Pianovers Meetup #76 Digest

Pianovers Meetup #76

What an exciting 76th Pianovers Meetup we had this week indeed! With two pianos, courtesy of the Play It Forward Singapore movement to dabble with, Pianovers were more than delighted to be a part of the incredible evening. Happening every Sunday at 5:00pm, organised by ThePiano.SG, Pianovers Meetup is a gathering of piano lovers who have been affectionately called Pianovers. Not only do we have aspiring pianists joining us each week, we also warmly welcome non-pianists who enjoy listening to the sweet sound of music. Both aspiring pianists and ardent music listeners have a great platform, located at Piano Park @ URA Centre, in which to connect, play and listen to music!

Pianovers Meetup always starts with having dinner together, so that we can chat and get to know each other better over food! This Sunday was no different. An hour before the Meetup started, a group of Pianovers was already present. This week, we had Tran Wong, Gavin and Zafri joining Yong Meng. Together, they trooped to the nearby Maxwell Road Food Centre for some delicious local food.

Pianovers Meetup #76, Max Zheng, and Subramanya Sagar
Pianovers Meetup #76, Gavin, and Janice
Pianovers Meetup #76, Chng Jia Hui, and Mok Zi Huan

When the dinner party returned to The URA Centre, more Pianovers were already waiting. During today’s session, Yong Meng announced an upcoming popup stall coming the Pianovers’ way.

The popup stall will happen in Bedok over seven days, from 7-13 May 2018, to coincide with the arrival of Mothers’ Day. With stationeries, fashion accessories, tableware and much more on offer, there is bound to be something for everyone. Do have a look at the treble-clef-shaped erasers, as well as grand-piano-shaped ones; jewelleries like pearl gold music note crystal earrings and retro music note earrings; and bags like piano-keyboard long clutch bags. These items are bound to find appeal among Pianovers!

The only store of its kind in Singapore, ThePiano.SG Online Store has the largest collection of piano-themed products and gifts! To add on to that, when you purchase the Pianovers Rewards Card, not only do you get 10% discount off these items, you even earn points that you can redeem for gifts! Even then, we continue to expand our collection to give you more choices!

Pianovers Meetup #76, Gavin performing
Pianovers Meetup #76, Janice sharing with us
Pianovers Meetup #76, Siew Tin performing

With the announcement over, it was time to start the most important segment of the evening, the Mini-Recital! Gavin got the ball rolling with Battle Hymn of the Republic, Requiem for a Soldier (from "Band of Brothers") by Michael Kamen and Honor (from "The Pacific") by Hans Zimmer. "Band of Brothers" was a drama series from 2001, based on Stephen E Ambroses 1992 book of the same name. This film was produced by Steven Spieldberg and Tom Hanks, who had previously worked together on the film "Saving Private Ryan". It tells a story about an American war, and was the most expensive TV mini-series to have been produced. It had a budget of USD125 million, that equates to USD12.5 million per episode, and the premier drew 10 million viewers. Incidentally, the premier happened just two days before the September 11 attacks happened.

Janice played two pieces, 细水长流 by 梁文福 and Do You Hear the People Sing? by Claude-Michel Schönberg. 梁文福 was one of the pioneer figures in Xinyao (Singaporean Chinese folk songs) movement in the 1980s and 1990s. He wrote his first song at the age of 16, and he became more prolific once he started attending Hwa Chong Junior College (now Hwa Chong Institution), often performing with schoolmates in addition to heading the student council and Chinese society drama club. Many of the songs he wrote then, mainly about friendship and camaraderie, are still popular among the school's students today during gatherings, where different singing groups would often perform together.

Siew Tin, our regular Pianover, played 两忘烟水里 by 顾家辉. This was the theme song used in the TV series "天龙八部" (Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils) based on the popular swordsman series by 金庸.

Pianovers Meetup #76, Albert performing
Pianovers Meetup #76, Theng Beng performing
Pianovers Meetup #76, May Ling performing

Albert played "梅花梦" by 姚敏, who is also the composer of the popular Chinese New Year song - "迎春花" (Ying Chun Hua). Do you know that he has a sister, 姚莉, who is aged 97, and is still alive at the time of writing this article, and she is the last surviving member of the Seven great singing stars of Shanghai in the 1940s?

Theng Beng delighted the audience with his rendition of La Mer by Charles Trenet. This composition was released in 1946, when it became an unexpected hit. From then to 2001, when Trenet passed away, there were more than 4000 recordings of this song, with over 70 million copies sold globally. There was also an instrumental cover by French pianist Richard Clayderman.

May Ling played two pieces, Getaran Jiwa by P. Ramlee and Belaian Jiwa by Simon Lee. "Getaran Jiwa" was published in 1960. Born 88 years ago, Ramlee's contributions to music left an indelible mark in Malaysia’s cultural history. He was an actor, director, writer, and musician who contributed to more than 60 films and composed around 250 songs. Ramlee had such a significant impact on Malaysia’s art scene that after his death in 1973, Malaysians honoured him with posthumous awards and naming halls, museums, and other buildings after him. Google Doodle commemorated his birthday. 

Pianovers Meetup #76, Max Zheng performing
Pianovers Meetup #76, Chris Khoo performing
Pianovers Meetup #76, Masumi performing

Max Zheng played Summer by Joe Hisaishi. This was Max’s first time at Pianovers Meetup and also his debut performance. "Summer" was the theme song used in the 1999 Japanese film “Kikujiro”, which featured a young boy looking for his mother during a long vacation. It has also been rearranged and featured in a Toyota Corolla commercial. Besides "Summer", Hisaishi also wrote music for "Spirited Away" and "Kiki’s Delivery Service". He has been working closely with animator Hayao Miyazaki since 1984, and has written all the musical scores for Miyazaki’s films.

Chris Khoo played Ballade Pour Adeline by Paul de Senneville, and was originally performed by French pianist Richard Clayderman. Originally known as Philippe Pagès, the pianist changed his name to Richard Clayderman. "Ballade Pour Adeline" was composed in 1976, and it was a tribute to Paul's newborn daughter, Adeline. It remains Clayderman's signature hit till today. At age 23, Philippe Pagès participated in an audition among a group of 21 hopefuls. His soft touch on the keyboards, along with his reserved personality and good looks, impressed the judges.

Masumi was up next at the piano and she performed Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101, 2nd Movt by Beethoven. This piece was written in 1816, and dedicated to the pianist Baroness Dorothea Ertmann. It was also the only sonata that Beethoven saw being played publicly. This happened in 1816 and the performer was a bank official and musical dilettante. Beethoven’s set of 32 sonatas has been considered the "The New Testament" of music (Johann Sebastian Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier being "The Old Testament”).

Pianovers Meetup #76, Chng Jia Hui, and Michelle Yeo performing
Pianovers Meetup #76, Tan Zhi Quan, and Mok Zi Huan performing
Pianovers Meetup #76, Grace performing

Chng Jia Hui and Michelle Yeo paired up and played La Muerte del Angel (Death of the Angel) by Astor Piazzolla. This composition was written by Astor Piazzolla for the 1962 play "Tango del ángel" by Alberto Rodriguez Muñoz. The play recounts the story of an angel, who heals the spirits of the residents but got attacked instead and was killed. Piazzolla frequently played "La muerte del ángel" in concert and even recorded it on numerous occasions. Featuring many components not normally found in traditional tango, this song pushes the boundaries of traditional tango.

Tan Zhi Quan and Mok Zi Huan played Suite No. 1 Op. 5, 3rd Movt, The Tears by Rachmaninoff. The pair are alumni members of the NUS Piano Ensemble (NUSPE). They had come this evening with Jia Hui and Michelle, also fellow alumni members. The four of them will be performing in an alumni concert Touched: Appassionata, to be held on on 5 May 2018, comprising pieces to be played on two pianos. This evening, they visited Pianovers Meetup to perform pieces that will be played on the actual day. At ThePiano.SG, we encourage performers to visit Pianovers Meetups to play, before their actual concert, so as to gain more confidence and showcase their pieces to our piano community. 

Grace performed Sonata in D Major, K. 576, 2nd Movt, Adagio by Mozart, who once wrote, "meanwhile I am working on six easy piano sonatas for Princess Friederike and six quartets for the King". People had different views about the difficulty level of this piece. In fact, up to today, K. 576 is often considered one of Mozart's hardest sonatas. American pianist Charles Rosen believed that Mozart may have considered these passages easy, although they are not actually so in practice.

Pianovers Meetup #76, George Bishop performing
Pianovers Meetup #76, Zafri performing
Pianovers Meetup #76, Group Picture

George Bishop played Prelude and Fugue in E flat major, WTC II, No. 7, BWV 876. The Well-Tempered Clavier a collection of two sets of preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys, composed for solo keyboard by JS Bach. It is generally regarded as being among the most important works in the history of Western classical music. George is both a newcomer as well as a first-time performer at Pianovers Meetup. Well done, George! We are proud of you and look forward to hearing your performance in future!

Zafri played Unravel by Tōru "TK" Kitajimam, which is from the Japanese Anime - Tokyo Ghoul. We are happy that Zafri is coming more often for the recent Meetups, which in turn is motivating him to play the piano more.

Pianovers Meetup #76, Timothy Goh playing
Pianovers Meetup #76, Grace, Zhi Quan, and Zi Huan
Pianovers Meetup #76, Pianovers socialising

After the Mini-Recital ended, the Open Segment started where Pianovers can play freely and interact, with no preset agenda. It is not uncommon to see Pianovers openly sharing their knowledge with one another! Encouragement was evident everywhere. A group photograph was taken and the group retired for the night. We are also very happy that Timothy Goh, who first joined us at Meetup #2, joined us again tonight. We are glad to have you back!

All in all, we had a very happy evening! See you all at Pianovers Meetup #77 on Sunday!