Another Sunday, another day for a Pianovers Meetup at The URA Centre. As usual, Yong Meng met up with the Pianovers at Maxwell Food Centre for a pre-meeting get-together and bonding session with some local grub. He was joined by Ramez, as well as a family comprising Sooty, Frankie (Dad), and Grace (Mum). Food is always a good ice-breaker and it is always easier to know people over delicious local grub!
After the session at Maxwell Food Centre, the dinner group made its way back to The URA Centre. They were pleasantly surprised to find a group of more than 30 people already assembled there! The Piano Park was certainly a hive of activity as people were already chatting and trying to get to know one another. While the crowd that gathered comprised mostly Pianovers and their friends who were here specifically for the Meetup, it was amazing that some passers-by also joined in to listen to Yong Meng speak.
He announced that Popup Stall @ Suntec City will be held on 21, and 22 July at Exhibition Hall 404. All Pianovers and readers are invited to come by and browse our collection of piano-themed items! We will showcase our popular items, including stationery, jewellery items and tableware!
With regulars and newcomers gathered together, it was indeed a vision of the community Yong Meng intended for The Pianovers Meetup - to breed a close knit community of piano lovers from all backgrounds and sensibilities. Without delay, the evening’s programme got underway! First on the agenda was the Mini-Recital.
Starting off the Mini-Recital was Gwen, who performed Mazurka No. 13 in A minor, Op. 17 No. 4 by Chopin. During his lifetime, Chopin had written 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 transformed them into a new genre known as "Chopin genre". Following this piece by Chopin, Gwen performed Greensleeves.
Ramez was up at the piano next and he performed Suite in G minor, HWV 432, No. 6, Passacaglia by Handel, who came from the same Baroque era as the composers Bach and Scarlatti. In fact, he was born in the same year as Bach and Scarlatti (Baroque era). Passacaglia is also well known as a duo for violin and viola, arranged by the Norwegian violinist Johan Halvorsen.
Siew Tin played 难忘的初恋情人 by 方晴, and 江明旺. 难忘的初恋情人 was published in 1980 and performed by Teresa Teng, who was a legend in Chinese pop. Sadly, she died of an asthma attack in 1995. She also performed many popular pieces like 甜蜜蜜, 小城故事, 夜来香, 但愿人长久, 月亮代表我的心, 我只在乎你.
Albert performed 秋夜 by 杨彦歧, as well as 回娘家 by 翁清溪. It is interesting to note that Albert today, with the inclusion of these two pieces, just clocked his 100th piece at Pianovers Meetup. This was certainly an achievement, as Albert became the first person to reach this milestone. What made this even more amazing is that Albert has never repeated any single piece, electing to play something different every week! Albert’s passion for piano, and the passion to play and perform are commendable. Well done, Albert!
Gavin performed Deux Morceaux (2 Pieces), Op. 10 No. 1, Nocturne by Tchaikovsky. These pieces were written during the three weeks that Tchaikovsky spent in Nice around the start of 1872. Tcahaikovsky had several famous works, among them Swan lake, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy (from Nutcracker suite) and Sleeping Beauty.
Keisha performed her rendition of Sonata No. 16 in C Major, K.545, I. Allegro by Mozart. The piece was described by Mozart himself as being "for beginners” in his thematic catalog. It is also sometimes known by the nickname Sonata facile or Sonata semplice.
Dhafin played Over the Rainbow by Harold Arlen. This piece was written for the movie "The Wizard of Oz" and became so popular that it won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Apart from this, the song reached No 1 status in the "Songs of the Century" list. This song also had the honour of being listed as the greatest movie song of all time on the list of "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs". Another feather in the cap came when Garland’s rendition of this song was earmarked for preservation in the National Recording Registry.
Yeo Ming played Wizardess Heart+ OST: あなたと未来へ. Yeo Ming had been involved in a chat a few weeks ago about piano learning, and was inspired to check out a new song that she believed she could learn and perform in the Meetup. How interesting when people around you are able to influence or inspire you to work on something, which you otherwise might not be motivated to!
Kenneth Guan was next and he played Sonatina in C, Op. 20 No. 1, 1st Movt by Kuhlau. The composer, Kuhlau, was Danish and was based in the capital Copenhagen. He was a concert pianist and also wrote many operas. In addition, Kuhlau was credited with introducing Beethoven’s works in his country. Kuhlau was known to have created many works during his lifetime. Although many of his unpublished works were destroyed in a fire, he still left behind more than 200 published compositions.
It was Tan Chee Yang’s turn to perform next and he played Super Mario Bros Theme by Koji Kondo. This piece was one of the six themes composed by Koji for the game. It is featured in the 1985 edition Nintendo Entertainment System video game Super Mario Bros. Kondo has been regarded among industry peers as one of Japan’s best video game composers. This was Chee Yang’s first Meetup, as well as his debut performance! Understandably, there were some jitters in his performance, however, he persevered till the end. This was certainly a positive display of sportmanship!
Following Chee Yang’s performance, Sooty Heng went up to the piano. He played Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell. This song is one of the best-known songs of Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. It was released almost five decades ago and since then, it has gained a popular following. Many singers have released their own covers, like Frank Sinatra and Willie Nelson. Mitchell e-recorded the song in her 2000 album "Both Sides Now". In this cover, she had an orchestra in place, giving the listeners a different experience from the original version. The new version gained prominence three years later, and was used in the 2003 film "Love Actually", specifically in an emotional scene starring Emma Thompson. Then, in 2010, this song was used again in the Winter Olympics opening ceremony.
Huang Zimo played Cool Calypso by Pamela Wedgewood. This place is one of the pieces used in the "Up-Grade! Piano: Grades 1-2" series, designed to bridge the gap between grades in the piano examination series by using stimulating material in various styles. Huang Zimo is a student of Fion, and both were here for the first time with the company with Zimo's mother and brother. Welcome, and we hope you had a great time at Pianovers Meetups!
Jeremy Foo played Dance of the Dolls, No. 1, Lyric Waltz by Dmitri Shostakovich. "Dance of the Dolls" is a suite of seven pieces for piano with the titles Lyrical Waltz, Gavotte, Romance, Polka, Waltz-Scherzo, Hurdy-Gurdy and Dance. Shostakovich was a Russian composer and pianist. He was born in September 1906 and is until today considered as one of the composers of modern time. He passed away in August 1975.
Alethea played Minuet in G by Christian Petzold. This composition was originally thought to have been written by JS Bach, however, it was discovered much later to have been the creation of Christian Petzold! Alethea also played La Donna è Mobile by Giuseppe Verdi.
Yan Heng performed "No More Going Through Doors" by ZUN. This song was used in the game "Touhou 16", in the extra stage theme. Yan Heng has been introducing Game Music to Pianovers. Last week, he played one piece from Touhou as well.
Pauline Yong played "Golliwog’s Cakewalk" by Claude Debussy. This was part of a six-movement suite, known as "Children's Corner, L. 113", for solo piano by Claude Debussy, published in 1908. This piece was dedicated to Debussy's daughter, Claude-Emma who was three years old at the time. The pieces are not intended to be played by children. They are, however, meant to evoke memories of childhood as well as some of the toys in Claude-Emma's toy collection.
Douglas Chew played Cool by Stephen J. Wood. It was certainly great to have Douglas play for us again! He had wanted to perform another piece for us, but decided to present this in the end. He wants to build his confidence in public playing, and rid himself of the stage fright. This is one of the objectives we have in mind when curating Pianovers Meetup, and we are all here to support him in his journey with us.
Grace Wong played Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101, 1st Movt, and a part of 2nd 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”).
Teh Yuqing performed Sunday Morning by Jesse Carmichael, and Adam Levine. This song was released in 2004 by American pop band Maroon 5. Yuqing is probably the first Pianover to play so leisurely and in a carefree manner in front of everyone. People usually play with such leisure at home, but being able to display it here just shows how our Meetup helps people to feel at home, right here at The URA Centre, with a casual setting that makes people to feel relaxed as opposed to the rigidity in a concert hall setting.
Chris Khoo played Over the Rainbow, after Dhafin earlier and wanted to take this chance to share with everyone how the same piece of song can be played in a different style and carry along a different mood. This was very educational and it was a great way to demonstrate a different musical perspective. What Chris did is very much in line with our intention to advocate Pianovers to share their knowledge and learn from one other!
Last but not least, Ee Zed played Rondo Alla Turca (Turkish March) by Mozart, arranged by Fazil Say. Playing a familiar classical piece with a dash of modern jazz is definitely an interesting way to introduce classical compositions to music lovers! Ee Zed had decided to put his name into the list of players impromptu -- he and his family had walked past The URA Centre, decided to hang around a while and finally making the decision to play something.
During the Open Segment, Yong Meng and all the Pianovers present got together for a group photo. Everyone was chatting and having a blast at the Meetup. Everybody was busy talking and connecting with each other and having a very good time!
Sunday was Siew Tin's exact birthday and we had prepared a birthday cake for her. The cake was placed in front of the group during the group picture taking. Later, Joseph and Chris played happy birthday song on the pianos. They were also joined by the rest in singing for her. Amid the festive mood, people were chatting, and having their cake.
It was a really fun moment tonight and our turnout was almost 50, although the picture showed 42, as some preferred not to be in the photograph or left earlier.
All in all, it was a pleasant night for all who attended. Even though it has been two years since the very first Pianovers Meetup, it is nice to still see music lovers and piano enthusiasts from all walks of life converge at a common location and bond. Till the next one!