ThePiano.SG’s mission is to create a community of like-minded piano lovers in Singapore. Since the company’s formation in 2015, it has embarked on a series of initiatives towards this end. Far from being an online portal, ThePiano.SG actively conducts events that have brought not only pianists but also non-pianists together on a common platform. The weekly Pianovers Meetup is one such event. Happening every Sunday at Piano Park @ URA Centre, this evening gathering is a melting pot of experienced pianists, novice players, as well as people who do not know the piano but nevertheless love piano music. These weekly Meetup sessions have created a sizeable following, with people returning week after week to play, to bond and to network. Sometimes, Pianovers bring their families and friends along, adding to the fun!
At the stipulated starting time of 5pm, some Pianovers arrived to have dinner at the nearby Maxwell Road Food Centre. This evening, we were fortunate to have with us Winny, her husband Hiro, as well as their daughter Erika. We also had with us Olivia, a newcomer, as well as Wayne, Zafri, and a mother-and-son team, Riana and Jovan. In addition, we had newcomers Karen and her daughter Shayna. Erika, Olivia, Wayne and Jovan would play later this evening.
This evening’s Mini-Recital, which got the evening going, featured many classical pieces. This was in contrast to the previous events, which saw a good mix of classical as well as contemporary pieces, including Chinese classics.
David started the Mini-Recital with Impromptu in A flat major, Op. 90 No. 4 by Franz Schubert. This piece was special because although it was written in A-flat major, it begins in A-flat minor. The Impromptus belong to a series of eight pieces for solo piano composed in 1827. They were published in two sets of four impromptus each. The first two pieces in the first set were published as Op. 90 while Schubert was still alive. The second set, however was published posthumously as Op. 142 in 1839.
Erika played Allegro con spirito: 1st movt from Sonata in Bb, Op. 24. An ABRSM Grade 8 examination piece, this composition was composed by Jan Ladislav Dussek. Dussek was a Czech composer and pianist who was well-known for his technical prowess. Dussek was known for something unique. He was the first pianist to play with his profile to the audience. Following Dussek’s action, all subsequent pianists followed suit, leading to the sitting arrangement that we are familiar with today.
Siew Tin came up next and true to her passion, she performed a Chinese classic, 希望 (大长今) by 李泰祥. "希望" was used in the 2003 Korean television series 大长今 (Jewel in the Palace). This popular television series was based on the true account of Jang Geum, the first female Royal Physician in the ancient Joseon Dynasty. It recounts the story of a female, orphaned cook who diligently learns Korean cooking and medicine so that she can cure the King. Through Jang Geum’s story, the drama series portrays the important quality of perseverance. Siew Tin also performed a second piece, 今宵多珍重 by 王福龄.
Brandon, another Pianover, played three pieces this evening. The first was Two Little Ducks. This was followed by an 1850 composition belonging to Stephen Foster, De Camptown Races. This song inspired the song, Two World Wars and One World Cup, sung by supporters of the England national football team when their team played Germany on the field. The chant has its roots in the United Kingdom's victories in the First and Second World Wars. It is also associated with England's 4-2 victory against West Germany in the 1966 FIFA World Cup.
Finally, Brandon played Grandfather's Clock by Henry Clay Work. This 1876 composition tells the story of a grandfather clock, told from a small boy’s perspective. This innocently-looking clock first arrives on the same day as the birth of the boy’s grandfather and works perfectly for ninety years. Strangely enough, this clock seems to have a life of its own, associating itself closely with its owner. It rings 24 chimes when the grandfather gets married and brings his wife into the house. Later, as the elderly man is dying, the clock rings an eerie alarm, upon which the family members gather by his deathbed. Following his demise, the clock never works again.
We were glad to see Loga again tonight. Loga last joined us eight months ago at Meetup #27. Tonight, she played Sonata in B minor, K.27 by Domenico Scarlatti. Scarlatti is known as a Baroque-era composer and influenced the advancement of the Classical style. Known for his 555 keyboard sonatas, Scarlatti was one of the few Baroque composers to transition into the Classical period.
Next up at the piano was Albert, one of our regular members. Albert is very helpful as he has been helping to pack the equipment after every Meetup session. Tonight, he played two pieces, "忘了我是谁" by 许瀚君, as well as "踏浪" by 古月. Published in 1980, "踏浪" was originally sung by 沈雁. It is also known as a popular children’s song.
Grace played Prelude, Op. 28, No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4, by Chopin. Between 1835 and 1839, when Chopin possessed a copy of Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, he composed his 24 Preludes, Op. 28, covering all the major and minor keys.
Jovan performed Arabesque, Op. 100, No. 2 by Johann Friedrich Franz Burgmüller, who had written 25 etudes for the piano. Usually, new pianists find it boring to do finger technical exercises by Czerny and Hanon. However, in Burgmüller's 25 Etudes, the études inspire creativity in the players, which makes things interesting for them.
Jovan also performed Tale As Old As Time by Alan Menken. "Tale as Old As Time" is the theme song from "Beauty and the Beast", the Disney animation film recounting the relationship between its two main characters, Belle and the Beast. Initially very different, they learn to change each other for the better. The famous piece is played during the ballroom sequence and the lyrics allude to the timeless nature of love. "Tale As Old As Time" was ranked #62 in the American Film Institute list of the top 100 songs.
Wayne played Seven Coloured Symphony (from Your Lie in April) by コアラモード ("Coalamode"). "Your Lie in April" is a Japanese anime featuring the world of piano prodigy Kousei Arima. Once a well-known child musician, he suffers a mental breakdown following the death of his mother. From then on, he is no longer able to hear the sound of piano and lives a life of despair. His fate changes when a pretty violinist, Kaori Miyazono, appears in his life and helps him return to the world of music.
Olivia was next at the piano and she played Daydreaming by Radiohead. "Daydreaming" was published in May 2016. Even though the song starts in a normal fashion, it ends in an unusual way, with reversed and slowed vocals. Strangely enough, when the last 30 seconds of the song is played reversed, listeners would seem to hear the singer sing "Half of my life" or "I’ve found my love".
Chong Kee, another of our regular members, played Etude, Op. 25, No. 7 by Chopin. This etude, published in 1834, is also known as “Cello” owing to the particularly audible melody played with the left hand. In addition, this piece seems to have been written for the left hand, focusing on perfect sound.
Will, a Pianover who has been with us many times at Meetup but never performed, delivered his first performance this evening. Those present gave him a hearty round of applause as encouragement. Will played Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2 (Quasi una fantasia), 1st movt by Beethoven. Officially, this composition is known as Piano Sonata No. 14 in C# minor Quasi una fantasia, Op. 27, No. 2. It was completed more than two centuries ago, in 1801, by Beethoven, who dedicated it to his pupil Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, the following year. Although this song is popularly known as "Moonlight Sonata" today, what some may not know is that this famous piece was not given the name by Beethoven himself. It was the German music critic and poet Ludwig Rellstab who gave it the name "Moonlight Sonata", five years after Beethoven’s death.
May Ling came up next and played "The Music of the Night" by Andrew Lloyd Webber. This song is from the 1986 musical "The Phantom of the Opera", the popular and longest-running show on Broadway. It was the first production to celebrate its 10,000th performance in Feb 2012. Following "The Music of the Night", May Ling played Forever Love by 王力宏 (Leehom Wang).
Gavin performed Theme from Schindler's List by John Williams. This piece was written for the movie "Schindler’s List", shown in 1993 and soon became one of the most-acclaimed musical scores ever written for a film. This film also received widespread popularity and became #8 on the list of the 100 best American films ranked by the American Film Institute in 2007. As a testament to its great value, the Library of Congress chose Schinder’s List as one of the films to be preserved in the National Film Registry in 2004.
Last but not least, Jaeyong played Let It Be Me by Gilbert Bécaud. This song was published in 1955 with the French name Je t'appartiens. The Everly Brothers popularised it when they performed it in English. In 1960, they rearranged this song and this rendition helped it to clinch the 7th position on the Billboard Hot 100. Four years later, Betty Everett and Jerry Butler did a cover of this song, further increasing its popularity.
After Jaeyong’s performance, the Mini-Recital concluded. The evening then moved into the Open Segment. During this time, Pianovers can be seen jamming, bonding and networking! While some jammed on the piano and others exchanged ideas about music, some were helping themselves to the snacks. Winny brought along cupcakes with musical notes that she had prepared herself. Through Winny’s contribution, we can see the passion inherent in the Pianovers community! Thank you, Winny, for your cupcakes! The group also took the opportunity to take a group photograph. As the night wore on, many left for home, however, some continued to jam till late.
Slowly but surely, Meetup #56 came to an end. We are all looking forward to Meetup #57!