The phrase “There’s no place like home” certainly rang true for our Pianovers this week, being back at the familiar URA Centre after a week’s hiatus. Despite the island heat and the roar of passing traffic, Pianovers found the open space comforting.
With all the friendships and bonds that have been formed and continue to be formed through the meetings, the Pianovers Meetup has become more like a gathering of kith and kin to some of us. With each passing week, we are introduced to fresh new faces, this week being no exception. Angela and her son, Ben Tang, Samuel, and Peng Chi Sheng, were part of the many that were present at Sunday’s Meetup.
Deciding to get a head start on all the delicious grub, Ee Fong and a friend whom she brought along, Doris, joined Sng Yong Meng, the Founder of ThePiano.SG, for an early dinner. The group enjoyed a meal of local delights and got to know one another, before heading back to the Pianovers’ usual spot at The URA Centre. There, we found other Pianovers already arrived and waiting. It was great to see Mei Lin in our midst again, after having attended Meetup #24 in January 2017! Welcome back, Mei Lin! We also had some passers-by join us. Thank you, too, for being part of our Meetup this evening!
Yong Meng started the evening by making an important announcement. The much-anticipated Pianovers Sailaway is coming back! This event, the sequel to the original Pianovers Sailaway that happened in December 2016, will make its return on 9 June 2018, from 4pm to 10pm, on a luxurious yacht!
It will come equipped with four pianos, as it sets sail among Singapore’s Southern Islands. During the journey, Pianovers can look forward to a mini-recital on board, while taking in a beautiful sunset and indulging in a sumptuous buffet dinner. Meanwhile, a drone will make its way around the yacht as it takes aerial shots of the proceedings. Completing the memorable trip will be spectacular fireworks happening on Sentosa! For a small top-up, one can even enjoy a free flow of exceptional, award-winning wines from the pristine Great Southern Wine Region of Western Australia!
To allow Pianovers to keep precious mementos of the evening, we will have a roving photographer on board to capture your memorable moments and send them to a photo booth for instant printing. What better way to enjoy the piano than spend a glorious Sunday evening with Pianovers on a yacht? With Pianovers Sailaway, playing the piano will not be the same again!
At 7pm, the Mini-Recital segment began. This evening was different from other Pianovers Meetups, though, as the first part of the Mini-Recital was reserved for the celebration of Johann Sebastian Bach’s 333rd birthday.
JS Bach was a German composer who lived in the 18th century and his music had inspired many great works in the classical music world. Although Bach has since departed, his legacy lives on! Every year, in March, Bach’s music and talent are celebrated in a global Bach In The Subways event, which sees performers going to public places, like metro stations, and play Bach’s works. Here at Pianovers Meetup, we also did our part in commemorating Bach’s legacy.
Bach had a most interesting history. Although he lost his parents when he was only 10, he went on to father 20 children, including seven with his first wife and 13 with his second. His personal history aside, Bach certainly composed very beautiful music that is still played today!
Gavin got the Bach’s segment going by playing Sheep May Safely Graze. This piece is the ninth and the most familiar movement, of the 1713 composition Hunting Cantata. A cantana is a vocal composition that incorporates an instrumental accompaniment and sometimes involves a choir. A cantana usually is played in several movements. "Sheep May Safely Graze" contains 15 movements and was especially composed to celebrate the 31st birthday of Duke Christian of Saxe-Weissenfels.
Jovan was up at the piano next. He played Minuet in G. This composition was originally thought to have been written by JS Bach, however, it was discovered much later to have been the creation of Christian Petzold! Following "Minuet in G", Jovan performed Musette in D.
David was the third player this evening and he performed Italian concerto BWV 971, 1st movt, Allegro. BWV 971 was released in 1735 and is a concerto comprising three movements that were written for the harpsichord solo.
Ashley Nguyen played Invention in A minor, BWV 784. An invention is a short composition that comes with a two-part counterpoint. On the other hand, a composition that comes with three-part counterpoints is called a sinfonia.
What followed must be of interest to Bach fans, as the pieces played were a set of Prelude and Fugue works. Prelude is a short piece of music that introduces a subsequent longer piece, and is very free in form, almost like a written-down improvisation. Fugue, on the other hand, has some of the strictest rules in music, and several imitative voices are introduced one by one and get developed.
One of the well-known collections that originated from Bach is The Well-Tempered Clavier, BWV 846–893. It comprises two sets of preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys. The first set is in C major, the second in C minor, the third in C♯ major, the fourth in C♯ minor, and so on. The following is the list of pieces in The Well-Tempered Clavier that was played by Pianovers this evening. The sequence was arranged in rising chromatic keys:
- Prelude and Fugue in D minor, BWV 875, performed by Eunice Ong
- Prelude in F Major, BWV 856, performed by Corrine
- Prelude in F minor, BWV 857, performed by Delaram Abedi
- Prelude in F# minor, BWV 883, performed by Jonathan Lam
- Prelude, and Fugue in G major, BWV 884, performed by Matthew Soh
- Prelude in G# minor, BWV 887, performed by Jonathan Lam
Following the set of Prelude and Fugue was a set of Suites works. The Partitas, BWV 825–830, are a set of six harpsichord suites. This was the last set of suites that Bach composed. This also turns out to be the most technically demanding. The other two sets were the six English Suites, BWV 806-811 and the six French Suites, BWV 812-817. Another name for The Partitas is the German Suites. This name, though, is a misnomer, for this is nothing German about The Partitas! The following is the list of Bach’s Suites that was performed this evening:
- Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826, Sinfonia, performed by Jeremy Foo
- French Suite No. 4 in E-flat major, BWV 815, performed by Lim Woan Ling
- Sarabande, and
With JS Bach’s segment having come to an end, the evening now moved to the regular Mini-Recital sequence, and doing us the honour were five Pianovers.
Jenny Soh performed Solfeggietto in C minor (H 220, Wq. 117: 2) by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was the fifth child and second (surviving) son of Johann Sebastian Bach and Maria Barbara Bach.
Henry Wong was up at the piano next and tonight’s performance was his debut at the Meetup. This evening, Henry played "Sonatina in C, Op. 20 No. 1" - 1st movt, 2nd movt, and 3rd movt, by Friedrich Kuhlau. Henry attended Pianovers Meetup for the first time at the last session, Meetup #71 and was introduced to the community. Henry had stopped learning the piano at age 15, took a long break of 55 years, and only resumed playing it again eight months ago. Henry embodies a spirit that is greatly admirable, “One is never too old to learn!” or “ 活到老，学到老 ”!
Lim Ee Fong played three pieces this evening: "朋友" by 刘志宏 , Spanish Coffee by Frank Mills and 童话 (Fairy Tale) by 王光良 . This was Ee Fong’s first time visiting Pianovers Meetup. It was also her debut performance! Not just that, but Ee Fong actually brought a guest, Doris, along! We at ThePiano.SG are greatly encouraged by this and we look forward to having both of you join us again soon! Since we started having Pianovers Meetups in July 2016, we have seen more and more new people joining us. Our community is definitely growing and we are elated that we have been able to positively spread the joy of piano playing to the community!
The final player for tonight is Chris Khoo, who performed Amazing Grace. Amazing Grace is a Christian hymn, published in 1779 and whose lyrics were written by the English poet and Anglican clergyman John Newton. Although it is unclear if there was any music accompanying the verse (it may have been chanted by the congregation), today, this piece comes with the “New Britain” tune. The tune came about in 1835, when William Walker incorporated Newton’s lyrics into a traditional song named New Britain.
Amazing Grace marked the end of the Mini-Recital this evening and we swiftly moved into the Open Segment! We were heartened to see Pianovers interacting with one another and sharing tips and experiences. Pianovers present definitely went home feeling elated and satiated. Here, we would like to thank all Pianovers who attended this evening, and see you in the next Meetup!