By Zhu Xiuhua (18S06A), Wong Zi Yang (19A01D), and Yoon Shwe Yee (19S03B)
Photos courtesy of Raffles Photographic Society
This year, the theme for the Raffles Institution Piano Ensemble (RIPE) concert was “The Missing Piece” – containing elements of time and travel, which were the themes for the 2016 and 2017 RIPE concerts respectively. During the concert, the audience was taken on a journey through the baroque era, the classical era, the romantic era, and the modern era to appreciate the soulful ensemble of piano music across different time periods.
The venue of the concert was tastefully decorated. Cut-outs of objects relating to the theme of time travelling, such as the Tardis from Doctor Who – the blue telephone that is actually a time machine – hung on the walls amongst other pop culture references. The fairy lights strung across the front of the stage also created an intimate and almost mystical setting which perfectly fit the theme of the performances that were to come.
The concert officially began with Pan Liyu (19S06D) showing Dian Risya (19A01D) a prized family heirloom – a piano reportedly dug up from the tomb of the great Franz Lizst himself. Liyu then played a short rendition of the Institution Anthem upon the request of Dian, earning hearty laughs from the audience.
Dian then found a strange cube in the piano, which was revealed to be a time machine belonging to a genie. The genie challenged Liyu and Dian to find four fragments of a piece of music scattered across different time periods. With the promise of being rewarded with an unforgettable piece of music should they succeed in obtaining all four fragments, the duo activated the time machine and embarked on their temporal journey.
The journey began somewhere in between the Classical and Romantic Era with the Three March Militaires by Franz Schubert – a rousing piece that riled up the audience, aptly setting the upbeat mood for the rest of the adventure. It was here that the first fragment was found.
Although the list of performances was largely dominated by classical Western pieces, a modern closer-to-home flair was added to the concert as the pair travelled to the 21st century in search of the fragments. Much to the audience’s delight, well-known pieces such as Tokyo Ghoul’s opening theme, Unravel, and Merry-Go-Round of Life from Howl’s Moving Castle were played.
Throughout the journey, Liyu and Dian amused the audience with their playful bantering. The concert was punctuated with humour, with puns evoking groans and laughter from the audience.
“Have you tried eating a clock? It’s very time consuming.”
-Pan Liyu (19S06D)
After the four fragments – found after the performances of Three Marche Militaires, Farandole, Hwarang Medley and Grand Galop Chromatique – had been assembled, the disgruntled genie honoured his end of the deal, combining the four fragments into one piece. This culminated in the grand finale – a Disney medley performed by the J2 batch of RIPE. The medley was both enthralling and hilarious, with highlights including members singing at the centre of the stage and dancing across stage with a fedora. One particularly memorable moment was when Yizhen brandished a lightsaber and struck at Yuchen as The Imperial March from Star Wars was being played.
The finale was so well-received, in fact, that the awestruck audience called for an encore as the pianists prepared to take their final bow to end off the concert. Not wishing to disappoint, the J2s indulged their adoring fans and performed the Disney medley again as the encore.
In conclusion, RIPE did a fantastic job in bringing the different pieces to life, telling an interesting story that managed to successfully weave together the various eras with their distinctive styles of composing. The boisterous calls for an encore at the end of the concert were a testament to the audience’s enjoyment and their reluctant for the wonderful night to end. It was indeed hard to believe that one would have to leave this mystical, enchanting world and return to the real world.
The search for the 1st fragment
Between the Classical and Romantic Era
Marche militaire in D major from Three March Militaires, Op. 51, D. 733 by Franz Schubert
Performed by Ma Yuchen & Eugene Ho
The search for the 2nd fragment
Ritmo from Danses Andalouses by Manuel Infante
Performed by Isaac Lee & Huang Sixian
Pavane, Op.50 by Gabriel Faure (arranged by A. Benfeld)
Performed by Zhou Yirui & Tan Yu Xuan
Petite Suite, L. 65 by Claude Debussy
Performed by Eugene Ho & Leo Tan
Farandole from L’Arlesienne Suite No.2 by Georges Bizet
Performed by Wan Yuanjun, Soh Wen Wei & Pan Liyu
The search for the 3rd fragment
Modern Japanese/Korean pop songs
Merry-Go-Round of Life (from Howl’s Moving Castle) by Joe Hisaishi
Performed by Anders Loh & Tan Jun Xiang
Unravel (from Tokyo Ghoul) by Toru Kitajima
Arranged and performed by Leo Tan & Isaac Lee
Hwarang Medley by Oh Joon Sung
Arranged by Ashlyn Ng and performed by Dione Lim, Liu Yizhen & guest Violinist Liu Zhilong
The search for the 4th fragment
Suite No.1, Fantaisie-tableaux, Op.5 by Sergei Rachmaninoff
Performed by Huang Sixian & Chen Xin Yuan
From the Bohemian Forest, Op. 68 by Antonin Dvorak
Performed by Samantha Wong & Ashlyn Ng
Siciliano by Johann Sebastian Bach (arranged by Sharon Aaronson)
Performed by Zhu Jieshuai & Qian Hong Xiang
Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, K.448 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by Liu Yizhen & Ma Yuchen
Return to the Romantic Era
The Nutcracker Suite Medley by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Arranged by Ashlyn Ng and performed by Ashlyn Ng & Dione Lim
Passacaille by Charles Gounod
Performed by Shirley Chee, Jin Minyue, Tan Rui Zhe & Low Chen Yi
The Carnival of the Animals – The Swan by Camille Saint-Saens (arranged by Anderson and Roe)
Performed by Chen Xinyuan & Chrystal Quek
Grand Galop Chromatique by Franz Lizst (arranged by Henry Maylath)
Performed by Bryan Ge, Samuel Foo, Liu Haixuan & Justin Liu
Grand Finale & Encore
20th and 21st century
Disney Medley by J2 batch ’18