When I was in prep school, I saw a sixth-grader playing piano in the principal’s office. Her fine fingers fell gently and swiftly like falling leaves over piano keys, as she played a song that hooked me for about 10 minutes. I was amazed, but my amazement did not stop there. I wanted to learn how to play the piano. So happily I asked my mother if she could enroll me to piano lessons. But things got too tough then, when she needed to fly abroad for her overseas job. My uncle followed in a few months. Practically, they did not have anything to spend for my piano lessons. So the enthusiasm that once sprouted in me had turned into a frustration. But even so, I am grateful enough that those circumstances paved me a beautiful path to writing and Love.
I still yearn to learn playing piano. I am always at awe watching and listening to pianists, young and old, playing piano either serenely or with gusto. Sometimes, I somewhat envy them, watching how they glide their fingers across the keys of a grand piano, wishing I could play the way they do. But that does not bother me anymore. Indeed, both awe and envy are in synergy of my musical inspiration. I grew up listening more. I love those instrumentals, whether classic or contemporary. I love it so much when I listen to their melodious and soothing rhythms. I immerse myself to piano music, as it fuels me to write more. All I know is that even I am yet to learn how to play piano, my heart continues to listen.
I began listening to Yanni’s stirring and energetic music. I tried hitting some keys and playing some notes of Pachelbel’s Canon, as I mimicked the finger guide digitally blinking on a small LCD screen of an electronic keyboard. I mused in nostalgia in my teenage years, writing those old unfinished stories while listening to Jim Brickman. Nowadays, whenever I write my blogs, working on writing projects, I enjoy listening to many solo compositions written and played by many modern pianists. I tune in to an online radio and get myself into its nonstop music stream. Such is my wonderfully musical bliss!
Through the piano, I feel the harmony of the Universe.
I once listened to the word piano and it brought me the music of its story. Bartolomeo Cristofori crafted the first instrument around 1700, transformed the older and smaller harpsichords he used to build into something bigger and tougher, with fuller sounds. He called his new instrument fortepiano, combining two Italian words, which respectively means “loud” and “quiet”. His prototype has improved since then, and the modern piano came into being. However, there is more to this invention. Through the piano, we have learned to listen more.
Through the piano, I feel the harmony of the Universe. The combination of loud and quiet sounds. The yin and yang in those black and white keys. The strings that vibrate and tug the strings of my heart. The melody of emotions it brings. The meeting of music with my imagination and dreams. The sacred song it sings. The silence between notes, the void by which all music grows. The possibility that in this world of absolute opposites and innumerable differences, there is always an eternal music out of these intolerable noise of our fast-paced world.
I have listened more. Through the piano, I can forever listen to the genius of Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi, Bach and all other great composers of classical music, whose symphonies and sonatas continue to enthrall us across all generations. Through the piano, I enjoy listening to the compositions of many of my favorite solo pianists: Stanton Lanier, whose music brings “peace and rest to a hurried world”, while Joe Bongiorno shares this intention by bringing his music as a healing to others and to himself. As David Nevue creates and plays his songs, he also brings his fellow pianists to the whole world. It echoes Kevin Kern‘s musical vision, which enchants many listeners. In simple ways, Greg Maroney draws his music from nature and his loved ones and plays his songs like telling stories. Likewise, Michele Maclaughlin reflects the wide spectrum of emotions in her music; and Rebecca Kragnes shares her music as a reflection of her true self. Joe Yamada expresses his heartfelt presence; and Wayne Gratz plays his songs by heart long before composing them.
There is one thing they all share: their music is a testament to a deep inner discovery: this sense of peace, this appreciation of essence, this magic of beauty that we can all hear and see. Their promise, through the piano, is to bring that experience to the world. I attest to their fulfillment, for they have all evoked in me those feelings that we all humans long to return. It makes me equally and perhaps even more fulfilled. Through the piano, their music never fails to inspire me to play my own in every word I write – and in every moment I Love.
I am sharing my favorite list of beautiful piano solos, composed and played by those artists I have mentioned above. Enjoy!