Formula 1 Excitement

Recently I wrote an arrangement of Brian Tyler’s Formula 1 Theme for piano. It’s a great piece - very dramatic, always gets my blood pumping at the beginning of a race! I recorded a video of myself playing it and put it up on Youtube last weekend, in honour of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix this weekend.

Well, thanks to a little help from Reddit, the official Formula social media team noticed it and ended up posting it on their Youtube, Twitter and Facebook accounts. Cue my phone blowing up with notifications from excited fans from around the world! It’s been an exciting couple of days watching the video gain traction, with hundreds of thousands of views between all three sites.

I also gained a few hundred new subscribers on Youtube so I guess I’ll have to think carefully about what my next upload will be!

Here’s the video. Enjoy!



Having neglected my piano for too long and finding myself with more free time than usual, I decided a little while ago to start the non-trivial process of reading through all of Beethoven's piano sonatas. I'm not doing them in order, so much - I have book  1 of 3 at work and book 2 at home, so I'm jumping back and forth in time a bit.

In the process I've come across a few interesting thoughts:

For one, I find that Chopin (my usual favourite to sight-read) is a much better writer for piano. No matter what crazy chords he throws in there, they more often fit the hand comfortably. Beethoven, I find, was more concerned with form and structure, but less concerned with making things playable. (Part of this, of course, has to do with me being out of practice, but often my hands simply aren't big enough to play a part as it is supposed to be played - which often leads to cheating with pedal - blasphemy!)

Second, I knew that finger agility and control deteriorate when not practicing, but I hadn't realized that sight-reading does as well. Sight-reading was always a big strength of mine, but I was a little dismayed when I started at how many easy mistakes I was making. This has been slowly getting better as I've been going through, but I should really make a point of reading more often.

Third, I'm finding a renewed appreciation for Beethoven's genius. Despite the playability issues, Beethoven certainly redefined the form of the sonata. It's so interesting to see him as a halfway point between something like Mozart - almost always predictable and formulaic - and a Romantic composer: playing with themes in unconventional ways, throwing in surprises here and there, and at times very deliberately departing from the template of a typical sonata.

I'm not sure if I'll finish the entire sonata repertoire, since I remember that the later sonatas get a little weird (therefore less fun to read) and it's December so there's all sorts of Christmas music to play. But it's been an enlightening exercise in the meantime, for sure.


New Piano Solo!

Back in the fall, I wrote a piece called Subtlety Is Not Your Specialty, for Soup Can Theatre's production of Circle Jerk. The line was given to me as inspiration, so I wrote a lovely piece for piano, flute and cello - and then the clarinet comes in an stomps all over it.

I was kind of sad that the piece ends up ruined by the clarinet, so I adapted it for piano solo, in which the original pleasant piece doesn't get interrupted - and decided to just name it Subtlety, since the spirit of the original title was no longer there.

It was an interesting experience, trying to condense a piece for four instruments into a solo. I find a lot of my piano writing tends to be simple, because I write what I can play immediately while sitting in front of the piano. This was different - since I was trying to conserve as many of the original instrumental lines as possible, it ended up being much more difficult than the piano music I usually write. A fair bit of practice went into being able to play it properly!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it!