular musical, The Sound of Music. In this musical narrative, Maria von Trapp, whose memoir provided the inspiration for this musical, uses this tune to teach the notes of the main musical scale to the children who learn to sing for the first time, even though their father wanted no outright fun in the family after their mother's death. "Each syllable of this musical solfège system appears in the song's lyrics, sung on the pitch it names."
Grace Leong and Joshen Lee performed 三手联弹 by 周杰倫 (Jay Chou). Grace and Joshen are from SMU's Piano Ensemble (Ivory Keys). This is the first time they teamed up together to do a duet together since they joined Ivory Keys! Grace then played a solo. She performed Tennessee (from "Pearl Harbor") by Hans Zimmer.
Ang Hua Shin was next, and he performed Nocturne in E-flat major Op. 9 No. 2 by Frédéric Chopin. It was a pity that we couldn't have the good fortune to listen to Hua Shin's rendition properly, as ongoing fireworks were going off throughout his performance. Nevertheless, Pianovers gave him loud applause despite all the noises and disturbances as he did his best to deliver a good performance! Fortunately, our microphone placed behind the piano was able to record his performance as most of the fireworks noise was filtered out!
Ang Hua Jun was up next, and he played three pieces, all of which are his original compositions. He is also the elder brother of Hua Shin. These three pieces, however, were not named yet and was written for a musical that is also not named yet. We were honoured to listen first-hand to these pieces today, ahead of their public release! We look forward to the completion of these pieces and the musical! (Piece 1, Piece 2, Piece 3)
Following the conclusion of the Mini-Recital, the evening moved into the Open Segment. Without delay, everyone took a group picture as a form of remembrance for today's Meetup. For the rest of the evening, Pianovers indulged in connecting with one another and jamming on the two pianos. Pianovers were also jamming using the Erhu and ukelele! At one point, Lim Ee Fong played on the ukelele as Kenneth Guan played on the piano. That evening also saw a crowd gathering as Carin and Grace Leong played their pieces. It is incredible to see Pianovers building bonds that last a long time. Their passion passion for the piano is admirable.
See all of you again at Pianovers Meetup #110!