Pianovers Meetup is a weekly gathering of piano lovers. Every Sunday, without fail, people from all walks of life and musical background, armed with varying levels of skills, gather at Piano Park @ The URA Centre to network, exchange tips and play the piano. Organised by ThePiano.SG, Singapore’s first piano portal that aims to build an inclusive community of piano lovers, Pianovers Meetup is the first gathering of its kind in Singapore. It debuted in July 2016 and to date has held more than 60 sessions. This evening’s Meetup was the 63rd session and we are happy that we continue to add value to Pianovers out there!
Every week, the Meetup starts at 5pm with a dinner, and this evening was no exception. Wayne and Gavin joined Sng Yong Meng, the Founder of ThePiano.SG for dinner at Maxwell Food Centre. Dinner is an important of the weekly Meetups as it allows those present an informal way in which to network. Over dinner, interactions begin and people get to know one another better! When dinner was over, the trio trooped back to The URA Centre to start the event proper.
Here, they found more Pianovers already waiting for them. Interactions were in full swing as excited Pianovers chatted about all things under the sun. Newcomers could be seen shaking hands while regular Pianovers shared their knowledge about piano-playing and music. We are happy that people are actively networking and the bond between Pianovers becomes stronger every week! Pianovers Meetup, a flagship event of ThePiano.SG’s umbrella of events, does not only provide a platform on which Pianovers network but also strengthens the social fabric among Singaporeans.
Gavin got the ball rolling this evening by playing Consolation No. 3 by Franz Liszt. This series of six solo piano works displays Nocturne-like musical style and each piece has its own distinctive style and is composed in E major or D-flat major. Gavin is a regular contributor to ThePiano.SG’s forum and recently contributed an article on video game music.
Ming Hao was up at the piano next and he played Sonata in B minor, Kp. 377 by Scarlatti. Like JS Bach and Handel, Scarlatti was born in 1685. He was known as a Baroque-era composer and was credited with advancing the Classical style of music playing. Scalatti was also known for his 555 keyboard sonatas, and one of the few Baroque composers to transition into the Classical period.
Siew Tin came up to the piano next and played 唱首情歌给谁听 by 李俊雄. Siew Tin is a regular Pianover as well as an adult learner of the piano. She shows great passion and diligence in pursuing her musical interest. She recently participated in a recital at the Esplanade Recital Studio. This was an event organised by her piano teacher for his group of students and Siew Tin’s participation is another milestone in her musical journey! Congratulations, Siew Tin!
Next at the piano was Victor, who played Orange by 7!! used in "Your Lie in April". "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.
Theng Beng played mash-up of "When a Child Is Born" by Ciro Dammicco, and "Canon in D" by Johann Pachelbel. "Canon in D" is a popular piece composed by the 17th composer Johann Pachelbel. Over the years, this gentle, soothing piece has been used in a variety of situations, including weddings, romance movies and even advertisements. "Canon in D" was used by a piano store in Morioka-shi in Iwate Prefecture, Japan in its television commercial. In the marriage-themed advertisement, the outflow of emotions was evident as a father played Canon in D at her daughter’s wedding reception. This certainly tugged at the heartstrings of viewers!
Erika performed a piece called Trinity Chimes, by Walter Decker. This piece is special as it is an arrangement of two Christmas carols, "Silent Night, Holy Night" and "Adeste Fideles". Interestingly, the playing of this piece seems to accentuate the keys representing the chimes. Listening to Erika playing, one can almost feel like one is at the church, enjoying the chimes of the bells!
Albert played "长城谣" by 刘雪庵. This song was written to unite the Chinese opposing the Japanese invasion of their land in 1937. World War II started in 1939 and lasted for six years. A movie named "关山万里" was filmed but filming never completed. The song that was meant to be included in this movie was ready, though. In the absence of the movie, patriots sang it and it took on a life of its own. In 1938, 周小燕 passed Singapore and recorded this song under the Pathé Records label. Following "长城谣", Albert played another Chinese song, "双星情歌" by 许冠杰.
Daphne played River Flows In You by Yiruma. Also performing a piece by Yiruma was the next performer, Nathania, who performed Kiss The Rain. Yiruma is a popular Korean performer. His original name is Lee Ru-ma but he uses the stage name Yiruma. Like "Kiss The Rain", "River Flows In You" is compiled in Yiruma’s 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. Separately, Apple’s iTunes Store regards Yiruma a World Music or New Age artist.
David went up to the piano next and played Lascia ch'io pianga by Handel. This composition was composed by Handel when he was just 19. An Italian-language soprano aria, Lascia ch'io pianga contains a beautiful melody, which was first used in Act III of Handel’s 1705 opera Almira (his first opera as well) as a sarabande. David recently participated in the Piano Marathon organised by Steinway at Ion Orchard.
Chuu Yii performed Deux Arabesques L. 66 No. 1 Andantino con moto by Claude Debussy. This piece was composed when Debussy was still in his twenties. The suite of two Arabesques is special as it takes on the French visual art form. Apart from being known as one of the early impressionistic pieces of music, it is also formerly part of the ABRSM Grade 8 syllabus.
Zhi Yuan played Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K.466, 2nd movt, Romanze by Mozart. When this piece was written, Ludwig van Beethoven was just a teenager. Beethoven admired this concerto and make sure it always remained a part of his repertoire! Zhi Yuan, our Pianover, has recently passed his DipABRSM examination. Congratulations, Zhi Yuan!
Teik Lee played Eyes On Me by Nobuo Uematsu. "Eyes On Me" was used in the video game developed for Playstation, "Final Fantasy VIII". This was the first song in video game history ever to win an award at the 14th Annual Japan Gold Disc Awards. This song was performed by 王菲 (Faye Wong), interestingly, with an orchestra. Teik Lee also performed 我愿意 by 黄国伦.
Jaeyong went up to the piano next. He played Time To Say Goodbye by Francesco Sartori. This song, which was originally known as “I will leave with you”, was first performed by Andrea Bocelli in 1995. This song is considered as Bocelli’s signature song.
Pianovers were delighted to hear an original composition by Jaeyong, as a farewell gesture. Jaeyong will be leaving on 19 Dec, two days after this Meetup. Jaeyong had come to Singapore because he had wanted to join Pianovers Meetup. Since he appeared at Meetups, he has made many piano friends. Jaeyong has even participated in our new initiative "Pianovers Connect" which provides opportunities for Pianovers to perform in events or gigs, or even conduct activities, workshops or courses, for a wider audience. All of us here at ThePiano.SG will miss Jaeyong. Hope to see you back in Singapore and join Pianovers Meetup again very soon!
We took a short break and used the time to take a group picture. We also took the opportunity to enjoy two cakes tonight, lovingly contributed by Chris and Elyn. We celebrated the birthdays for Chris (it was the actual day that day!), Audrey and Wayne. Another cake was meant to remember Jaeyong’s farewell. Elyn also bought a set of cookies in the form of a Christmas tree, snowman, and gingerbread man. This evening, Winny also brought a set of chocolate and butter cookies, to be shared among all Pianovers present. Even Siew Tin brought M&M chocolates.
With the group of Pianovers so heartily laughing and enjoying the food, we are very glad to be able to celebrate Pianovers’ birthday together! Chris’s mum also joined the party today and celebrated Chris’ birthday together with us. We feel especially happy that Pianovers were able to cut the cake and share the food and socialise! We saw numerous happy faces eating, sharing and socialising. Music transcends boundaries!
Following the birthday and celebration, the Mini-Recital resumed. The first to go up to the piano was Wayne. Wayne played Trepak (Russian Dance) from the Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky. this piece was based on the traditional Ukrainian folk dance, and was also used in the 1940 Disney film "Fantasia".
Janice was up next and she performed I Vow To Thee My Country, with music by Gustav Holst. This was a British patriotic hymn which has its roots dating back to 1921. That year, Holst converted a poem by Sir Cecil Spring Rice (1912) to music. Holst achieved this by adapting the music from a section of Jupiter from his suite "The Planets" to create a setting for the poem. Some may find this piece familiar, as it was used as the main theme for many of Solvil et Titus advertisements - Time Tree, Penguin, That Year.
Kenneth Guan played Sonata in B minor, Kp. 377 by Scarlatti. This was the same piece as that played by Ming Hao, our second player for tonight. Although Kenneth is a newcomer, he has already played his first piece tonight! We are happy for Kenneth and hope he will be able to share more with our piano community.
Chris Khoo performed Mary Did You Know by Buddy Greene. Released in 1991, this song has become a Christmas classic, attracting cover versions by various artists. So popular was this piece that it inspired a stage musical written by Bruce Greer. It won the 1999 Dove Award for Musical of the Year.
Yuchen was up next and he played Etude, Op. 25, No. 5 by Chopin. Chopin wrote a total of 27 Études during his lifetime. Because of the challenging nature of Chopin’s works, his Études created a revolutionary playing style for the piano. Some of the Études even have nicknames. One of them is "Op. 10, No. 3", sometimes called "Tristesse" (Sadness) or "Farewell" (L'Adieu). Another is "Revolutionary Étude" (Op. 10, No. 12).
Ellie was our final performer for tonight’s Mini-Recital. Ellie performed Santa Baby by Joan Javits and Philip Springer. The song is an interesting peek at a Christmas list addressed to Santa Claus. Among the items requested are gifts such as sables, yachts and decorations from Tiffany's. This song was originally recorded by Eartha Kitt and became a huge success. Kitt rerecorded the song in 1963, this time giving it a faster tempo. this song became the foundation of Madonna’s 1987 charity album "A Very Special Christmas".
Although the Mini-Recital had come to an end, the Open segment had now started! This segment is always welcome as it sees Pianovers jamming on the pianos and networking with fellow members. It is also during this segment where people interact with one another. This evening was no exception. As some played on the piano, others cheered them on. Yet others chatted between themselves and got to know one other better.
A special shout-out for our upcoming Pianovers Meetup #64 (Fairy Point Chalet). Note that this upcoming Meetup will be held on a Saturday, not a Sunday. We are having a special session at Aloha Changi Fairy Point Chalet 5. As seating capacity is limited, please reserve your tickets early! See you at Fairy Point Chalet on Saturday!