There are many kinds of sheet music for the popular Chinese song Dan Yuan Ren Chang Jiu sung at Mid-Autumn Festival.
When I asked my mom to select songs made popular by the late Teresa Teng besides my favorite Ni Ze Me Shuo, she mentioned Dan Yuan Ren Chang Jiu. On the night of the super blood moon and lunar eclipse, I learned of its significance. The lyrics come from a famous poem by Su Shi, also known as Su Dong Po. The song is associated with the Mid Autumn Festival, which is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. For 2015, it’s Sunday September 27th.
A concert of music works with titles to do with the earth so as to raise awareness and respect the earth and all that’s around us —
In tandem with arranging music for the Earth Day Jam, a free one-hour piano workshop to get people to experience making music together, I decided to end the week with a tribute to the earth. As in previous two concerts this year, my most advanced students opened the concert for me, this time with more confidence and conviction than ever before.
The piano theme from Cloud Atlas is haunting and beautiful. While there are many versions arranged by piano fans, I have yet to find one for easy piano. Here is an attempt. Work in progress.
The melody of the movie Cloud Atlas (2012) is so haunting that it’s possible to loop it in a forever trance. It’s much slower than I had thought when I first sightread it. Not having seen the movie, I’m only guessing that the motif is the common thread throughout. Here’s a 30 minute version that can be used as background music or for meditation.
Anne Ku hunts for interesting piano solo music to play at Christmas and discovers Christmas carols arranged by Sally DeFord and Jim Brickman as well as Hawaiian melodies by Daniel Ho.
I would like to end 2011 with a welcome to 2012 by touching upon piano solo music that is interesting to play.
A few years ago I arranged “Ding Dong Merrily On High” for piano, guitar, and violin. While it was an assignment at conservatory, I nevertheless enjoyed the experience and hoped to see such Christmas arrangements elsewhere. I never got the chance to fully research this.
This Christmas, I needed music. So I began my search.
In preparation for the 2 hour caroling session on the new (old) grand piano at Roselani Place, I looked for Christmas carol arrangements that were atypical of the traditional SATB but interesting and pleasant to play. A good improviser only needs the melody and the chords to produce something fitting of the occasion. Christmas carol from church hymnals are one source for improvisers but not for those who like to read and play something different.
I googled and found Sally DeFord who has made her arrangements freely downloadable from her website at http://www.defordmusic.com She specifically wrote “making copies for non-commercial use is permitted.”
From the university library, I found an album of piano solo arrangements by Jim Brickman. He wrote “The Gift,” which a soprano from the Maui College choir sang to my accompaniment at Roselani Place. I played it again on Christmas Day as a postlude. The congregation at the Christian Science Church where I substituted as pianist for 3 services gave wonderful feedback about my selection. It was Christmas with a new age feel. Certainly, I enjoyed playing carols with a twist.
On 15th December 2011 at the McCoy Theatre at the Maui Arts & Cultural Centre, I watched the multi-talented Daniel Ho play guitar, ukelele, piano, and sing. He improvised while accompanying Tia Carrere and George Kahumoku, Jr. Or had he memorised his own arrangements? I couldn’t wait to meet him in person during the intermission. I asked if his improvisations were written down arrangements or actual improvisations he performed. The answer came in the form of an e-mail with a zipped folder of his published works for piano solo, piano with other instruments, ukelele, and slack key guitar.
Now that the Christmas festivities are over, I look forward to studying the arrangements and compositions of Daniel Ho. His book “E Kahe Malie: Hawaiian Piano Instrumentals” contains piano versions of 11 songs spanning 42 pages. His “Colorful Sounds” book presents his own harmonic method he uses in his compositions, arrangements, and performances. It will be the beginning of my quest for arrangements of traditional melodies (in this case, Hawaiian) in different styles.