Pianovers Meetup #80 Digest

Pianovers Meetup #80 Digest

After taking a week off, Pianovers Meetup is back! Held at the same, familiar location at The URA Centre, Pianovers Meetup was a time for all piano lovers to gather again, not just with some old friends but with new friends as well.

The night began as how Pianovers Meetups would begin, with an intimate dinner between a group of Piano lovers and delicious local food. Gathering at 5pm, Yong Meng, Hiro and Rony (a newcomer) headed over to Maxwell Food Centre for what proved to be one of the most interesting Pianover Meetup dinners yet.

Pianovers Meetup #80, Pianovers chatting
Pianovers Meetup #80, Yam Keng, Ace Chow, and Jonathan Lam
Pianovers Meetup #80, Gabriel, and a boy

Back at The URA Centre, we were greeted with the group, many of which consisted of regulars. Apart from regulars, Meetup #80 brought along some new friends to the Meetup (Rony, Neo, Jonathan, Gabriel and Isabella). Although not all of them played, their presence certainly added joy to the atmosphere. It was great to note that Teik Lee had found Jonathan at the pianos at Tanjong Pagar Centre and promptly invited him to join us at the Meetup session. Thank you, Jonathan, for joining us! Gabriel is a tourist who happened to pass the Piano Park @ URA Centre and decided to join us. 

Val Soh brought along some jellies to share with everyone. Thank you, Val, for sharing your treats! As a social movement, Pianovers Meetup is not just about connecting people in the piano community and allowing people to connect and bond. It strengthens the Singapore spirit, and helps to build social cohesion and promote racial harmony as people of all races, languages and religions come together to indulge in this communal space to make music. Pianovers Meetup certainly helps to spread the joy of playing the piano!

Pianovers Meetup #80, Gavin performing
Pianovers Meetup #80, Tian Wei performing
Pianovers Meetup #80, David performing

The Registered Players segment began with Gavin, who played us his renditions of Interlude as well as Ballet Russe, both of which were performed by Canadian pianist Frank Mills. Both Interlude and Ballet Russe can be found in the album known as "Sunday Morning Suite", which was released in 1979. Mills is best known for his solo 1974 instrumental hit, "Music Box Dancer".

Next to go up to the piano was Tian Wei, who performed Prelude in G Major, BWV 902 by JS Bach. Tian Wei is a special needs person. We had met his mother Angie at the Popup Stall @ Bedok Point several weeks back and she had expressed her interest to have her son play for us at Pianovers Meetup. We warmly welcomed both Tian Wei and her mum to our Sunday get-together! At Pianovers Meetup, we welcome anyone who wishes to grace our occasion and play a tune for us. Tian Wei’s playing was nothing short of amazing! Thank you, Angie and Tian Wei, for letting us at Pianovers Meetup know both of you better. We are glad that we connected with you through this platform!

David played Impromptu in A flat major, Op. 90 No. 4 by Schubert. This piece was special because although it was written in A-flat major, it begins in A-flat minor. 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.

Pianovers Meetup #80, Siew Tin performing
Pianovers Meetup #80, Jia Hui performing
Pianovers Meetup #80, Teik Lee performing

Siew Tin, our regular Pianover known for her Chinese classics, played 老情歌 by 陈耀川. This song was compiled in his December 1993 album known as "多爱你一天". This song was sung by David Lui, also known as 吕方.

Jia Hui also delighted the Pianovers crowd tonight with a Chinese song, 第二道彩虹 by 陈秋霞 (Chelsia Chan). This song was the main theme for the movie of the same time (Rainbow In My Heart), which was released in 1979. Chelsia was a talented actress. In 1976, at the tender age of 19, she won the leading actress award at Taiwan's Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards for the movie "Qiu Xia" (Chelsia My Love). In the course of history in the Festival, Chelsia remains the youngest winner with the shortest screen life (seven years).

Teik Lee played two Chinese songs tonight. The first was 用愛將心偷 by 顾家辉. This was followed by 菊花台 by 周杰倫 (Jay Chou), which was the ending theme of the well-known movie "满城尽带黄金甲" (Curse of the Golden Flower). Released in 2006, this movie cost a whopping USD45 million to produce. It was the most expensive Chinese film then. A feather on the cap for the producer was the Best Original Song award that 菊花台 won the at the 26th Hong Kong Film Awards.

Pianovers Meetup #80, Jonathan Lam performing
Pianovers Meetup #80, Yee Ling, and Hua Shin performing
Pianovers Meetup #80, Chris Khoo performing

Jonathan went up to the piano next and he played Sonata No. 9 in E Major, Op.14 No.1, 1st Movt by Beethoven. Composed after Pathetique (No. 8), this piece was one of Beethoven’s early sonatas and was dedicated to Baroness Josefa von Braun. Beethoven’s set of 32 sonatas has been considered the "The New Testament" of music, against Johann Sebastian Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier ("The Old Testament").

Hua Shin and Yeeling played a medley of three songs, namely "Mia and Sebastian's Theme", "Another Day of Sun" and "City of Stars". All three pieces were composed by Justin Hurwitz for the movie "La La Land", which received 14 nominations at the 89th Academy Awards, including Best Picture. This position meant that it achieved the record for the most Oscar nominations and was on the same level as All About Eve (1950) and Titanic (1997). La La Land was nominated for several awards at the 74th Golden Globe Awards and it won in every category (making a total of seven wins!) in that competition.

It was soon Chris Khoo’s turn to perform and he entertained us with Habanera (from Carmen) by Georges Bizet. Habanera comes from Bizet’s opera "Carmen", appearing in Act 1, in which the main character Carmen danced before a group of soldiers. The music was adapted from “El Arreglito”, which was originally composed by Spanish musician Sebastián Iradier. When Bizet heard this piece, he mistook it to be a folk song. However, when he was informed that this had been written by an earlier composer, he gave due credit to Iradier.

Pianovers Meetup #80, Brandon Yeo, and Debbie
Pianovers Meetup #80, Giselle performing
Pianovers Meetup #80, Justus performing

Brandon Yeo performed Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel, as well as La Donna è Mobile by Giuseppe Verdi. The song title means “Woman Is Fickle”. This tune, written for the opera "Rigoletto" has an interesting beginning. It was given to the singer who would be performing during the premier, Raffaele Mirate, only minutes before he went on stage. True to what Verdi expected, this piece arrested everyone's attention and in the days that followed, it proved so popular that it caught on very quickly among Venice's famed gondoliers as well. When Brandon performed, what also captured the audience’s attention was the Pikachu stuffed toy that Brandon had placed on the piano. At the same time, Brandon’s sister Debbie was seated beside him.

Giselle was up at the piano next. She performed Impromptu in B flat major, Op. posth. 142, No. 3 (Rosamunde) by Schubert. Incidentally, this piece was also played at the last Meetup and today was the second time in two weeks that this piece was played. Prior to the previous Meetup, this piece had never been performed before in our Meetup. Following Giselle’s performance, her brother Justus was next at the piano.

Young Justus performed two pieces this evening. The first was Allegro by Carlos Seixas. This was promptly followed by Sostenuto in E flat, KK IVb No. 10 by Chopin. This piece is used in the ABRSM 2017-2018 Piano Grade 5 examination. An interesting piece of history accompanies this composition. When it was written, in Chopin’s own hand, it did not bear any title or dynamic markings. Whoever chooses to perform this piece has to use his or her own judgement and come up with the dynamics and timing, in a way that makes this a melodious piece to the listener. This is similar to the works of Bach and other famous Baroque music masters.

Pianovers Meetup #80, May Ling performing
Pianovers Meetup #80, Hiro performing
Pianovers Meetup #80, Travis Vu performing

May Ling was up at the piano next. She played Could It Be Magic by Barry Manilow. This is a song based on Frédéric Chopin's "Prelude in C Minor, Opus 28, No 20". Although this piece is more popularly known to be performed by Manilow, it was initially released in 1971. Manilow’s re-release in 1975 made this music one of his first hits. Following Manilow’s release, this song has seen several cover versions. The most successful one was by the singers known as Donna Summer (1976) and Take That (1992).

Hiro performed La Campanella by Franz Liszt. “La Campanella" means “the little bell” and was the nickname given to the third of Franz Liszt's six Grandes études de Paganini ("Grand Paganini Études"), S. 141. The composition originates from a violin piece, Violin Concerto No. 2 in B minor, Op. 7, composed by Niccolò Paganini in Italy in 1826. Liszt brought this piece to the piano. The third movement is called "La Campanella" or "La Clochette”, owing to the little bell which Paganini uses to represent each occurrence of the rondo theme.

Last but not least, Travis Vu played Besame Mucho by Consuelo Velázquez. The title means "Kiss me a lot”. This piece was written in 1940 and is a very famous bolero (which means to a genre of slow-tempo Latin music and dance). To date, it is one of the most sung and recorded Mexican songs. Velázquez wrote this song even though she had never been kissed by that time. She had even heard that kissing was a sin!

Pianovers Meetup #80, Group picture
Pianovers Meetup #80, Moving piano
Pianovers Meetup #80, Hiro, and Corrine playing

Although the Registered Segment had ended, it was not time to part yet! Pianovers took the opportunity to connect and to bond. After the customary group photograph, they enjoyed the jellies that Val had brought and chatted over food. Janice, one of our regular Pianovers, was happy to play with Debbie, the sister of our young Pianover Brandon, who had played earlier. Some Pianovers then proceeded to jam on both pianos, while others chatted and socialised with others present. All in all, it was a great evening that everyone spent at Pianovers Park @ URA Centre.

Many Pianovers stayed way beyond 9pm, when the lights were switched off, before grudgingly going home, happy to have spent a great time with like-minded music lovers. Thank you, Pianovers, for attending Pianovers Meetup #80. See you all at #81!