(Clair de Lune, Debussy)

Hi guys! Welcome to episode five of Tenny’s Tunes! I am your host, Tenny.

Looking back, we have covered a variety of music, from popular Japanese anime original soundtracks to what I call the genre of online artists. The reason being, so many talented musicians exist on the Internet, showing off their unique styles, that attempting to attribute each one with a specific genre in music history is a tedious, if not impossible, job. Therefore, I thought to myself, why not define online artists in general as a new genre to make our lives easier?

Okay, I am going off topic. The thing is, I realized we haven’t yet discussed what is considered a giant among the genres, and that is classical music. As you might have guessed, my parents and grandparents raised me up as a kid who learned to play classical pieces on the piano, like just about the rest of the five hundred million kids in the world. A common misconception is that people tend to refer to any music, produced primarily in Europe from the 1600s to the 1900s, as “classical music,” and that is not technically correct. The 1600s is known as the Baroque period, and the musician that contributed the most during that time is arguably J.S. Bach. Many of his pieces are still widely performed by pianists and sung by church choirs. The classical period actually stretches from around the 1730s to the 1820s. Prominent composers include Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, etc. Music during this period can be characterized as technical and very clean-sounding. Now, Beethoven is considered primarily from the Romantic period, which follows the classical period, although some people also view him as a bridge between the Classical and Romantic periods. As the word itself implies, romantic music is best expressed through powerful emotions. Think Beethoven Symphony No. 5. Search it up on YouTube.

Today’s music selection is not by Beethoven (it will come in the future, I promise). Instead, we will explore Prelude in C Sharp Minor, composed by the 19-year-old Sergei Rachmaninoff, considered one of the last great Romantic composers. An unconfirmed rumor behind this piece describes how Rachmaninoff had a dream where he was attending a funeral. As he gradually walked toward the coffin, he discovered that it was his own body that was lying in the casket. Examining this piece from a technical standpoint, the beginning chords give off an ominous but sacred vibe, reminiscent of a church setting. As the tempo speeds up in the middle, I imagine the character, Rachmaninoff himself in this case, slowly descending into madness as the anxiety builds up with each step closer to the coffin, culminating with the ultimate realization of his own death as he discovers his lifeless body lying before him. Again, the story is unconfirmed, but it is known that Rachmaninoff claimed he was sick and tired of performing this popular piece every time someone asked him to play it.

(Prelude in C Sharp Minor Recording by Rousseau)

Spoiler alert. The music you are hearing in the background is Prelude in C Sharp Minor, performed by Rousseau, a talented pianist on YouTube whom I follow. I learned this piece a month ago myself. Aside from the tricky chords that often led to me tangling my fingers together as I practiced, the piece overall is fairly easy to learn, although it might sound a bit difficult and fast-paced at first. Unfortunately, I don’t have the best equipment for piano recording, so I went with the best alternative by using Rousseau’s recording.

I will now play you the middle section of Prelude in C Sharp Minor. See if you can find the corresponding parts of the story. Enjoy ~

(Middle Section Recording By Rousseau)

Music composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff, performed by Rousseau. I am Tenny Tsang, and this is NBN Audio. Thank you so much for listening, and I will see you next time on Tenny’s Tunes.