Pianovers Meetup #77 Digest

Pianovers Meetup #77 Digest

Pianovers Meetup, a weekly meeting of passionate piano lovers, is now into its 77th session. Every Sunday, without fail, a group of Pianovers would converge at The URA Centre at Maxwell Road. From a small, humble meeting that started two years ago, the meeting has grown to what it is today. People have come, enjoyed the benefits of the meetups, and gone back to inform their family and friends, who then join them at the following sessions.

This weekend event is organised by ThePiano.SG and is meant to create an environment for pianists to perform and showcase their skills. We are really glad that we have been able to bring together not just aspiring pianists, but also non-pianists who enjoy piano music, to a common place, to network and learn from one another, in a supportive, cohesive environment!

Typically, the event gets off to a culinary start before the programme proper begins. Although the Meetup starts at 6:30pm, early birds come at 5pm and bond with fellow members over a good dinner. This evening, Gavin joined ThePiano.SG Founder Sng Yong Meng at Maxwell Road Food Centre. Over a sumptuous dinner of local favourites, Gavin and Yong Meng shared many stories and personal experiences in their respective piano journeys. It is always awesome to learn new things from people around us! An hour later, the pair returned to The URA Centre, where they found more Pianovers already waiting.

Pianovers Meetup #77, Goodies brought along by Pianovers
Pianovers Meetup #77, Cheers!
Pianovers Meetup #77, Grace Wong, Anne, and David Ennes

A group of lovely Pianovers had brought snacks and drinks to have an early party. Thank you, Pianovers! Your gesture is really appreciated! The mood was lively and people were having so much fun, eating together and networking. Heartfelt toasts were performed and joyful cheers were heard. We at ThePiano.SG are glad that a familiar group of Pianovers was here to enjoy a wonderful evening of piano music. As things would turn out, we would soon see many duet sessions tonight!

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! Purchase the tickets if you have not already done so!

ThePiano.SG is proud to announce that it now features four Steinway pianos in its Online Store! When you purchase your Steinway-Essex piano through our Online Store, you get an exclusive 5% discount. This is a privilege that is not available elsewhere. Celebrate with us as ThePiano.SG reaches a new milestone! That said, we are not resting on our laurels. We are looking to add more piano models to our Online Store!

Pianovers Meetup #77, Gavin performing
Pianovers Meetup #77, Janice performing
Pianovers Meetup #77, Siew Tin performing

The evening’s programme kicked off with a Mini-Recital. In this session, Pianovers perform to all present in pre-registered slots. This evening’s Mini-Recital was started by Gavin, who performed Soirées musicales de Rossini S.424 No. 1, La Promessa (Canzonetta) by Franz Liszt. When he was alive, Liszt arranged Rossini's Soirées Musicales, S424, for the piano, choosing to reorder the whole collection except the first and the last pieces. This composition was based on eight ariettas and four duets Rossini published in 1835. In all, they made up 12 movements. "La Promessa", which Gavin played tonight, was the first.

Janice was up at the piano next and she played Jupiter (from The Planets, Op. 32) 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.

Siew Tin, our regular Pianover who plays mainly Chinese classics, played 有一点动心 by 曹俊鸿. This song was compiled in Jeff Chang’s album and is a duet from 张信哲 (Jeff Chang) and 刘嘉玲 (Carina Lau).

Pianovers Meetup #77, Albert performing
Pianovers Meetup #77, Jeremy Foo, and Matthew Soh performing for us
Pianovers Meetup #77, Jeremy Foo, and Grace Wong performing

Albert played 母亲你在何方 by 司徒容. This piece was timely as Mother's Day is approaching and Albert wanted to dedicate this piece to all mothers and mothers-to-be!

Jeremy and Matthew entertained Pianovers tonight with Symphony No. 45 in F# minor, 1st movt by Joseph Haydn. This piece is also known as the "Farewell" Symphony. The origin of this piece is interesting. At that time, Haydn and his patron, Prince Nikolaus Esterházy, along with Haydn’s musicians, were residing in a summer palace in rural Hungary. Their stay had been extended and upon the appeal of his musicians, Haydn wove their wish to return home into the symphony. As the song came to an end, each musician stopped playing, blew out his candle and took his leave. In the end, only Haydn and his concertmaster were left. Prince Esterházy got the hint and allowed the musicians to leave the next day.

Jeremy and Grace played Sonata in B flat major, D 617 Op. 30, 1st movt by Franz Schubert. Schubert wrote two sonatas for two pianists in his lifetime. Although he unfortunately passed away at the young age of 31, Schubert produced an admirable number of compositions. During his lifetime, he did over 600 vocal pieces and seven complete symphonies, on top of other works like sacred music, operas, incidental music, as well as chamber and piano music.

Pianovers Meetup #77, David performing
Pianovers Meetup #77, I-Wen doing a curtsy
Pianovers Meetup #77, Zhi Jing, and Winnie performing

David performed Impromptu in G flat Op. 90 No. 3 by Franz Schubert. 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.

I-Wen, our very young Pianover, played two pieces this evening: Honey Bee March and Ladders and Stairs. Since I-Wen first joined us on her trips to Pianovers Meetups with her mum Jenny, she has shown a lot of improvement in her playing. When she started, Jenny had to hold her hands to guide her along. Today, we are proud to note that I-Wen can play independently, without any assistance! We are proud of you, I-Wen! 

Next to perform at the piano were Zhijing and Winnie. The duo played Hava Nagila (“Let Us Rejoice”). This is a Jewish folk song and is traditionally sung at Jewish celebrations. It was composed in 1915 in Ottoman Palestine, when the territory saw a resurgence of spoken Hebrew following a long hiatus. Hava Nagila is probably the first modern Hebrew folk song anyone has known.

Pianovers Meetup #77, Esther Lim performing
Pianovers Meetup #77, Masumi performing
Pianovers Meetup #77, Konrad performing

Esther performed Nocturne in C# minor, Op. Post., KK IVa, No. 16 by Chopin. Among all the nocturnes that Chopin wrote and released, this was the final one. This piece was meant as a dedication by Chopin to his sister, Ludwika Chopin, as an exercise before she began to study his second Concerto. There is a history to this piece as well. This nocturne was also famously played by Holocaust survivor Natalia Karp, who was sent to a Nazi concentration camp after the death of her husband in a bomb raid in 1943. Amon Göth, the commandant, ordered her to play for him on his birthday and was very impressed by her performance of this nocturne. He spared both her and her sister's lives.

Masumi came up to the piano next and she performed Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101, 3rd and 4th movt by Beethoven. Among all the movements in this composition, the 4th movement is the longest and is also considered to be the most technically challenging. In this movement, Beethoven used the lowest E (E1) on the piano near the end. Masumi played the 1st Movt and 2nd Movt in the past two Meetups, and played the other two this evening. However, because the 4th Movt is too long, she only played half of it.

Konrad performed Nocturne in E-flat major Op. 9 No. 2 by Chopin. Nocturnes Op. 9 is a series of three nocturnes. Nocturnes, Op. 9 are a set of three nocturnes (musical compositions inspired by the night) that Chopin had written in dedication to Madame Camille Pleyel. The second piece, composed when Chopin was 20, is considered as his most well-known piece.

Pianovers Meetup #77, Jonathan performing
Pianovers Meetup #77, Brandon performing for us
Pianovers Meetup #77, Julia performing

Next to come up to the piano was Jonathan, who played Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 2, No. 1, 1st movt by Beethoven. This piece was composed in 1795 and dedicated to Joseph Haydn. 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”).

Brandon, one of our younger Pianovers, played Auld Lang Syne. Auld Lang Syne is a traditional Scots song. It is sung traditionally when the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Eve as a way of bidding farewell to the old year. Interestingly enough, it was also sung at funerals, graduations and as a farewell or ending. The international Scouting movement across the globe uses the song to close jamborees and other functions. The song is also listed in Roud #6294 as part of the Roud Folk Song Index , a global database by Steve Roud, drawing from nearly 200,000 references to almost 25,000 English songs. This evening, it was heartwarming to see Brandon’s sister sitting beside him while he played and even exchanging glances with him. Interestingly, Brandon had a Pikachu plushy placed on the book stand as he played.

Julia performed Autumn Leaves by Joseph Kosma. "Autumn Leaves" is a jazz piece created by Hungarian-French composer Joseph Kosma, and was covered by Eric Clapton in his 2010 album, “Clapton”.

Pianovers Meetup #77, Gregory performing
Pianovers Meetup #77, Mark Wong performing
Pianovers Meetup #77, Group Picture

It was soon Gregory’s turn to perform. He played 同花顺, composed by 小寒. 同花顺 was compiled in the album "12 蓮花", which featured tracks used in the movie bearing the same title. The movie recounts the story of a singer named Lotus who suffered at the hands of men she met romantically. The movie includes several Hokkien songs and brings the viewers through the encounters of a heartbroken Lotus.

Last but not least, Mark Wong played Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21, 1st movt, by Chopin. This composition is a piano concerto composed by Frédéric Chopin in 1829 at the age of 20. Amazingly, Chopin wrote it before he had finished his formal education. It was the second of his piano concertos to be published, although this was actually written ahead of the other one. Because of this reason, this piece was known as No. 2. Mark is only in Singapore a short period and is due to leave the country soon. We are happy that Mark was able to join us and even gave his debut performance. 

Pianovers Meetup #77, Pianovers chatting
Pianovers Meetup #77, Pianovers socialising
Pianovers Meetup #77, Gavin, Janice, Zensen, and Albert

Following the conclusion of the Mini-Recital, the evening moved into the Open Segment. Every week, in this session, there is no pre-set order and all Pianovers can play freely and interact. It is not uncommon to see Pianovers openly sharing their knowledge with one another! A group photograph was taken to remember the event before the group retired for the night, but only long after the lights at The URA Centre had been turned off!