The weekly Pianovers Meetups started in July 2016 as a platform for piano lovers to meet, play and network. Every Sunday evening, a group of Pianovers (piano lovers) converges at the URA Centre, at the spot where two refurbished pianos have been left as part of the Play It Forward, Singapore’s initiative to place pianos around Singapore for the public’s enjoyment. Not only do regular faces attend every weekend, new members visit too. It is heartening to see the newcomers return the following weeks and become regulars themselves.
At the 79th gathering, held on 27 May 2018, Hiro and Zafri arrived early, while ThePiano.SG founder Sng Yong Meng was still setting up his equipment. With the venue set up, the trio went to Maxwell Food Centre where they chatted over dinner. They returned to find newcomers Gian, Pei Jie, Mdm Koh, Morgan, Mrs Lee and Rachel already there. Some passers-by also joined in during the course of the Meetup.
Yong Meng took the opportunity to make some important announcements. First on the list was Pianovers Sailaway, an event that will see a group of piano lovers head out to the open sea on a 68-foot-long luxury yacht equipped with four pianos. The first Sailaway happened in December 2016 and it was a resounding success. On 9 June 2018, Pianovers Sailaway #2 will take place and this time, we are extremely excited to have well-known personalities with us! This year’s event will see Aaron, Chi Sheng, Sia Yuen and their fans on board the yacht!
Chi Sheng, a pianist, sold his first published song “This Time It Is Real 这次是真的” to famous Hong Kong actor Tony Leung 梁朝伟. Aaron, on the other hand, is the first and only Certified Master Teacher in Estill Voice Training in Singapore, certified by Estill Voice International in 2016. As for Sia Yeun, she became the first Singaporean singer to take part in Zhejiang TV’s ( 浙江卫视 ) Sound Of My Dreams ( 梦想的声音 ) . During that programme, she challenged JJ Lin 林俊杰 on the set with her amazing vocal quality and ability to sing cross-genre songs, mesmerising over 1.2 million viewers in the process!
On 9 June 2018 (same day as Sailaway 2), we will have a Pop-up Stall @ Serangoon Gardens Country Club, 10am to 5pm, displaying piano-themed stationeries, jewelleries, charms, fashion accessories, tableware and much more. Our Online Store has the largest collection of piano themed products and gifts in Singapore. What's more - get 10% storewide, and earn points when you purchase the Pianover Rewards Card and shop with us. Even then, we continue to expand our collection, and give you more choices!
Soon, it was time for the highly-anticipated Mini-Recital. This is the segment of the evening where pre-registered pianists get a chance to take to the stage.
Gavin was the first to perform this evening, and he performed Mazurka in B flat minor, Op. 24, No. 4 by Chopin. Chopin wrote this piece when he was only 26 and during his lifetime, he wrote a total of at least 59 Mazurkas. These pieces (called mazurkas) were based on the traditional Polish folk dance of the same name. The interesting thing to note is that although Chopin based his music on traditional mazurka, he had successfully transform them into a new genre known as a "Chopin genre".
Gavin and Emmy went up to the piano next and they played Happy Birthday by Patty Hill and Mildred Hill. Interestingly, although Happy Birthday is such a common song that even schoolchildren can sing, this is a copyrighted song that has its roots in another song, Good Morning To All, composed by Patty and Mildred Hill in 1893. Many broadcast networks were wary of playing this song, for fear of being asked to pay royalty. However, since the end of 2016, Happy Birthday finally entered the public domain, ensuring that anybody who wishes to perform or broadcast this song could do so at will!
Erika performed Impromptu in B flat major, Op. posth. 142, No. 3 (Rosamunde) by Franz Schubert. The Impromptus were published in two sets of four impromptus each. The first set was published as Op. 90 while Schubert was still alive. The second, however, was published posthumously as Op. 142 in 1839. Today marked the first time that a piece from the second set has been played. Following this, Erika played Souvenirs d'Enfance by Paul de Senneville.
Another regular Pianover, Siew Tin, who is well-known among the piano community for her Chinese classics, played 再见, 我的爱人 by 平尾昌晃 (Masaaki Hirao). Although this song was compiled in Teresa Teng’s 1975 album of the same title, it is actually the cover version of another Japanese song グツドバイ · マイ · ラブ, released in 1974. Teresa Teng often concluded her concerts with this song, and with tears.
Albert, another player of classic Chinese songs, played 海上花 by 罗大佑. This was the main theme for the Hong Kong movie that had the same title. Since Dec 2016, Albert has been performing, and sharing the background of his pieces with us at the Meetups. Soon, he will be clocking his 100th piece, at an average of almost 2 pieces at each Meetup. His wide repertoire is clearly evident, as he has not repeated any of the pieces he has performed!
Next to delight us that evening was Teik Lee, who performed 恋曲 1990 by 罗大佑, who also wrote 恋曲 1980. However, most of us would find 恋曲 1990 more familiar. This was also the theme song used in the 1989 Hong Kong movie 阿郎的故事, starring Chow Yun Fatt, Sylvia Chang, and Kwan Yuen Wong.
David was up at the piano next and he performed Impromptu in G flat Op. 90 No. 3 by Franz Schubert. He has performed almost the entire Op. 90, except No. 2, and we are certainly look forward to him completing the set soon! Moreover, his recent performances of the Impromptus inspired Erika to look into Schubert's pieces and convinced her to learn one Impromptu! Pianovers Meetup certainly gives us the opportunity to learn about other pieces that we may not have come across, motivates us to learn pieces which we might never would, and encourages us to learn from one another!
Janice performed the State Anthem of the Russian Federation by Alexander Alexandrov. As the name implies, this is the official name of the national anthem of Russia. Its musical composition and some of its lyrics were adopted from the State Anthem of the former Soviet Union. Janice had chosen this song, because the World Cup, which will be hosted by Russia this year, is coming up!
Masumi performed Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58, 1st movt by Chopin. During his lifetime, Chopin wrote three sonatas. Two were released while he was alive but the last was published posthumously. These sonatas are considered to be Chopin's most difficult compositions, both musically and technically. Chopin released this piece in 1844 in dedication to Countess Émilie de Perthuis.
Hiro performed Clair de Lune by Debussy, which is the third movement of Suite bergamasque, in D Flat major, by the composer. It is also the most popular among all the movements. This song was inspired by Verlaine's poem Clair de Lune, ("moonlight" in French), and was originally meant to be included in Walt Disney’s Fantasia. Unfortunately, because of limitations in time, it was left out. However, in 1992, a work print of this piece was subsequently included as a bonus feature in later releases. This piece is not to be confused with Au clair de la lune ("By the Light of the Moon"), a French folk song of the 18th century. Its composer and lyricist are unknown.
Chris played Bunga Sayang by Dick Lee. This piece came from the Singapore musical, Kampong Amber. It is also used in the theatrical performance screened on the Heritage Zone façade, located in the brand new Terminal 4 of Changi Airport, which was dedicated to Singapore’s Peranakan heritage. To complement this song and to celebrate Peranakan culture, Chris brought some Nonya kueh and wore a Batik top this evening.
Yap Huan Ching performed Sonatina in C Major, Op. 55 No. 1, 1st movt by Friedrich Kuhlau. She had previously performed another Kuhlau's Sonatina in Meetup #59 (10 Nov 2017). Interestingly, when studying Kuhlau’s music, one would notice its influence from Beethoven, whom Kuhlau knew in person and admired. In fact, many of Beethoven’s works were introduced to the public by Kuhlau.
Last in line to perform tonight was Teh Yuqing who performed two pieces, The Music of the Night by Andrew Lloyd Webber, as well as Ocean Avenue by Yellowcard. The former was composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber for the musical - Phantom of the Opera - which premiered in 1986, and went on to become one of the most financially successful musicals, and the longest running Broadway musical of all time. Phantom of the Opera also became the first musical to celebrate its 10,000th performance in 2012.
Following the end of the Mini-Recital, we took our customary group photograph. And after that, Pianovers went on to establish new friendships with the newcomers, and catch up with the regulars! They continued to munch on the goodies and had a really good time. Some jammed on the two pianos, filling the night with piano music way beyond 9pm.
See you soon at Pianovers Meetup #80, 3 Jun 2018!