Pianovers unite! It was a lovely Sunday evening filled with an eclectic mix of piano music that surely delighted attendees and passersby alike. Established by ThePiano.SG as a regular event since July 2016, Pianovers Meetup has been a platform for the piano community to gather and share their love for the piano. Across its many weekly Meetups, many friendships are forged and the passion for the instrument is unmistakable. It truly is a thriving place for piano enthusiasts to be.
On 9 September, the Founder of ThePiano.SG, Sng Yong Meng, was joined by five enthusiastic Pianovers for a pre-Meetup casual dinner. Amongst the dinner group was newcomer Jasmine Khoo, who would make her debut performance at the Meetup later. Jasmine also shared with us that she will be having her G8 exams in two weeks – we wish her all the very best and success! Another Pianover at dinner who also would have his debut performance today was Goh Eng Mong. Dinner was also shared with our regular Pianovers Zafri, Yarni and Hiro.
Officially marking the start of the 92nd edition of the Pianovers Meetup at the URA Centre, Yong Meng announced that in celebration of the 2nd anniversary of Pianovers Meetup, there will be the Pianovers Recital 2018 on 28 December 2018. We are all excited about assisting fellow pianists progress in their pursuit of their musical passion, and are also happy seeing aspiring pianists take to the stage and realise their dreams of performing at a recital. Watch out for our upcoming annoucement on this, especially if you're looking to either perform in this Recital, or to support our performers.
And, speaking of celebrations, the Mid-Autumn Festival is drawing near! To soak in the mid-autumn atmosphere, Pianovers are encouraged to join the pot-luck gathering on 23 September and bring lanterns, mooncakes, and tea. It shall be a relaxing Sunday evening of delightful music and delicious refreshments.
Another important announcement Pianovers might find useful is ThePiano.SG now hosts a Used Pianos listing. Sellers can even add a YouTube video to their listing and let potential buyers have a preview of the piano. Here’s an example of how the video will appear on the listing (under the “Virtual Tour” tab) – happy selling!
With the announcements made, the mini recital began with Gwen and her piano teacher, Suzanna’s performance of Puff The Magic by Leonard Lipton and Peter Yarrow, a song that gained prominence through a 1963 recording by Yarrow’s group. Fun fact! Yarrow was inspired by a poem Lipton wrote in 1959 and he wrote the song lyrics based on it. Thereafter, Yarrow gave Lipton half credit for the song after it was released.
Next up was Gavin Koh, who played a song that is new in the Pianovers Meetup repertoire entitled Lotus Land, Op. 47, No. 1 by late romantic English composer Cyril Scott. The piece was written in 1905 in a style that is redolent of Impressionism. Scott, also known as the “Father of modern British music”, was said to be admired by notable contemporaries from all over the world; they include close friend Percy Grainger, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Richard Strauss and Igor Stravinsky.
Following the mood piece was Gavin’s heartfelt performance of the famous concert piece Flower Duet (French: Duo des fleurs / Sous le dôme épais) by French Romantic composer Léo Delibes, used in his opera "Lakmé". This is a duet of soprano and mezzo-soprano that sees a scene between the opera’s characters – Lakmé and her attendant Mallika – gathering flowers by a river. The piece appears in Act 1 of the three-act opera, which made its premiere in 1883 in Paris. Ever a classic, the song is often heard in films and advertisements, including a work by composer and musician Yanni and Malcolm McLaren as a soundtrack entitled ‘Aria’, for British Airways’ 1989 World Face commercial.
Moving from European pieces, regular Pianover Albert took to the keys and presented his performances on "搖船曲" by 姚敏 and "断肠紅" by 庄宏, of which the latter was most notably brought to life by Chinese songstress 吴莺音, one of the greatest singing stars of the 1940s. 吴莺音 is also known for her 1948 Chinese New Year-inspired song 大地回春.
Keeping up the spirit of popular Chinese classics, Rony Ang shared his piece on the piano with a Teresa Teng song "小城故事", which was a track for a 1979 movie of the same name. The song was composed by 翁清溪, who initially met with some problems in getting the best singer for the track. However, the song rose to prominence when Teresa was chosen to sing it; she was 26 years old then.
Up next was newcomer Jasmine Khoo, who made her debut performance at Pianovers Meetup with "Presto: first movement from Sonata in E minor, Hob.XVI/34" by Joseph Haydn. Accompanying Jasmine was her friend Evelina who showed her support by playing the (very important!) role of the page turner. Jasmine played the song beautifully and held Pianovers’ attention with this complex Haydn piece. Trivia: Before the likes of music geniuses Mozart and Beethoven was Hadyn, of which he was a friend and mentor to the former, and a teacher to the latter.
Also, did you know? Haydn scored his sonatas differently in light of keyboard developments in the late 18th century, most notably after year 1770. The keyboard development saw the harpsichord replaced by the fortepiano, which allows for dynamic and timbral changes. This was something that Haydn recognised as he composed the sonatas, thus leading to the first 30 scored for harpsichord, and the following nine scored for either harpsichord or fortepiano. With the Piano Sonata in E minor, Hob.XVI/34, also the 34th sonata, as termed by the Hoboken-Verzeichnis classification, the piece is scored for either keyboard.
Next, sharing the ivories were familiar faces Jeremy Foo and Teh Yuqing, who took on the 4th movement, Ballet of French composer Claude Debussy’s "Petite Suite, L 65", a suite for four hands playing on the same piano. This suite has inspired several transcriptions, one of which is a famous orchestral version by Henri Büsser, a colleague of Debussy’s.
Jonathan Lam, a Pianover since our 38th gathering in June last year, played Requiem in D minor, Op. 48, No. 5 (Agnus Dei) by Gabriel Fauré. It is the fifth movement out of a total of seven movements. Faure took three years to compose the Requiem, between 1887 and 1890, but made later revisions in the 1890s and then finally completing it in 1900. The inspiration behind Faure’s composition is not known.
Amidst the regular Pianovers was Goh Eng Mong, who attended our 33rd Meetup with Adam, the Steinway artist, and our 49th Meetup at Suntec City last year. This Sunday evening marked his very first performance at a Pianovers Meetup, where he played one of the most classic Chinese songs 月亮代表我的心 (The Moon Represents My Heart) by 翁清溪, as well as 在水一方 by 林家慶. The lyrics behind 在水一方 was written by 琼瑶 and it was a theme song for her 1975 film of the same name - based on her own novel published at the start of the year. In 1980, Teresa Teng did a cover of this song.
Thereafter, Hiro tinkled the keys with 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.
Four months ago, Hiro arrived in Singapore from Japan, and is now working here as a music teacher. Witnessing Hiro’s performance this evening was his parents, who are here to tour Singapore – welcome to Singapore! Have an enjoyable stay and we hope to see you again soon!
Joining us again is Pianover Lim Ee Fong, who performed two pieces. The first was Subaru by Tanimura Shinji. The second was 遗忘过去 by 巫启贤 which was featured in the 1985 local drama series entitled "咖啡乌", which was about a coffeeshop and the daily happenings and lives of the residents living near this coffeeshop.
In a repertoire full of works from foreign composers, the mini recital ended with an English song composed by Singaporean composer Dick Lee. Long-time Pianover Chris Khoo (who has been with us since our Meetup#2!) charmed Pianovers with his cover of Dick Lee’s "Another World". The song was from Michael Chiang’s 1988 hit musical "Beauty World". Taking reference from 1950s black-and-white Cantonese movies, the musical’s story, set in 1960s Singapore, follows a young Malaysian Batu Pahat girl who travels to Singapore in search of her father, only to be swept up in an unexpected situation that lands her in the eponymous night club of some shady reputation.
At the end of the recital, the Open Segment began with a group picture that was taken at a new corner! This time, it was taken at the feature board where Gavin made a treble clef sign with the giant pin screen. To mark the end of the Meetup, Pianovers were invited to jam on the pianos as they liked and the evening came to a close with many happy Pianovers just having a great time chatting about the evening’s setlist, which songs they enjoyed, and what they are planning to play at a future Pianovers Meetup!
As with all Pianovers Meetup, our Pianovers will always find themselves enriched by the performances and the sheer passion of their pianist peers. Pianovers Meetup is where you can find, not only people of the same interest, but also make connections and forge friendships. No matter if you are young, old, an experienced pianist or a beginner, or if you simply enjoy listening to piano music, here at Pianovers, we always welcome you with arms wide (and a couple of pianos)!