On 26 August 2018, piano lovers converged on the URA Centre for the 90th instalment of the Pianovers Meetup. The brainchild of ThePiano.SG Founder Sng Yong Meng, Pianovers Meetups are intended to bring together a community of piano lovers, young and old, experienced and novice. It is heartening to see people with a common love for piano come together every week to play, to learn, to enjoy and to exchange tips with one another. This weekend was no different. The early birds met at 5pm for dinner, before the programme proper started. This evening, Hiro, Sukanya and Ee Fong joined Yong Meng for the evening meal. Sukanya, who hails from Sri Lanka, was a newcomer, but that did not stop her from meeting the group and indulging in a sumptuous meal of local favourites.
Back at Piano Park @ URA Centre, it was time for Pianovers to gather again. We were very happy to welcome Gwen’s big family. Her brother, parents and grandparents all turned that evening to join in the joyous gathering. We also formally welcomed Sukanya to the Pianovers Meetup; Pianovers present that evening all gave our first-time visitor a resounding applause! We also welcomed Mervyn’s family. He brought along his wife and both sons to join in the musical outing.
At ThePiano.SG, we always welcome Pianovers to involve their family and good friends as they spread the joy of music. Music does not only connect people, but it transcends boundaries and brings people of different cultures and experiences together! Here, we would like to say Thank You to Elyn for bring goodies to share with all Pianovers present that evening! Your snacks certainly brought lots of cheer to all of us!
The first to delight the audience was Gwen, who played two pieces: Waves of the Danube by Ion Ivanovici and Rachmaninov Theme. The former is a very popular and recognised Romanian tune. It was composed in 1880 and is often confused with the other song that has the word Danube in the name. The famous piece, The Blue Danube, was composed by Johann Strauss II. Waves of the Danube made its way into a Korean song - In Praise of Death (Hymn of Death), and was recorded by Yun Sim-deok in Osaka in 1926. Sim-deok met and fell in love with a Korean married man there. They boarded a steamship headed back for Korea but, sadly, jumped together to their death while on board.
Gavin was next at the piano. He performed a medley of themes from five TV series: Magnum P.I., Mission Impossible, Muppet Show, Murder, She Wrote, as well as Star Trek. The Star Trek theme was played over both the opening and closing credits of the original series. There is an interesting piece of history to this song.
Roddenberry, who created the series, wrote lyrics to the theme, without the knowledge of Courage. He did not expect that these songs would ever be sung but did it only so that he would be recognised as the lyricist and thus be eligible for 50% share of the performance royalties. Subsequently, Courage remarked that Roddenberry’s action was unethical. And probably because of this incident, Courage never worked with Roddenberry for the second season. Star Trek was screened between 1966 and 1969.
Albert entertained the audience this evening with two pieces, "太湖船" by 明清戏 and "旧梦不须记" by 黄沾. The latter was originally sung by 雷安娜, a popular singer in the 1980s. This song was published in 1978 and was featured in the movie of the same title (the English name was “Once Upon a Time”). The Director of the movie was Sylvia Chang (张艾嘉), who won the most nominations in the Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actress to date.
Rowen was up at the piano next and played Theme from Once Upon A Time In China (黄飞鸿). This was a Hong Kong–Chinese film franchise and was directed, written, and produced by Tsui Hark. The stories contained within this film are based on the life of Chinese martial arts master and folk hero of Cantonese ethnicity, Wong Fei-hung. This character was portrayed first by Jet Li, and then replaced by Vincent Zhao in the later films. These films were among Jet Li's best known hits at that time.
May Ling played Un Homme Et Une Femme (A Man and a Woman) by Francis Lai. This song was the theme song in the French film of the same title that was released in 1966. It became the sixth highest-grossing film of the year in France. Francis Lai is a French composer who is known for several well-known compositions. One of his famous works is "Where Do I Begin" theme used in the film "Love Story".
Chris Khoo played a medley of two pieces: "Autumn Leaves" by Joseph Kosma and "Fly Me to the Moon" by Bart Howard. "Fly Me To The Moon" had the original title "In Other Words", and due to its popularity, it found its place in the US-based Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1999 as a "Towering Song”. This award is given to composers of individual songs that have created impact and gone on to influence the culture in a unique way.
Tom Sung played River Flows In You by Yiruma whose original name is Lee Ru-ma. Like "Kiss The Rain", it is compiled in Yiruma’s most popular album, First Love, released in 2001. The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Ontario, Canada has placed Yiruma’s pieces around Grade 7 in terms of their movement and reach.
Lim Ee Fong played a Chinese song, 酸甜 by 李天龙. This was quickly followed by Spanish Flea by Julius Wechter. Spanish Flea was written in 1965. In the United States, this song is used as the Bachelor’s Theme in the game show "The Dating Game". This song appeared again in 2013 film "White House Down", when it is heard repetitively on the character Richard Jenkin’s mobile phone ringtone.
Last but not least, Hiro performed Etude, Op. 10, No. 12 ("Revolutionary Etude") by Chopin. Dedicated to his friend, Franz Liszt, Revolutionary Etude was composed in 1831, and was the last of his first set, Etudes Op.10. It was noted that the piece originated from the humiliating defeat of the Polish Revolution. As Chopin wrote with a heavy heart, he was reported to have said, “All this has caused me much pain. Who could have foreseen it!”
Following Hiro’s performance, the Mini-Recital ended and we moved into the Open Segment. Not surprisingly, lots of jamming and socialising happened! We took a group photograph for posterity and were pleasantly surprised when Janice Liew, Adrian and Zhijing came and joined us. Janice and Adrian jammed till late. Meanwhile, the rest of the Pianovers connected with one another in various ways. It was truly an enjoyable evening for all Pianovers tonight!
Finally, it was time for all to part. Pianovers Meetup #90 had come to an end, however, without a doubt, all of us are looking forward to Meetup #91!