Pianovers Meetup #97 Digest

Pianovers Meetup #97 Digest

It is always a joyous moment when passionate piano lovers come together and connect. Every Sunday evening, a group of Pianovers – as these piano lovers are affectionately known as – converge on Urban Park @ URA Centre for the Pianovers Meetup. Although they come from all walks of life, they are connected by a common love for music. Over four hours, they play, listen and connect with one another. 

As early as 5:00pm, a group of Pianovers had already gathered at The URA Centre. Although the performances start at 7:00pm, early birds come much earlier to have dinner together. Food always bonds people easily, so it is for a good reason that Pianovers come together and have an early dinner. This evening, we had Hiro, Rainbow, Lukas Lim, Gavin, Ee Fong, Aditi and Mun Yee joining ThePiano.SG Founder Sng Yong Meng at dinner. Over delicious local grub, they exchanged stories and had a great session.

Pianovers Meetup #97, Fang Ming Yu, Liu Xin, and Ng Mun Yee
Pianovers Meetup #97, Pianovers enjoying Goodies
Pianovers Meetup #97, Rainbow, and Hiro

Soon, it was time to make their way back to The URA Centre. The rest of the Pianovers had already arrived and what delighted Pianovers was the kind gesture of some Pianovers, who brought goodies for all to share. It warms our heart knowing that Pianovers in our community genuinely care for one another! This evening, we also welcomed some newcomers. Our piano teacher Mun Yee brought her piano students, while Jessie brought her friend Taro, who hails from Japan. We also welcomed Vaibhav Bahadur from India. Welcome, Taro and VB, to Singapore and to Pianovers Meetup!

Announcement for Pianovers Meetup #99 on 28 October 2018! This Meetup will be Halloween-themed! Be sure to dress up in beautiful costumes for the event! Or play compositions related to the macabre and morbid! Spice up the Meetup with your creativity and imagination! However, do remember Pianovers Meetup is a family-oriented gathering. Be spooky but also fun and kid-friendly!

Pianovers Meetup #97, Gavin Koh performing
Pianovers Meetup #97, Rowen Wong performing
Pianovers Meetup #97, Albert performing

Before long, the Mini-recital started and getting the ball rolling today was Gavin Koh, who played Broken Vow by Walter Afanasieff. "Broken Vow" was written by Lara Fabian for her own 1999 album known by the same title. A popular cover was by Josh Groban, who included it in its album, Closer in 2002. Also, "Broken Vow" was featured in the Taiwanese soap opera "Meteor Garden II", and its music video incorporates several scenes from the drama series.

Next on the list of performers was Rowen Wong. Rowen played "Lyric Pieces, Op. 71, No. 3 (Puck)" by Edvard Grieg. "Lyric Pieces" consists of 66 short pieces for solo piano, published in 10 volumes. The collection incorporates many well-known pieces from Grieg, like "Wedding Day at Troldhaugen" and "March of the Trolls (Trolltog)". Grieg is also the composer behind other famous pieces, such as "In the Hall of the Mountain King" and "Anitra's Dance".

Next up at the piano was Albert, who played 总有一天等到你 by 姚敏. One of the keys on the piano was not responding well, and he decided to transpose on the spot to a key which did not require the use of that sticky key. This was just amazing and Albert would have noticed it as well, for Pianovers were cheering him on throughout the performance! They concluded with a loud applause when Albert finished his last note! Well done, Albert!

Pianovers Meetup #97, Fang Ming Yu performing
Pianovers Meetup #97, Teik Lee performing
Pianovers Meetup #97, Erika Iishiba performing for us

Fang Ming Yu played Au clair de Lune. This French name translates to "By the Light of the Moon”. This piece is a French folk song from the 18th century. Owing to its simple melody, it is often taught to beginners who are learning a new instrument. This song is not to be confused with "Clair de Lune", the third and most famous movement of Suite bergamasque, in D♭major, by Debussy. Following this French composition, Ming Yu played Auld Lang Syne.

Yu Teik Lee was next on the list and he delighted Pianovers with a medley of two pieces, "Make You Feel My Love" by Bob Dylan and "My Way" by Claude François and Jacques Revaux. "My Way" was originally published in 1967 and had the original name "Comme d'habitude" (As usual). It was later popularised by Frank Sinatra. There are two interpretations. The French song is about routine in a failing relationship. The English version, by comparison, describes how one looks back at one's life without regret.

Erika Iishiba played "Ah, vous dirai-je maman", K.265/300e, Theme, Variations No. 1 to 9, by Mozart.

  1. Theme
  2. Variation No. 1
  3. Variation No. 2
  4. Variation No. 3 
  5. Variation No. 4
  6. Variation No. 5
  7. Variation No. 6
  8. Variation No. 7
  9. Variation No. 8
  10. Variation No. 9

This French folk song was composed when he was around 25 years old. However, it was based on a French melody that first appeared in 1761. Although the melody has been around for almost three centuries, it is still very popular and has been used multiple nursery rhymes, such as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star", "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep", and the "Alphabet Song".

Pianovers Meetup #97, Tan Chia Huee performing
Pianovers Meetup #97, Grace Wong performing
Pianovers Meetup #97, Hiro performing

Next up at the piano was Tan Chia Huee, who played Blumenlied (Flower Song) Op. 39 by Gustav Lange, who was a German piano composer who made a name himself for his melodious salon music. He is well-known for "Edelweiss Op. 31" and "Blumenlied Op. 39". It should be noted, though, that "Edelweiss Op. 31" is not the one from "The Sound of Music", though they have similar names!

Following Chia Huee’s performance, Pianovers appreciated Grace Wong’s rendition of Etude Op. 10, No. 1 by Frédéric Chopin. This piece is also known as the "Waterfall Etude", one of Chopin’s 24 Etudes. It is known as the most difficult of Chopin’s 24 Etudes and even made it to the highest level of difficulty, as compiled by the Henle difficulty rankings, which classified it under the category “Stretches: right hand”. According to the Polish composer Chopin himself, “You shall benefit from this Etude. If you learn it according to my instructions it will expand your hand and enable you to perform arpeggios like strokes of the [violin] bow. Unfortunately, instead of teaching, it frequently un-teaches everything." Grace Wong also played another piece, 童话 (Fairy Tale) by 王光良.

Hiro played two pieces tonight, at the request of fellow Pianover Rainbow, who joined Pianovers Meetup recently. The first was Saranghamye on halsurok (Theme from The Classic) by Yoo Young Suk, and was the theme song used in the 2003 romance melodrama film "The Classic". It appears at different points in the film but always at emotional moments. Although only the instrumental version is played during the film, it is actually sung in the final scenes. Apart from the original Korean versions, there are also two Mandarin versions. One is known as 灰色空間, performed by Taiwanese singer Show Lo in the Taiwanese drama The Outsider II. The other is known as 假如爱有天意, sung by Chinese singer Li Jian in "I Am a Singer 3" breakout round. Hiro also played 白桦林 by 朴树. It was very nice of Hiro to accede to Rainbow’s requests. He actually played them “live” for her! Kudos to Hiro for your performance!

Pianovers Meetup #97, Chris Khoo performing
Pianovers Meetup #97, May Ling performing
Pianovers Meetup #97, Lim Ee Fong performing

Next to enthrall the audience was regular Pianover Chris Khoo, who performed For All We Know by Fred Karlin. Although this piece was written for the 1970s comedy film, "Lovers and Other Strangers", it became very popular after the American duo Carpenters performed a cover version of this song in 1971. In fact, the duo did so well that they won the Academy Award for Best Original Song that year. The Carpenters duo actually comprised a brother-and-sister pair, Karen and Richard Carpenters. For all their success, Karen died of anorexia in 1983. She was only 33.

May Ling was the next to perform. She first played "Celebration", a 1980 song by "Kool & the Gang". This piece was written as a collaborative piece by the whole band and it made its way into their album "Celebrate!". Although this song was written decades ago, it is still often played at various weddings and parties. Furthermore, it is also regularly used as an anthem during sporting events. "Celebration" has been also covered by other parties, like the New Zealand band Dragon in 1987, as well as Kylie Minogue in 1992. It was even performed at the 2000 Paralympics opening ceremony! May Ling performed her second piece, "The Hustle" by Van McCoy.

Lim Ee Fong played a Chinese classic, 我只在乎你 by 三木刚. This song was popularised by the late Teresa Teng, who was also the original performer. It was first published in Japan in 1986. A year later, it was compiled in an album of the same title. This song won Teresa two major awards in 1986, namely 全日本有線放送大獎 and 日本有線大獎. In fact, this is not the first time she had won both awards. In fact, it was her third consecutive time! This remains a record held by her.

Pianovers Meetup #97, John performing
Pianovers Meetup #97, Group picture
Pianovers Meetup #97, Lukas Lim, Hiro, Grace Wong, and Jess

Last on the list of Pianovers this evening but definitely not the least was John, who performed This Love (from Descendants of the Sun) by Lee Hae-ri and Kang Min-kyung. Pianovers who had watched him perform before would have remembered his unique way of playing: Leaving his handphone on the piano’s book stand as it played the music video of the piece he was playing, listening to the video with earphones, and playing by simply watching the video and not relying on any music score!

The final player might have finished his performance, however, the end of the Mini-recital was hardly the end of Pianovers Meetup! Needless to say, all of us had a group photograph first taken for posterity! We had only just started the Open Segment. This is a time of open jamming, bonding and connecting! As on every Sunday, this segment saw lots of interaction between Pianovers!

Pianovers Meetup #97, Pianovers buying the Pianovers T-Shirt
Pianovers Meetup #97, Pianovers jamming
Pianovers Meetup #97, Pianovers connecting

As Pianovers jammed on the two pianos, others could be seen standing next to them giving encouragement. Other Pianovers actively connected with one another, sharing their own piano journeys and recounting their experiences. This evening, we even had a Greek tourist, Apostolos, join us and soak in the joyous atmosphere.

With all the positive energy around us and camaraderie between Pianovers, it was such an enjoyable night that we could not bear to leave when the Meetup ended. Finally, we packed up and left, albeit with fond memories of the event.