“Why does the world need a Piano Day? For many reasons. But mostly, because it doesn’t hurt to celebrate the piano and everything around it: performers, composers, piano builders, tuners, movers and, most important, the listener.” – Nils Frahm
There are 88 keys on a piano. There are 88 days in 2017 until we get to March 29th. Coincidence? Well, obviously not, because that day is Piano Day – a day to celebrate the history, the current relevance and the future of this most cherished of instruments.
As part of this worldwide event Float are bringing us all a unique evening to Union Chapel, where piano, jazz, grime and dance will come together to highlight the versatility of the piano.
Here, participating artists and event organiser Sofia Ilyas talk us through five piano-based tracks that highlight what the instrument means to them.
1. ELTON JOHN – ALL THE NASTIES
Of all the music to feature a piano I can think of, ‘All The Nasties’, the penultimate track from Madman Across the Water, is definitely the most recent. The range and scale of the entire album makes Madman…, arguably, the most exquisite of Elton John’s recorded output. John’s distinctive piano playing (doubled on a second piano for this particular song) and vocal performance, coupled with Paul Buckmaster’s skilful arrangements, make this track hard to surpass.
2. DAVID GRUBBS – BANANA CABBAGE
I adore ‘Banana Cabbage’ from David Grubbs. It’s elusive and intimate. It brings you into a different world within a few seconds and cradles you to the end, making you feel you need more and more of it. Simple and highly sophisticated at the same time. Andrea Belfi
3. RAVEL – PAVANE POUR UNE INFANTE DÉFUNTE
Piano music is very nostalgic for me, having grown up at the ballet barre. Ravel’s music and this piece in particular has an elegant simplicity, which I find really appealing. It gives the listener space to think and still feels quite contemporary. I tend to play Ravel at the start of the week over breakfast and no matter how hectic a week I have planned I’m able to channel a focused energy from it. Adrienne Hart, Neon Dance
4. HAROLD BUDD – HARU SPRING
We listen to Harold Budd a lot, there’s such space in his music and the fragility and subtlety of his pieces is so gently immersive; perfect for resetting after long sessions in the studio! All the songs from Perhaps and In The Mist are amazing, but if we had to pick just one, it’d be ‘Haru Spring’. Dead Light
5. KANO – T-SHIRT WEATHER IN THE MANOR
This is currently my favourite piano track that represents what our Piano Day event is about, which brings together grime and piano and shows the different ways in which the piano can be used. The track opens with uplifting piano chords, which drive everything forward, and Kano’s lyrics and delivery fit so well with the instrument. Sofia Ilyas