As the sun sets on another Sunday at The URA Centre, Pianovers from all over the island gather for the 75th weekly Pianovers Meetup. Unique talents and piano lovers of all ages and sensibilities are always present at the Meetups, this week being no exception. The session started at 5pm with a wonderful dinner of local fare and for this evening’s meal, Sng Yong Meng, the Founder of ThePiano.SG, was accompanied by Akkenzhe, Ed Tham and Jacqueline, Christoph, as well as Gavin.
As 6pm rolled around, people started filtering into Piano Park @ URA Centre. And what better way to kick off the evening than enjoy some snacks? Thank you, Debashis, for contributing biscuits, Gee Yong, for your Satsuma Sparkling wine and curry prawns fritters! It is certainly nice to Pianovers sharing what they have with fellow attendees and making everyone’s evening an enjoyable one.
Hot on the heels of the Pop-up Stall at Suntec Convention Centre two weekends ago, more are coming up! Today, Yong Meng was eager to announce two upcoming stalls. The first will happen on 7-13 May at Bedok Point, while the next will take place on 9 June at Serangoon Gardens Country Club. With a huge array of piano-themed collectibles and accessories on sale, mark these dates on your calendars, and come to Bedok Point and Serangoon Gardens Country Club and pick up some piano-themed items!
Yong Meng also took the opportunity to announce the next Pianovers Sailaway event. This is the sequel to the highly successful Pianovers Sailaway that happened in December 2016. Set sail into the high seas, in a luxury yacht with four pianos on board, into the sunset and fireworks. Come and join us on 9 June 2018 and enjoy a most exquisite experience! Playing the piano will never be the same again!
Every week, Pianovers look forward to the Mini-Recital segment, for this is where Pianovers of all skills and levels come together and take to the stage in pre-registered slots and perform. This week is no different!
Gavin got the ball rolling with When October Goes, performed by Barry Manilow. This song was based on lyrics that were originally written by Johnny Mercer but not completed. Mercer had sensed for a while that his health was not right and in 1975, he finally underwent surgery for a brain tumour. In what must have been a case of self-awareness of his death, he wrote the lyrics for a song, which he knew he would not be able to hear. Mercer’s wife knew that her late husband had a high regard for singer and composer Barry Manilow and got him to add music to Johnny’s lyrics. The song was finally completed. During his lifetime, Mercer had written the lyrics for more than fifteen hundred songs, including compositions for movies and Broadway shows, as well as famous compositions like "Moon River", as well as "Fools Rush In".
Gwen was next at the piano and performed two pieces, Sonatina Op. 36 No. 5, 2nd Movt, Air Suisse by Muzio Clementi and Romance by Tchaikovsky. Clementi had composed almost 110 piano sonatas. Among these, some of the earlier and easier ones were classified as sonatinas.
Siew Tin, who is known for Chinese classics, played 可爱的玫瑰花 by 川口真, as well as 長崎は今日も雨だった (Nagasaki Was Raining Today As Well) by 彩木雅夫. The latter was originally performed in 1969, and was later covered by Teresa Teng who passed away on 8 May 1955 at the age of 42. This year, Google commemorated her 65th birthday with a Google Doogle.
Janice played two pieces this evening, 细水长流 by 梁文 福 as well as Fairytale (from "Shrek") by Harry Gregson-Williams, and John Powell. "细水长流" is a popular school’s song that originated in the 1980s. 梁文福 was one of the pioneer figures in the xinyao (Singapore Chinese folk songs) movement in the 1980s and 1990s. He started taking piano lessons at 10 and went on to attain a Grade 8 certificate. A talented composer, 梁文福 started writing his first song at just 16. As he went on to attend Hwa Chong Junior College (now known as Hwa Chong Institution), he developed his interest further and went on to write more songs. He often performed with schoolmates, and his songs mainly were about friendship and camaraderie. Many of them are still popular today among students, who would come together to perform them. Some of 梁文福 ’s songs are "唱一首华初的歌" and "一步一步来".
Debashis played Lost and Found by Patrick Monahan and William Wiik Larsen. This song was released in 2017 was compiled in the album "A Girl, A Bottle, A Boat" and was performed by Train.
Jinci played Prelude and Fugue in D major BWV 850 by Bach. During Meetup #72, held on 25 March 2018, we had a Bach-themed session to celebrate JS Bach’s 333rd birthday. This was held in conjunction with the "Bach In The Subways", which is a global movement to commemorate the great German composer and his legacy.
I-Wen, our youngest Pianover, played Honey Bee March, as well as Ladders and Stairs. I-Wen has been with us for a while and never fails to play for us each time she joins us. After tonight’s performance, I-Wen has clocked almost 30 pieces. That is an achievement for her young age. Kudos, I-Wen. We hope you will continue your musical journey and soar to greater heights!
Albert played "叹十声" by 黎平. This song was used in the 1949 Hong Kong movie "荡妇心". This was a bittersweet story about a prostitute who had been accused with murder. She was sold off by her father when she was just a little girl as a slave. Subsequently, she got together with her master’s son and became pregnant. However, when she saw him with another girl, she misunderstood him and turned to prostitution. Soon, a murder happened and the she was suspected as the murderer. Because she was so devastated by the loss of her son, she admitted to the murder. The judge, who was the former lawyer boyfriend, found her son and reunited them in the court room. The touching scene moved the real murderer, who confessed to his crime.
Masumi performed Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101, 1st Movt by Beethoven. This piece was written in 1816 and dedicated to the pianist Baroness Dorothea Ertmann. It is a four-part harmony which features the heavy use of contrapuntal texture. Moreover, it was the only one of Beethoven’s 32 sonatas that he saw being played publicly. Beethoven’s set of 32 sonatas is considered the "The New Testament" of music (Johann Sebastian Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier being "The Old Testament”).
Jeremy Foo and Matthew Soh played Marches Militaire in D Major, D. 733, Op. 51 No. 1 by Schubert. This Opus comprises Three Marches Militaires and appears in march form written for piano four-hands. One of Schubert’s most famous compositions, this March is the more well-known among the three.
Teik Lee, another of our regular Pianovers, gave two performances tonight. The first was The Oriental "Sonata". Teik Lee had asked the audience to give him four notes, all of which had to be black keys. He improvised a song on the spot and did a short piece using just those four notes. Teik Lee’s engagement with the audience is another example of an interesting variation to the usual Recital. Teik Lee also played a medley of 她说 and Can't Take My Eyes Off You by by 林俊杰 (JJ Lin), and Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio, respectively.
Gee Yong performed "想你的夜" by 关喆, whose songs are mostly about his personal experiences. "想你的夜" a romantic piece, is no different. It recounts the story about the composer’s move to Beijing to advance his singing career. The move caused his relationship to fall apart but also inspired this beautiful piece of music.
Gregory played Piano by 桑田佳佑 (Keisuke Kuwata). This piece was originally originally performed by 范逸臣 and was compiled in his 2002 album “Van”.
Joel Giam did his debut performance tonight and played Fantaisie-Impromptu in C# minor, Op. posth. 66 by Chopin. Well done, Joel. We hope to hear more from you in the coming Meetups!
Yew Siang played three pieces tonight, Prelude, Op. 28, No. 1, and Waltz in D-flat major, Op. 64, No. 1 (Minute Waltz), both by Chopin and Never Catching Dreams. In particular, "Never Catching Dreams" is an original composition by Yew Siang. He last performed at Meetup #68, where he played two pieces, "My Bliss" and "Claudia", both of which are also his original compositions. We are happy that Yew Siang is writing and playing his own compositions, as well as sharing his inspiration with all of us! Well done, Yew Siang! We hope to hear more of your original compositons. At the same time, we encourage other Pianovers to come forward with their original compositions as well!
This evening, apart from the usual group photo, we also had one specially with the teachers. This was the first time we had such a big turnout of piano teachers, part-time or full-time, and it was only right that we took a photo to remember the occasion! Although there were six in the picture (excluding Yong Meng), namely May Ling, Zhi Jing, Jenny Soh, Gregory Goh, Jerman Ho and Shu Wen, there were actually two more who, unfortunately, were absent during this photo taking, Akkenzhe, and Matthew.
We are very happy that piano teachers are joining Pianovers Meetups. Some of them even brought their students here. At ThePiano.SG, we always believe that it is important to expose piano students to out-of-classroom experiences and we are glad that our piano teachers are aligned with us!
Following the photo of piano teachers, the traditional group photograph was taken. Of course, the evening was not over yet. Lots of interactions were in store for the night. As Pianovers networked with one another, they openly shared their knowledge and tips. People could be seen crowding around the pianos as they supported the pianists who were jamming the pianos.
Sadly, the night had to end. Nonetheless, we all had had fun tonight. See all of you again this Sunday for Meetup #76!