Pianovers Meetup #91 Digest

Pianovers Meetup #91 Digest

At ThePiano.SG, we aim to bring together from different walks of life but bonded by a common love for the piano. Our regular event, known affectionately as Pianovers Meetup, happens every Sunday evening. During this informal get-together, piano lovers come together for an evening of enjoyment and fun. Pianovers Meetup is held at Urban Park @ URA Centre, where two refurbished pianos are placed at, courtesy of Play It Forward Singapore.

During these four hours, Pianovers are always seen happily connecting, having fun, and playing to a crowd of enthusiastic music lovers. Pianovers Meetup is a useful platform not just for aspiring pianists to showcase their skills but also for piano students, who now have a platform to play in public and gain their confidence. The connection and playing do not stop with these two groups of people, though. Since July 2016, when Pianovers Meetup started, Pianovers, as the piano lovers are called, have been actively bringing their families and friends to attend this wonderful and meaningful event. Even tourists are enthralled, as they walk by, notice us, and sit in, some throughout the entire evening!

On 2 September 2018, the 91st instalment of Pianovers Meetup took place. As early as 5pm, a group of energetic Pianovers met up. Although the preparation for the Mini-Recital does not start until 6:30pm, early birds arrive at 5pm to meet for a good dinner and bond. Albert Cheng, Soong, Shi Wei, Elyn and Hiro met Sng Yong Meng, the Founder of ThePiano.SG, for an early dinner. Albert, Soong and Shi Wei were new to the Pianovers Meetup platform, however, they were every bit as enthusiastic about meeting and connecting as the regular members! Following a brief introduction, they trooped to the nearby Maxwell Road Food Centre, where they indulged in local favourites and connected further. It is always easier to bond over a common love for food!

Pianovers Meetup #91, Yong Meng, Annie and her friends
Pianovers Meetup #91, Sheila, and Cece
Pianovers Meetup #91, Siew Tin, and Neo Shi Wei

Having satisfied their hunger, the Pianovers went back to The URA Centre where they found other Pianovers already waiting for them. They included a group of new Pianovers. We welcomed Raj and his family, Evelyn, Sheila and Cece, Adam and Jianbin, May San, Annie’s friends, Clair Ong, as well as Neo Shi Wei.

Shi Wei is a Mass Communications student from NTU and a former intern at The Business Times. He had been tasked to cover community events for a school project, about how Singaporeans were finding different ways to come together as a community. He was seen talking to some Pianovers. As a former piano player himself, he is also interested to hear piano pieces again.

Pianovers Meetup #91, Preparing for 4 hands playing later
Pianovers Meetup #91, Annie, Elyn, and Clair
Pianovers Meetup #91, Jenny, and I-Wen

This evening, we had a duo performance. As it would involve two pianos, some Pianovers took the initiative to move the glass piano from the other side of the central sculpture. Among the people who arrived tonight were Pianovers who had bought items from our Online Store. They had made their way down to our Meetup to collect these items from us! While some of these items are listed in our Online Store, some are actually customised according to their needs, for example, bedsheets, curtains and hand towels. Our range of products is not just limited to what you see on the Online Store. If you have anything that is piano-themed in mind, please call / WhatsApp Yong Meng at 81380241 and let him know your requirements!

During the announcements, Yong Meng also announced to Pianovers present about the Used Pianos listing page on our website. Now you can list your used piano for free, and sell it in the shortest possible time by reaching the widest targeted audience.

Pianovers Meetup #91, Gavin Koh performing
Pianovers Meetup #91, Emmy Koh performing
Pianovers Meetup #91, Siew Tin, and Teh Yuqing performing

Following the announcements, it was time to start the Mini-Recital. Gavin Koh got the ball rolling with his piece, Concerto Pour Une Jeune Fille Nommee (Je T'aime) by Paul de Senneville. This piece was originally performed by Richard Clayderman, the well-known French pianist originally known as Philippe Pagès. The pianist changed his name to Richard Clayderman to allow English-speaking fans to relate to him more easily. Till today, he is still the world’s most commercially successful pianist. Most of Clayderman’s music was written by Paul de Senneville and Oliver Toussaint, including Clayderman’s signature piece "Ballade Pour Adeline".

Emmy Koh was up at the piano next. Emmy is Gavin’s daughter and she played I'm a Little Teapot, published by Clarence Kelley and George Harry Sanders in 1939. The couple ran a dance school for children and taught the "Waltz Clog", which is meant to be an easy-to-learn tap dance routine. However, when this was introduced to children, they found difficulty mastering it. To address the problem, George Sanders wrote "The Teapot Song", which required minimal skill and encouraged natural pantomime. 

Siew Tin and Teh Yuqing played 黄昏 by 周传雄, which was compiled in the 2000 album “Transfer (忘记)”, and published by Sony Music. 周传雄 was disappointed by the album sales and floated the idea of terminating his contract with Sony Music. In 2001, he discovered pirated versions of his album in various shops in China. He was subsequently invited to a fans gathering, organised by a broadcaster. Because he did not publish even one album in China, he thought it was a scam. However, the event turned out to be real. It was only much later when he realised that although his album had been pirated – to the tune of 100 versions – he was a very famous singer there.

Pianovers Meetup #91, Albert performing
Pianovers Meetup #91, I-Wen performing
Pianovers Meetup #91, Grace Wong, and Teh Yuqing performing

Albert played two pieces this evening, "初一到十五" by 姚敏 and "月朦胧 鸟朦胧" by 古月. The latter is used as theme song for the 1978 movie of the same title, starring 林青霞 (Brigitte Lin). 刘家昌, a famous composer, who seldom sang praises for others, even commented on the high standard of this piece. In order to publicise this piece, 林青霞 participated a special TV program hosted by 凤飞飞 and sang this song together with her. It's a rare scene to have two divas from both the music and movies scenes work together on a common song!

Next to go up to the stage was I-Wen, who played three pieces this evening, Red Indian Dance, Mickey Waltz and March of the Little Bears. It was great to see her back after fully recovered from an illness. I-Wen continues to display utmost enthusiasm and is very happy to perform for everyone. Today her mother, Jenny, brought along Tweety Bird plushie and had it hop in rhythm with her playing.

Grace Wong and Teh Yuqing played "Sonata for Two Pianos in D major K448, 1st movt" by Mozart. This piece was composed when Mozart was only 25. The well-known Mozart's Effect has been the subject of discussions. The debate about the benefits of the so-called Mozart Effect has raged on for years, but to date, it appears that no conclusive evidence can be found to substantiate this claim. Still, many excited parents-to-be indulge in this practice in the hope of having smarter babies. In 1993, researchers published a paper which described how research subjects did better in spatial reasoning skills after being exposed to Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major (K448), compared to others who were given relaxation instructions to lower blood pressure or who were simply exposed to silence. Further tests proved inconclusive as other researchers produced differing results.

Pianovers Meetup #91, Janice Liew performing
Pianovers Meetup #91, Adrian Huang performing
Pianovers Meetup #91, May Ling performing

Janice Liew performed Melodies of Life, composed by Nobuo Uematsu and sung in both Japanese and English by Emiko Shiratori. This was the main theme and vocal theme song of Final Fantasy IX. In this game, the theme is played when during moments showing the romantic relationship between Zidane Tribal and Garnet Til Alexandros XVII. Nobuo Uematsu is well-regarded in Japan and is considered to be one of the most well-known composers in the video game industry. He is sometimes referred to as the "Beethoven of video games music". He has appeared five times in the top 20 of the annual Classic FM Hall of Fame.

Next to go up to the piano was Adrian Huang, who played Can't Fight This Feeling by Kevin Cronin. This piece was originally performed by American rock band REO Speedwagon, which was formed in 1967 and had a strong following during the 1970s. It became a very successful band in the 1980s, until it waned in popularity in the late 1980s. One of the band’s most successful pieces was Hi Infidelity (1980) which sold over 10 million copies. The single, Can’t Fight This Feeling, which Adrian played tonight, remained at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart for three consecutive weeks in 1985.

May Ling delighted the audience with a medley from the movie Crazy Rich Asians, comprising: Yellow by Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman and Will Champion, as well as Can't Help Falling In Love by Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore and George David Weiss. The latter was composed in 1961 and was a pop ballad. Originally performed by Elvis Presley, it was featured in his 1961 film "Blue Hawaii". As one listens, one may notice the catchy melody. What some people may not know is that this melody was inspired by the romantic piece "Plaisir d'amour" (1784) by Jean-Paul-Égide Martini.

Pianovers Meetup #91, Jonathan Lam performing
Pianovers Meetup #91, Tejas Kurmala performing
Pianovers Meetup #91, Rajvardhan Kotipalli performing

After May Ling’s performance, Pianovers listened to the next Pianover, Jonathan Lam who played Requiem - Libera Me by Gabriel Fauré. Requiem has a total of seven movements. The piece that Jonathan played, Libera Me (“Deliver Me” in English) is the sixth. It is a service of prayers that is said for the dead, just before burial. The text of Libera Me asks God to have mercy upon the deceased person at the Last Judgment. It is unclear why Fauré composed this piece of work. He wrote it in the late 1880s, long after his parents had passed away, and revised it in the 1890s. He finally finished it in 1900.

Tejas Kurmala played Tarantella: No. 6 from Miniatures, Op. 33 by Samuel Moiseyevich Maykapar, as well as Perfect by Ed Sheeran. In March 2017, Sheeran occupied all of the top five positions in the United Kingdom charts. At the same time, he placed nine songs in the Top Ten of the UK Singles Chart. When he was marketing his November 2017 concert in Singapore, all his tickets, which went for a minimum of SGD148, were snapped up in just 40 minutes! His tickets were also sold in the secondary market for SGD850! It was definitely good to see Tejas back again. The last time we saw him was him playing at Pianovers Recital 2017, on 20 Aug 2017, when we celebrated our 1st anniversary of Pianovers Meetup.

Rajvardhan Kotipalli, friend of Tejas, was up at the piano next, and he played The Happy Farmer by Robert Schumann, which is a piece included in the ABRSM 2017/2018 Grade 4 examination and is one of the compositions in "Album for the Young" (Album für die Jugend), Op. 68. This album was composed by Robert Schumann in 1848 for his three daughters and consists of 43 short works. "The Happy Farmer" is the 10th in the series and describes “the merry peasant” who returns from work in the field. Following The Happy Farmer, Rajvardhan played Minuet and Trio: second movement from Sonata in A flat, Hob. XVI:43 by Joseph Haydn.

Pianovers Meetup #91, Albert Cheng performing
Pianovers Meetup #91, Hiro performing
Pianovers Meetup #91, Black grand piano handbag

Albert Cheng played River Flows In You by Yiruma, whose original name is Lee Ru-ma. Like "Kiss The Rain", "River Flows In You" 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. Albert Cheng just arrived in Singapore three months ago, and is now working here. Today is his debut Meetup and debut performance. Well done, Albert, for stepping up to perform at your first Pianovers Meetup! We are looking forward to seeing him more often and getting to know him better.

Last but not least, we heard from Hiro, who played 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.

Pianovers Meetup #91, Group picture
Pianovers Meetup #91, Yong Meng, Chng Jia Hui, Tejas Kurmala's family, and Rajvardhan Kotipalli's family
Pianovers Meetup #91, Pianovers chatting

Following Hiro’s performance, the evening moved into the Open Segment. This segment is always a welcome part of the evening and we saw lots of interaction! As mentioned earlier, Pianovers Meetup is also about connecting people through a love of music, and a platform for pianists and even aspiring pianists to know like-minded friends!

Tonight, we even had a whopping number of piano teachers – eight in all! It's great that teachers are bringing their students to Pianovers Meetup. This out-of-classroom experience and exposure are invaluable in helping them to gain exposure and interact with other piano lovers, both of which are beneficial to their learning process. We took a group photograph, before continuing to mingle and connect.

Without a doubt, Pianovers Meetup #91 was an energetic and fun evening for those who attended!